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The Department of Energy's Outstanding Junior Investigator Program in High Energy Physics was started in 1978. The principal purpose of this program has been to identify exceptionally talented new high energy physicists early in their careers, and to assist and facilitate the development of their research programs. Each year since the program began, between 5 and 10 new Outstanding Junior Investigators have been added to the program. Awards made under this program help to maintain the vitality of high energy physics research and assure continued excellence in the teaching of physics.

The Outstanding Junior Investigator Program has achieved a high level of national visibility. The Brinkman Report of the National Academy of Sciences, Physics Through the 1990's, cited the program (along with Sloan Fellowships and the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Awards) for its role in attracting young scientists to the field. They specifically recommended:

Attract young scientists to academic careers to assure the continued vitality of university research and to assure continuity in the teaching of physics.  Programs such as Sloan Fellowships, Presidential Young Investigator Awards, and the DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator Program are important in this regard.  We encourage government funding agencies to work toward attracting young scientists to universities, ...

Awards are made in response to proposals. The proposals are subjected to the internal and external technical review given all unsolicited proposals.  In addition, an external peer review panel is convened once a year to give advice to the DOE on the relative merits of existing proposals.  Following this competitive process, recommendations are made to award funding for a limited number of the most outstanding individuals.  In recent years, about a sixth of proposals have been successful.

The uses to which funding is put is very flexible and is accommodated to the character of the pre-existing research environment and the specific needs of each successful applicant. Depending on proposals, funds have been provided under the program for most categories of research support, including summer and partial academic year salary, graduate student and partial postdoctoral support, equipment and supplies, travel, publication costs, and other research expenses.

The Program has been very successful and contributes importantly to the vigor of High Energy Physics. Since its inception, more than 200 scientists have received Outstanding Junior Investigator Awards. Of these, more than 150 have achieved tenured academic positions, 11 hold tenured research appointments, and more than 30 remain on tenure track. Only seven have left the field. A significant fraction of all young scientists who have been able to establish themselves in High Energy Physics since the Junior Investigator Program began have received their initial independent research funding from this program. View here the list of all Awardees and their successful proposals.

Unsolicited Outstanding Junior Investigator proposals in experimental or theoretical high energy physics or in accelerator physics should be for named individuals and submitted through a sponsoring institution.  For additional information, see the Outstanding Junior Investigator Program Announcement.

For further information contact:

Dr. Chung Ngoc Leung
Department of Energy
Office of High Energy Physics
Germantown, Maryland 20874
(301) 903-3715
Fax: (301) 903-2597

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