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New Investigator Award

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Each year, ASHRAE invites applicants for the $125,000 "ASHRAE New Investigator Award".  At most, one award will be awarded each year.

The ASHRAE New Investigator Award (NIA) assists new university faculty members to develop research capabilities in HVAC&R related fields.  The COVID pandemic caused considerable disruption to academic scholarly activities and graduate research when campuses were evacuated, and lab and classroom activities were restricted.  The NIA program was not funded for two years when income from the ASHRAE Expo was unavailable.  ASHRAE recognizes that some active members that could have been viable NIA candidates may have “timed out” of their 5-year eligibility window during the two years that the NIA was not funded.  To somewhat compensate for the COVID disruptions to academic progress and NIA unavailability, a modified eligibility schedule for the NIA will be followed.

PhD/Start Year NIA Deadline Date
2016 Dec-22
2017 Dec-23
2018 Dec-24
2019 Dec-24
2020 Dec-25
2021 Dec-26
2022 December 2026 (regular 5-year window resumes)

NIA application deadline December 1st, 2023.


The purpose of the award is to:

1) Enhance the academic careers of recent Ph.D. recipients by providing support for research activities.
2) Promote research related to ASHRAE goals in universities and colleges.
3) Promote educational efforts related to the goals of ASHRAE in universities and colleges.



Nominee shall be chosen by their Department Head or Chair. Candidates must have been awarded the Ph.D. or equivalent degree less than five years before the annual deadline for application submission. Candidates must also have started their first full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty position or equivalent at their nominating institution less than five years before the annual application deadline.


Any university that awards degrees in engineering, science, or architecture is eligible. It is expected that the nominee’s institution will waive all indirect costs to accept the Innovative Grant Award based on the fact that there are no contractually required deliverables, and all intellectual property generated by the faculty is retained according to the institution’s rules regarding intellectual property developed in faculty research.


The selection of the recipient will be based on the nominee's ability and potential as a researcher, to contribute to ASHRAE's research mission. The selection of awardee will be made by the ASHRAE Research Administration Committee with advice of members of the society. The selection criteria include:

1)   Competence in engineering - as evidenced by the nominees' achievements to date, particularly the quality of research and publications, teaching accomplishments (if any), and references.

2)   Potential for continued professional growth as a research engineer/scientist - as evidenced by the quality of the nominee's research plan, the currency and significance of the long-range research and the appropriateness of the research to ASHRAE and to the academic setting.

3)   Potential for significant development as an educator and academic leader in the training of future engineers in ASHRAE's area of interest, as demonstrated by the nominee's teaching plan and the narrative statements describing the nominee's qualifications for this award.

ASHRAE’s scoring sheet is attached below for guidance on the weights assigned to each aspect of the candidate’s record and potential.

Support and Commitments:

An ASHRAE New Investigator Award carries a base grant of $50k per year in the first two years with an additional award of $25K available in the 3rd year if it is matched by another source. The maximum award from ASHRAE is $125K.  New Investigators who transfer at any time, prior to or during the period of their grant, to institutions that do not meet the institutional eligibility criterion must resign their awards.

The research project undertaken by the award recipient shall be assigned to an appropriate ASHRAE Technical Committee or Task Group (TC or TG) so that the award recipient has opportunities to interface with colleagues who share similar research interests. The awardee is strongly encouraged to take advantage of this additional opportunity from the award to attend the annual and/or winter ASHRAE meetings for the first year of the award, and to present an informal report at the sponsoring TC or TG meetings. In recognition of ASHRAE’s financial support through this award, it is hoped that some or all of the research resulting from this award will be presented at an ASHRAE meeting as a Technical paper.

Nomination Items:

The following items shall constitute a complete nomination package:

The following items shall constitute a complete nomination package to be submitted by the Department Head or Chair:

ITEM 1: Cover Sheet - listing name of nominee, institution and nominator.

ITEM 2: Nominator’s narrative statement.
One-page statement that describes:
a) The nominee's demonstrated ability and qualifications as a researcher and teacher.
b) The nominee's future potential as a researcher and teacher.
c) How the ASHRAE New Investigator Award would enhance the institution in its  research and teaching mission.

ITEM 3: Nominee's research and teaching qualifications.
One-page statement that describes:
a) A summary of research accomplishments to date and future research objectives.
b) A summary of teaching accomplishments to date.
c) How the ASHRAE New Investigator Award would enhance the nominee's development as an academic leader.

ITEM 4: Nominee's teaching plan, prepared by nominee.
One-page statement that describes the nominee's teaching plan as to course development, textbooks, etc.

ITEM 5: Nominee's research plan, prepared by nominee.
Two-page statement that describes the nominee's research interests and research project that the nominee proposes to do during the period of the award. This should include the research objectives, background, experimental plan, techniques to be used and bibliography.

ITEM 6: Two documents:

  1. Nominee's biographical sketch (1 – 2 paragraphs).
  2. Curriculum vitae including education, positions held, teaching record, and publications.

ITEM 7:    At least three letters of professional and/or personal reference. Chair is responsible for soliciting these letters.


Nominations, together with all support documents should be submitted electronically (Word or PDF) to MORTS, Senior Manager of Research & Technical Services, Michael Vaughn, and Donna Daniel, Research Coordinator, , prior to December 1st.

All complete applications will be reviewed at the ASHRAE winter meeting, and the winner will be announced in February. Initial grant funds will be available shortly thereafter.

All applicants for the New investigator Award should expect to receive a submission confirmation e-mail from ASHRAE.


The ASHRAE Research Administration Committee (RAC) will review every complete application that arrives at the ASHRAE office by the deadline.

RAC will use the following guideline to score each application:

page-excel-icon.gif New Investigator Award Application Scoring/Evaluation Form

page-excel-icon.gif New Investigator Award Summary Sheet