Hellman family bestows boost for research

August 15, 2012

Warren Hellman
(Photo by Robert Houser)

The Hellman Fellows Program was established in 1995 by the Hellman family of San Francisco. It's now in place at 13 institutions, including nine UC campuses.

The Hellman family started the program after observing that while junior faculty are often well-funded for research projects when first hired, they may be challenged after two or three years when start-up funding runs out before new grants are obtained. The program is designed to assist promising young faculty at this juncture in their careers.

Philanthropist Warren Hellman called the program "one of the best things my family has ever done with our giving." Hellman passed away in December, 2011.

Established in 2011 with a $625,000 gift, the UC Santa Cruz Hellman Fellows Program provides a substantial boost for talented junior faculty members who need research project funding.

This year, seven assistant professors at UCSC who show capacity for great distinction in their research have received Hellman awards. 

The winners for 2012-2013 are Megan Moodie, anthropology; Dejan Milutinović, applied mathematics and statistics; Ian Garrick-Bethell, Earth and planetary sciences; Rita Mehta, ecology and evolutionary biology; Irene Lusztig, film and digital media; Shannon Gleeson, Latin American & Latino studies; and Mark Massoud, politics.

This is the second year that UCSC has awarded Hellman fellowships. At UCSC, the awards are open to faculty in all fields who have served two to three years at the assistant professor rank. Proposals are awarded and funded by a campus committee. Funding is split roughly equally between the physical and life sciences and engineering, and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Most awards are in the $10,000 to $25,000 range, with a maximum of $50,000.

"We are very thankful to the Hellman family for their support of this program," said Herbie Lee, vice provost for academic affairs. "These fellowships provide faculty support at a critical time in their careers, and allow them to carry out the innovative and high-impact research which is the hallmark of UC Santa Cruz."

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