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 organization have to be a TAMEST member institution to submit an application?

No, applications may come from any research institution or organization 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 or government organization, not in an academic institution. This category has a non-academic focus and proposals may be submitted by individuals and teams from companies, government agencies, nonprofit research institutes and other scientific organizations in the private sector and government in Texas (including university or government spinout companies).


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

Yes. Applications for the four 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, government agencies and other scientific organizations in the private sector and government in Texas.


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

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

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

Individuals and teams may only submit one application per category and may not submit their proposal in more than one category.


Does the prize allow multi-center applications involving more than one Texas institution or organization?

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

If a multi-organization proposal is selected, the funder would provide a single award to the lead organization. Subawards would be permitted; any subawards would be handled by the lead organization 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), government 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 organization 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 organization 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 or NIH Biosketch) 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, public health, engineering, biological sciences, physical sciences or technology) for their submission. A PI may participate in multiple applications, but each application may only be submitted in one category each.


What is required for approval by my institution?

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

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

A letter of approval from the institution or organization is not required.


Can past recipients apply for the 2025 Hill Prizes?

Past recipients may not compete for the 2025 prizes.


Will proposals not selected for the 2024 Hill Prizes be automatically re-submitted for the 2025 Hill Prizes?

Any applicant not selected for 2024 Hill Prizes may re-apply for 2025 Hill Prizes, but applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and submit a new application according to the updated guidelines.

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 proposal materials (cover page, statement and biographies) separately?

No, all elements of the proposal must be submitted in one Adobe PDF document.


What should be included in the cover page?

The cover page should include the following elements:

  • Category of prize;
  • Title of proposal;
  • A summary statement 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.
  • An abstract (no more than 250 words) summarizing the proposal.
  • Applicant information, including:
    • Principal Investigator’s name;
    • Principal Investigator’s title and organization
    • Principal Investigator’s address, email and telephone contact information;
    • Principal Investigator’s year of first faculty or industry-affiliated appointment (must be 2009 or earlier);
    • Names of Co-PIs and team members.

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


How should the applicant statements be formatted?

Applicant 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 (with approximate amounts for each major category) in their 5-page statement. Applicants should demonstrate to reviewers that your use of the prize funding aligns well with your goal of maximizing the impact of your idea.


May we submit an NIH Biosketch for the Biographical Summary?

Yes, applicants may submit NIH Biosketches for the Principal Investigator in lieu of the 3-page biographical summary. Additional Co-PIs and key team members may also submit bios (not to exceed one page each).


May we submit separate citations and bibliographies? Do they count towards the page limits?

Yes, applicants may also submit citations and key references as an additional element of their proposal, but it must be included last and submitted as part of the single .pdf proposal.

The review committee will not be evaluating proposals based on citations and extensive literature review, but a few key citations 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 and where they feel it has made the most impact. 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. Detailed information on categories is included in the application guide.

If a for-profit company or government agency 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 an opportunity on the form to note the contact submitting the application.

Recipient Selection

Can recipients from the same institution or organization 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 or organization as another subcommittee.


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

Recipients will be notified in early December 2024. The PI or team lead must be able to attend the prize ceremony the evening of February 4, 2025, at the opening reception of the TAMEST 2025 Annual Conference in Irving 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. Applicants will have the opportunity when submitting their proposal to give permission for their proposal to be shared directly with the funder, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, for possible consideration for general funding outside of the prize program. (Please note: Lyda Hill Philanthropies will contact applicants if interested in any further funding consideration; please do not contact them directly.)


Will I receive feedback and reviewer comments on my application?

Due to the large number of applications, we are unable to provide feedback on specific proposals. Applicants that were highly-ranked by the selection committee and external reviewers will be notified of such and encouraged to re-apply in future years.


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

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 overhead or indirect charges. Funds may be used for direct charges relevant to the work of the project, which may include administrative support, provided it relates to the project and follows the spending policies of the recipient’s organization.

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


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