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Limited Submission Internal Deadline: The Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering

February 24 @ 5:00 pm

Limited Submissions: Internal Call for Proposals

The Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering
UNC Internal Deadline: 11:59PM, Wednesday, February 24, 2021 


*Please distribute to relevant faculty*

Key Dates

UNC Internal Deadline: 11:59PM, Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Nomination Deadline: March 15, 2021

Application Deadline: April 20, 2021

Important Information

  • Number of Applications per Institution: Two early-career professors may be nominated by each institution.
  • What is Not Funded: Recognizing that certain areas of contemporary science and engineering already have access to relatively generous funding (for example, clinical research, research associated with the design and construction of large national facilities such as accelerators and space stations, and applied research of direct relevance to national security), the Packard Fellowships are directed to other, less generously supported fields. 

To Apply

Submit the following (in a SINGLE .pdf) to by 11:59PM, Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

  1. Letter of nomination from your department chair or other senior administrator.
  2. Candidate Research Statement, describing why the research is important and outlining general goals for the next five years (one-page maximum, excluding figures and references).
  3. Candidate’s CV, including research support and publications.
  4. List of three potential individuals to provide external letters of recommendation, including their titles, institutional affiliations, and a two-three sentence overview of their expertise and contributions. At least one individual must be a person who has had no supervisory or collaborative contact with the candidate. 
  5. Names (along with title, department, and email) of at least three internal (to UNC) experts who could speak knowledgeably about the candidate’s research and who could potentially serve on an internal review panel to evaluate nominees for this program.
    • Please do not include department chairs, deans, directors, direct reports, or others who have a conflict of interest. 
    • Please notify all potential internal reviewers before submitting the pre-proposal packet to ORD. 

Program Overview

The Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering program invests in future leaders who have the freedom to take risks, explore new frontiers in their fields of study, and follow uncharted paths that may lead to groundbreaking discoveries.


In 1988, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation established the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering to allow the nation’s most promising early career professors to pursue their science and engineering research with few funding restrictions and limited paperwork requirements. It is among the nation’s largest nongovernmental fellowships, designed to allow maximum flexibility on how the funding is used. Packard Fellows have gone on to receive many additional awards and honors, including Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Physics, Fields Medals, Alan T. Waterman Awards, Breakthrough Prizes and elections to the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine.


Every year, the Foundation invites the presidents of 50 universities to nominate two early-career professors each from their institutions. Nominations are carefully reviewed by the Fellowship Advisory Panel, comprised of distinguished scientists and engineers. Twenty recipients will receive individual grants of $875,000 distributed over five years. Beginning with the 2021 Packard Fellows, the Foundation will pilot a program to offer additional funding support to Fellows for activities that will help increase diversity and representation in science and engineering – whether in their research group, department, university or scientific fields. An invitation and details regarding this diversity funding support will be shared with the 2021 Fellows at the beginning of their grant period.


Candidates must be faculty members who are eligible to serve as principal investigators engaged in research in the natural and physical sciences or engineering and must be within the first three years of their faculty careers, that is, whose initial faculty appointments began no earlier than May 31, 2018, and no later than May 31, 2021. Disciplines that will be considered include physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, computer science, earth science, ocean science, and all branches of engineering. Candidates engaged in research in the social sciences will not be considered.

The Fellowship Program provides support for highly creative researchers early in their careers; faculty members who are well established and well-funded are less likely to receive the award. The Foundation emphasizes support for innovative individual research that involves the Fellows, their students, and junior colleagues, rather than extensions or components of large-scale, ongoing research programs. Packard Fellowships are awarded without regard to age, race, national origin, citizenship, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability.


Award Information

Award Amount: Each recipient will receive an individual grant of $875,000 distributed over five years. Of the $175,000 paid each year, $17,500 is available to the university as compensation for administrative costs.

Additional Information

Packard Fellows are inquisitive, passionate scientists and engineers who take a creative approach to their research, dare to think big and follow new ideas wherever they lead. 


UNC Packard Fellows and their disciplinary fields: Wesley Legant, Chemical/Biological Engineering (2019); Bo Li, Chemistry (2016); Jillian Dempsey, Chemistry (2015); James Cahoon, Material Sciences/ Nanotechnology (2014); Samuel Lai, Biological Sciences (2013); David Nicewicz, Chemistry (2012); Marc Pollefeys, Computer/Information Sciences (2005); James Morken, Chemistry (1998); Holden Thorp, Biochemistry (1991)


Full Solicitation: 


Fellowship Advisory Panel:


Fellowship Directory:


Please contact the Limited Submissions Team with questions at




Limited Submissions Team

Office of Research Development

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

308 Bynum Hall

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

(919) 962-7503


February 24
5:00 pm