The Hill Prizes

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The Hill Prizes, funded by Lyda Hill Philanthropies, will accelerate high-risk, high-reward research ideas with significant potential for real-world impact.

The Prizes will celebrate top Texas innovators and researchers whose work could significantly impact science and society in six categories: Medicine, Public Health, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology. A committee of TAMEST members (Texas-based members of the National Academies) will select the recipients. Finalists will be endorsed by a Texas Nobel and Breakthrough Prize Laureates Committee and approved by the TAMEST Board of Directors.

Each of the six prize recipients will receive $500,000 in funding from Lyda Hill Philanthropies to accelerate their work. Prize recipients will be announced and recognized on February 4, 2025, at the opening reception of the TAMEST 2025 Annual Conference in Irving, Texas.

Applications for the 2025 Hill Prizes will open on May 1, 2024. Subscribe to the TAMEST Newsletter for updates on future opportunities. Please contact us with any questions at tamest@austin.utexas.edu or at (512) 471-3823.

Hill Prizes Expansion and Extension

After an incredibly successful first year of the prizes, Lyda Hill Philanthropies has committed over $10 million in funding to continue the prize program for the next three years. The $10 million will include the addition of a new prize in the category of Public Health, resulting in six prizes per year of $500,000 each. In addition, at least $1 million in discretionary research funding will be allocated by Lyda Hill Philanthropies on an ad hoc basis to highly ranked applicants and finalists not selected as recipients.

Applications for the 2025 Hill Prizes will open May 1 and close May 31, 2024.

Hill Prizes Overview

Click on a category below to learn more about the Hill Prizes.
Who May Apply?

Qualified applicants include all Texas-based researchers who meet the following eligibility requirements:

Medicine, Engineering, Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to all Texas-based applicants (including TAMEST members) 15 years or more after their first independent faculty appointment. Applicants must have had 15 years of experience (by calendar year) the year the application is submitted.
  • Applicants must have spent, at a minimum, the past two years (at the time of submission) performing research in Texas at an institution within the state and stay active there for at least one year after receiving the prize award funding.
  • Applications may be submitted by individuals and teams from all research universities, medical centers, nonprofit research institutes and other scientific organizations in Texas.
    • Institutional approval by the applicant’s institution is required at the time of the application.
    • There may be more than one application from an institution. Multi-institution applications are welcome.
    • For team submissions, the Principal Investigator or team lead must be an active leader and participant of the group and meet all eligibility requirements.

Technology Prize Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to all Texas-based researchers (including TAMEST members) 15 years or more after their first industry-affiliated appointment. Applicants must have had 15 years of experience (by calendar year) the year the application is submitted.
  • Applicants must have spent the past two years (at the time of submission) performing research in Texas at a company or institute within the state and stay active there for at least one year after receiving the prize award funding.
  • Applications may be submitted by individuals and teams from all companies, private research institutes and other scientific organizations in the private sector in Texas.
    • Institutional approval by the applicant’s institution is required at the time of the application.
    • There may be more than one application from an institution. Multi-institution applications are welcome.
    • For team submissions, the Principal Investigator or team lead must be an active leader and participant of the group and meet all eligibility requirements.
Application Categories

Applicants must choose only one category (medicine, engineering, biological sciences, physical sciences or technology) for their submission. The Hill Prizes Committee reserves the right to move an applicant into a different category if they believe the submission is more suitable for that category.

Selection Criteria and Process
A committee of TAMEST members (Texas-based members of the National Academies) will evaluate applicants and recommend finalists in consultation with a panel of National Academies members from outside of Texas. A committee of Texas Nobel and Breakthrough Laureates reviews and endorses the finalists. The TAMEST Board of Directors then gives final approval of the prize recipients.

Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Uniqueness of idea behind the research;
  • Potential for commercial application and/or real-world impact;
  • Strengths of research group leader and/or team;
  • Ability and availability of key personnel and infrastructure to execute the work and achieve success with the prize funding to be awarded.
Key Dates, Award Period and Budget

Key Dates:
June 27, 2023: Applications Open
July 12, 2023: Online Information Session
August 11, 2023 : Applications Close at Midnight Central Time
February 5, 2024: Recipients Announced at TAMEST Annual Meeting

Award Period:
Proposals should be for at least one year in duration with an expected start date of March 1, 2024.

Budget:
$500,000 USD per prize. Funds may not be used for institutional overhead or indirect charges.

Required Application Materials

Application materials are crucial to evaluating and selecting from the submissions. All applications must be submitted through the online portal (https://www.tfaforms.com/5059269), and acknowledge approval by applicant’s institution or organization to accept the prize funds. The following components are required:

1. Cover page with applicant information, including:

  • Category of prize;
  • applicant name;
  • year of first faculty or industry-affiliated appointment (must be 2008 or earlier); applicant title and organization;
  • address, email and telephone contact information.

