Source: ORAU | Release | September 24, 2020

ORAU has awarded competitive research grants totaling $175,000 to 35 junior faculty from its member institutions. The annual grants are made through the company’s Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards program that provides funds to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty.

The recipients, each of whom is in the first two years of a tenure track position, will receive $5,000 in seed money for the 2020-2021 academic year to enhance their research during the early stages of their careers. Each recipient’s institution matches the ORAU award with an additional $5,000, making the total prize worth $10,000 for each winner. Winners may use the grants to purchase equipment, continue research or travel to professional meetings and conferences.

Since the program’s inception, ORAU has awarded 769 grants totaling more than $3.8 million. Including the matching funds from member institutions, ORAU has facilitated grants worth more than $7.6 million.

“The Powe Awards program benefits our member universities and is always extremely popular, because it provides an opportunity for young faculty members to further their research careers and helps them identify potential funding avenues,” said Ken Tobin, ORAU Vice President, University Partnerships Office. “ORAU is proud to recognize the research and professional growth of these emerging leaders as they support the future of science and technology.”

The awards recognize faculty members for their work in any of five science and technology disciplines: engineering or applied science; life sciences; mathematics and computer science; physical sciences; and policy, management or education.

The awards, now in their 30th year, are named for Ralph E. Powe, who served as the ORAU councilor from Mississippi State University for 16 years. Powe participated in numerous committees and special projects during his tenure and was elected chair of ORAU’s Council of Sponsoring Institutions. He died in 1996.

Recipients of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards for the 2020-2021 academic year are listed below:

2020-2021 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award Winners
Award Recipient Member Institution
Joshua Agar Lehigh University
Jorge Almodovar University of Arkansas
Sabreena Anowar University of Missouri
Alexander Bataller North Carolina State University
Juan Beltran-Huarac East Carolina University
Richard Carter East Tennessee State University
Siu Hung Joshua Chan Colorado State University
Haihong Che University of Alabama in Huntsville
Darren Drewry Ohio State University
Matthew Eddy University of Florida
Katherine Fornash Ohio University
Jason Fry Eastern Kentucky University
Ayla Gafni University of Mississippi
Fan Ge College of William and Mary
Ling Hao George Washington University
Guillaume Hoareau University of Utah
Krishna Jayant Purdue University
Yijie Jiang University of North Texas
Sarah Keane University of Michigan
Hai Lin Louisiana State University
Zhenfei Liu Wayne State University
Davoud Mozhdehi Syracuse University
Lin Mu University of Georgia
Debanjan Mukherjee University of Colorado Boulder
Badri Narayanan University of Louisville
Zhen Ni Florida Atlantic University
Amanda Patrick Mississippi State University
Stephanie Stockar Ohio State University
Michael Cai Wang University of South Florida
Yeqing Wang Mississippi State University
Shuya Wei University of New Mexico
Ketian Zhang George Mason University
Qiong Zhang Clemson University
Shan Zhou Michigan Technological University
Huiyuan Zhu Virginia Tech

For more information on fellowships, awards and grants offered by ORAU, visit