Hill Prizes FAQs Header

Below are frequently asked questions about the Hill Prizes. For questions not listed below, contact TAMEST by email or by phone at 512-471-3823.

Eligibility Requirements

Who may apply?

Please refer to the application guide for eligibility requirements. Hill Prizes Selection Committee members may not participate on applicant teams, and committee members may not apply for the prizes.


Are TAMEST Members eligible to apply for a Hill Prize?

Yes, TAMEST Members are eligible and encouraged to apply for a Hill Prize, provided they meet all application requirements.


Does my institution or company have to be a TAMEST member institution to submit an application?

No, applications may come from any research institution or company in the state. All applications from TAMEST member institutions and non-TAMEST member institutions will be considered and reviewed equally by the committee.

For the Technology category, applications may also be from non-TAMEST member institutions, but the applicant must be currently working in an industry organization, not in an academic institution.


Are nonprofit research institutes eligible to apply in the Medicine, Public Health, Engineering, Biological Sciences or Physical Sciences categories?

Yes. Applications for the five academic and health categories may be submitted by individuals and teams from all research universities, medical centers, hospitals, nonprofit research institutes and other scientific organizations in Texas.

Applications for the Technology category may be submitted by individuals and teams from companies, nonprofit research institutes and other scientific organizations in the private sector in Texas.


Is there a limit to the number of applications an individual institution or organization can submit?

No, however, institutions are encouraged to only submit their top two or three applications per category. Submitting non-competitive applications are discouraged.

Proposals may come from individuals, small teams or larger, more complex teams.


Does the grant allow multi-center applications involving more than one Texas institution?

Yes, the Hill Prizes will welcome multi-institution applications. The application must have one designated Principal Investigator from the designated lead institution. If the lead institution is from the academic or health center sector, they should apply in one of the four academic/health categories (Medicine, Engineering, Biological Sciences or Physical Sciences). If the lead institution is from industry or the private sector, they should apply in the Technology category.

If a multi-institution proposal is selected, the funder would provide a single grant to the lead institution. Subawards would be permitted; any subawards would be handled by the lead institution that receives the funding and must follow the same overall funding requirements of the prizes.


Are there any exceptions regarding eligibility requirements?

No, it’s important for applicants to ensure all eligibility requirements are met before submitting an application.


What is the cutoff date for the eligibility requirement of 15 years or more after the first independent faculty or industry-affiliated appointment?

Applicants must have had 15 years of experience by calendar year after their first full-time faculty (tenure track or tenured) or industry-affiliated appointment the year the application is submitted.

For Physician-Scientists, the year of their first attending appointment counts toward the requirement; fellowship or residency would not count towards the requirement.

Appointments may have taken place outside of Texas, but the applicant 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.


What is the cutoff date for the eligibility requirement of 2 years performing research in Texas?

The applicant should have performed research in Texas at an institution within the state for two years at the time the application is submitted.


Must all team members have held faculty or industry appointments for at least fifteen years, or only the Principal Investigator?

Only the Principal Investigator must meet that requirement. Applicants have the opportunity to work with a key collaborator who does meet the criteria to be the PI or team lead of their proposal.  

For team submissions, the Principal Investigator or team lead must be an active leader and participant of the group and meet all eligibility requirements.


Can a PI have a Co-PI? How many maximum to a team?

Co-PIs are allowed as members of team submissions. There is no maximum number of personnel for teams, however, only bios for the PI (3 pages max) and key personnel (1 page max) should be submitted with the application.  


If one of our team members is outside of Texas or outside of the U.S., is our application eligible?

Yes, as long as the PI or team lead meets all eligibility requirements, including spending at least the past two years (at time of application) performing research in Texas. The research team must be concentrated in Texas.  


Can one person apply as a PI for more than one category?

Applicants must choose only one category (medicine, engineering, biological sciences, physical sciences or technology) for their submissions. A PI may participate in multiple applications, but each application may only be submitted in one category each.

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.


What is Required for Institutional Approval?

Institutions and companies are required to approve submission of a proposal by their faculty or staff. Evaluation of the proposal itself by institutions prior to submission is at the discretion of the individual institution.

The institutional approval will be self-reported by applicants on their submission form (as a checked box). The goal is to make sure institutions are aware of and approve the funding and requirements if they are selected, as the funding will go to the applicants’ institutions. Approval from a VPR, CRO, Dean, Department Chair or equivalent authorized individual is recommended.

A letter of institutional approval is not required.

Application Materials and Process

Are paper copies of application forms submitted by mail accepted?

No, the application must be submitted through the online application.


May we submit the cover page, summary and statement separately?

No, the applicant cover page, summary and statement must be submitted in one document (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF).


What should be included in the cover page?

The cover page should only include the following elements:
• 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.

It should not be formatted as a cover letter and does not count towards the 5-page limit of the applicant summary and statement.


Do you have any outline template to share for the application summary statement? Are there examples of prior winners?

As this is the first year of the program, examples and templates aren’t available. Applicant summaries and statements should be formatted in Times New Roman, 11-point font with margins of at least 0.5”.


Where do we submit a budget?

Detailed budgets are not required, but applicants should explain how the funding would be used, e.g., for equipment, personnel or other expenses in their 5-page statement.


May we submit an NIH Biosketch for the Biographical Summary?

Yes, applicants may submit NIH biosketches for the Principal Investigator, provided they are limited to 3 pages. Additional key team members may also submit bios (not to exceed one page each).


May we submit separate references and bibliographies? Do they count towards the page limit?

References may be included in the applicant statement, but count towards the page limit — applications should only cite a few key publications and keep to the 5-page limit for the statement. References can also be linked to websites, but should focus on key references.

There is also an opportunity to include the applicant’s ten most important citations in the 3-page biographical summary.

The review committee will not be evaluating proposals based on citations and extensive literature review, but a few key references are welcome.


May we submit a letter of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation or support are not permitted and will not be accepted.


Which category should I choose?

Applicants should choose the category they determine best aligns with their proposal. 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.

If a for-profit company is the lead organization of a proposal, it should be submitted in the Technology category.


Who should submit the application?

Applications may be submitted by the PI or team lead or their designated representative. If submitting on behalf of a PI, there is a space on the application form to include the email address of the contact submitting the application.

Recipient Selection

Can recipients from the same institution receive a Hill Prize in different categories in the same year?

Yes. Each subcommittee reviews their separate category’s applicants independently and may choose and recommend finalists from the same institution as another subcommittee.


When will applicants be notified if they will be receiving a Hill Prize?

Recipients will be notified in early December 2023. The PI or team lead 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.

If an applicant is not selected, they will be notified in mid-December.


If our application isn’t selected for funding, will our proposal maintain confidentiality?

Yes, the proposal will stay confidential within TAMEST and the review committee.


When will a recipient receive the prize funding? What is the duration of the grant?

If selected, prize recipients will coordinate with Lyda Hill Philanthropies directly on the funding schedule.

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.


Will funding allow for indirect or overhead costs?

No. Funds may not be used for institutional overhead or indirect charges.

Funds may be used for direct charges relevant to the work of the project, which may include administrative support, provided relates to the project and spending follows the spending policies of their institution.

A formal report will not be required from prize recipients, only an annual impact statement.


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