2. A summary from the applicant (50 words or less) succinctly explaining:

  • A summary of the research and why it should be chosen for the Hill Prizes;
  • the potential impact of the research.

3. A statement from the applicant (up to 5 pages) defining:

  • The problem the applicant is trying to solve with their research, and the key gap the work will fill;
  • Limitations of current approaches and what makes the applicant’s approach novel;
  • The potential impact of the work, supported by relevant metrics if possible;
  • Potential commercial and translational applications of the work;
  • How the recipient would use Hill Prize funding to accelerate their work and make a significant impact on society.

Applicant cover page, summary and statement must be submitted in one document (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF). Detailed budgets are not required, but applicants should explain how the funding would be used, e.g., for equipment, personnel or other expenses. Statements should be formatted in Times New Roman, 11-point font with margins of at least 0.5”.

4. Biographical summary for the Principal Investigator (not to exceed three pages), including:

  • A summary of education, employment, honors, recognitions and awards;
  • A summary of the applicant’s research interests and activities, including (where applicable) information on the most relevant grant support (titles, sources and duration) or projects led, and the role of the applicant in each grant;
  • Citations for up to ten of the applicant’s most important research publications;
  • A synopsis of the applicant’s discoveries and research contributions; and
  • Statistics on papers, books, patents (if applicable) and reports.

Applicants may submit NIH biosketches for the Principal Investigator. Additional team members may also submit bios (bios not to exceed one page per team member). Letters of recommendation or support are not permitted and will not be accepted.

Deadline for Submission of Application Materials

All application materials must be submitted at the time of application. All applications must be received by midnight Central Time on August 11, 2023.

Prize Funding Requirements

Each prize recipient’s institution or organization will receive $500,000 in direct funding from Lyda Hill Philanthropies. Recipients retain full intellectual property rights. Expenditures from the prize award must follow the spending policies of the recipient’s institution. Funds may not be used for institutional overhead or indirect charges.

Prize recipients must be from a Texas institution or company and stay active there for at least one year after receiving the prize award funding. Prize funding shall remain with the institution or company that receives the award. There is no specific requirement for how rapidly the funds must be expended, but the expectation is that the funds will be expended in a timely manner to advance the objectives of the work as quickly as reasonably possible.

Recipients must be able to attend the prize ceremony the evening of February 5, 2024, at the opening reception of the TAMEST 2024 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas.

Recipients must provide a statement on the impact of the funding on their work annually until one year after the prize funds have been expended, with a brief explanation on how the funding was used. Recipients agree that information included in the statement may be used publicly by TAMEST and Lyda Hill Philanthropies. The expectation is that the promotion of successful prize work may be helpful to the prize recipients and to other Texas-based researchers and innovators.

Contact TAMEST

For additional information, please contact TAMEST:
tamest@austin.utexas.edu or (512) 471-3823.

Recipients

2024 Hill Prize in Medicine: Martin M. Matzuk, M.D., Ph.D. (NAS)

2024 Hill Prize in Medicine
Martin M. Matzuk, M.D., Ph.D. (NAS)

Director of the Center for Drug Discovery and Chair, Stuart A. Wallace Chair, Robert L. Moody, Sr. Chair, and Professor in the Department of Pathology & Immunology
Baylor College of Medicine

For creating a novel approach to treat endometriosis.

Co-PIs: Stephen Palmer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine; Diana Monsivais, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine; Ramakrishna Kommagani, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine; Feng Li, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine; Mingxing Teng, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

2024 Hill Prize in Engineering: Maria A. Croyle, Ph.D.

2024 Hill Prize in Engineering
Maria A. Croyle, Ph.D.

Professor of Pharmaceutics
College of Pharmacy
The University of Texas at Austin

For demonstrating innovative techniques that will allow vaccines and biological drugs to be transported without the need for temperature control, which could lead to the rapid global distribution of life-saving medicines.

Co-PI: Sogra Fathima Barakh Ali, Ph.D., Sr. Manufacturing Engineer, Jurata Thin Film

2024 Hill Prize in Biological Sciences: Russell A. DeBose-Boyd, Ph.D. (NAS)

2024 Hill Prize in Biological Sciences
Russell A. DeBose-Boyd, Ph.D. (NAS)

Beatrice and Miguel Elias Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science and a Professor of Molecular Genetics
UT Southwestern Medical Center

For his work’s potential to make statins more effective and provide insight into their side effects.

