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Natural Sciences Faculty Member Selected as HHMI Faculty Scholar

Natural Sciences Faculty Member Selected as HHMI Faculty Scholar

Ila Fiete, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience, is the first faculty member from The University of Texas at Austin to receive recognition through a new program from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). She joins 83 early-career scientists from across the nation who have been chosen for the Faculty Scholars Program.

The new program is a collaboration between HHMI, the Simons Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The philanthropies joined forces to create the program in response to growing concern about the significant funding challenges that early-career scientists face, according to a press statement released today.

Fiete was awarded a five-year grant of $600,000. Awards are not limited to a particular area of research but are meant to support creative and potentially transformative research projects that might fall by the wayside in today's constrained research funding environment.

"This award supports more open-ended inquiry and freedom than is typical for grants focused on specific projects," said Fiete. "My lab will be able to pursue multiple different prongs of inquiry related to our interests in understanding how the brain solves difficult memory, integration, and learning problems."

The 84 Faculty Scholars represent 43 institutions across the United States and were chosen because they possess great potential to make unique contributions to their field.

"We are very excited to welcome these accomplished scientists into the HHMI community," said HHMI President Erin O'Shea. "We're equally gratified to work alongside our philanthropic partners to help these early-career scientists move science forward by pursuing their bold ideas."

"I feel honored to be included in the vibrant cohort of other Faculty Scholars," said Fiete. "Regular meetings of the HHMI Scholars, which will bring together researchers from various fields of biology and medicine, promise to be full of scientific foment — being part of this community is as important as the funding itself."

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Monday, 20 November 2017

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