2024 Hill Prize in Physical Sciences: Allan H. MacDonald, Ph.D. (NAS)

2024 Hill Prize in Physical Sciences
Allan H. MacDonald, Ph.D. (NAS)

Professor and Director of the Center for Complex Quantum Systems in the Department of Physics
The University of Texas at Austin

For the potential to create a new energy storage device, the quantum supercapacitor, a new, low-carbon way to store energy.

Co-PI: Emanuel Tutuc, Ph.D., B.N. Gafford Endowed Professorship in Electrical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

2024 Hill Prize in Technology: Hermann Lebit, Ph.D.

2024 Hill Prize in Technology
Hermann Lebit, Ph.D.

Founder and Principal
Alma Energy

For developing clean, emission-free direct lithium extraction using geothermal energy.

Co-PIs: Jose Leobardo Bañuelos, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physics, The University of Texas at El Paso; Benjamin Brunner, Ph.D., Associate Professor, The University of Texas at El Paso; Eva Deemer, Ph.D., Postdoctorate Researcher Center for Inland Desalination Systems, The University of Texas at El Paso; Mark Engle, Ph.D., Professor, The University of Texas at El Paso; Natalya Kharitonova, Principle, Alma Energy

Meet Our Committee

A committee of TAMEST members (Texas-based members of the National Academies) evaluates applicants and recommends finalists in consultation with a panel of National Academies members from outside of Texas.
David Daniel

David E. Daniel, Ph.D. (NAE)

Hill Prizes Committee Chair
President Emeritus, The University of Texas at Dallas
Past President, TAMEST

Medicine Subcommittee

  • Malcolm K. Brenner, M.D., Ph.D. (NAM), Baylor College of Medicine
  • Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D. (NAM), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Antonios G. Mikos, Ph.D. (NAM, NAE), Rice University
  • Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D. (NAM), The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School

Engineering Subcommittee

  • Joan Frances Brennecke, Ph.D. (NAE), The University of Texas at Austin
  • John L. Junkins, Ph.D. (NAE), Texas A&M University
  • Linda Katehi, Ph.D. (NAE), Texas A&M University
  • Kishor C. Mehta, Ph.D. (NAE), Texas Tech University

Biological Sciences Subcommittee

  • Arthur L. Beaudet, M.D. (NAM, NAS), Baylor College of Medicine; Luna Genetics, Inc.
  • Guillermina “Gigi” Lozano, Ph.D. (NAM, NAS), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • David W. Russell, Ph.D. (NAS), UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D. (NAM, NAS), Baylor College of Medicine

Physical Sciences Subcommittee

  • Paul C.W. Chu, Ph.D. (NAS), University of Houston
  • David R. Nygren, Ph.D. (NAS), The University of Texas at Arlington
  • William H. Press, Ph.D. (NAS), The University of Texas at Austin
  • Peter G. Wolynes, Ph.D. (NAS, FRS), Rice University

Technology Subcommittee

  • The Honorable Gordon R. England (NAE), University of North Texas; Dyno-Tech
  • Bob Metcalfe, Ph.D. (NAE), The University of Texas at Austin
  • Joseph B. Powell, Ph.D. (NAE), University of Houston
  • Ann Beal Salamone (NAE), Rochal Industries, LLC
  • James J. Truchard, Ph.D. (NAE), NI

Nobel and Breakthrough Laureates Committee

A committee of Texas Nobel and Breakthrough Laureates reviews and endorses the finalists.

James P. Allison, Ph.D. (NAM, NAS)
Chair, Department of Immunology and Executive Director, Immunotherapy Platform
Deputy Director, David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2018

Bruce A. Beutler, M.D. (NAM, NAS)
Regental Professor
Director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2011

Michael S. Brown, M.D. (NAM, NAS)
Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics
Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1985

Zhijian “James” Chen, Ph.D. (NAM, NAS)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
George L. MacGregor Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science
Professor, Department of Molecular Biology
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, 2019

Johann Deisenhofer, Ph.D. (NAS)
Regental Professor Virginia and Edward Linthicum Distinguished Chair in Biomolecular Science
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1988

Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D. (NAM, NAS)
Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1985

Helen H. Hobbs, M.D. (NAM, NAS)
Director, Eugene McDermott Center for Growth and Development; Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics
Howard Hughes Investigator
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, 2015

Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D. (NAM, NAS)
Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Director, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Baylor College of Medicine
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, 2017

Funders

Lyda Hill Philanthropies

About Lyda Hill Philanthropies

Lyda Hill Philanthropies encompasses the charitable giving for founder Lyda Hill and includes her foundation and personal philanthropy. Her organization is committed to funding transformational advances in science and nature, empowering nonprofit organizations and improving the Texas and Colorado communities. Because Miss Hill has a fervent belief that “science is the answer” to many of life’s most challenging issues, she has chosen to donate the entirety of her estate to philanthropy and scientific research.

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