UGA Postdoctoral Scholars Program: Future Faculty for Inclusive Research Excellence (FFIRE)

Information for Faculty Mentors

faculty and students in lab
student in lab, arch

2024 Call for Mentors – Mentor Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs seek applications for postdoctoral mentors who are committed to excellence in research, mentorship, inclusivity, and innovation.

The UGA Postdoctoral Scholars program Future Faculty for Inclusive Research Excellence (FFIRE) is a postdoctoral research and academic career development program designed to recruit, train, and support exceptional postdoctoral scholars pursuing academic careers.

In addition to their mentored research, FFIRE scholars will participate in professional development programming throughout their appointment, and mentors will participate in annual mentor training. Faculty and postdocs from all disciplines are eligible to participate.

The program is jointly funded by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in the Office of Research, faculty mentors, and their units.

A full description of the program can be found here. Faculty mentor application submission form here. Postdoctoral Scholar application submission form here.

Faculty mentor selection criteria:

  • Evidence of a rigorous, supportive research training environment in a high-impact interdisciplinary research area
  • Resources available to support a robust training environment and 2-year commitment to partially fund the stipend and other research support costs.
  • Evidence of experience and commitment to excellent, inclusive mentorship and professional development of trainees, and a comprehensive mentoring plan.
  • For early career faculty without an extensive training record, a clear, robust mentoring plan will be particularly important. Early career faculty may also identify their own faculty mentors, or co-mentors for the FFIRE scholar.
  • Commitment to participate in ongoing mentorship training
  • Commitment to support postdoc trainee participation in the professional development programming, at 25% EFT (which includes typical faculty-led mentoring and professional development like attending meetings/conferences, as well as more formal programming offered by the office of research)

Faculty Mentor application requirements:

  • Current Biosketch (NIH or NSF biosketch format recommended, not complete academic cv), including a summary of active research support. Identify which sources would be used to support the FFIRE scholar’s research
  • Brief description of the project(s) available for a postdoc to join, and indicate which include interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Mentoring philosophy and mentorship plan: Describe your mentorship philosophy (<1 page) and mentoring plan (<1 page) for the FFIRE candidate. For the mentoring plan, include a description of your current research group, current inclusive mentoring and professional development efforts, and how a FFIRE candidate would be integrated into and complement the group. Plans including co-mentorship by more than one faculty mentor should clearly define the shared roles and communication plan.
  • Training portfolio: Depending on previous activities and experience, the portfolio may include a list of prior trainees and their current positions/career outcomes, a history of training in effective mentorship, experience mentoring trainees from diverse backgrounds, mentoring awards, trainee awards, statements from former trainees, and/or statements from colleagues familiar with mentorship activities.  If a co-mentor is named, their training portfolio should also be included.
  • Apply via the FFIRE Faculty Mentor InfoReady submission form. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, but please submit by March 1 to be considered in the first round of review.

FAQs for Faculty Mentors

The soft deadline for postdoc applications will be March 31, interviews will be completed by mid-May, and start dates are targeted for July-September.  

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will provide $20k/year toward a minimum annual salary of $60k, for a 2 year commitment. The remaining $40k (minimum) per year is split between the PI and unit.   

Applicants for the FFIRE program will submit applications materials (described here) and will be evaluated by the faculty mentor of interest, the director of Postdoctoral Affairs and other FFIRE faculty mentors.  Top candidates will be invited to participate in zoom interviews. Finalists will be invited to campus interviews and group recruitment visits.  Selection will be based on the defined selection criteria.  

We have funding in-hand to recruit 4 additional scholars this year, and we continue to seek additional funding to support more.  

Because we only have funding to support 4 FFIRE scholars in the 2024 cohort and 20+ approved mentors, we will not be able to support a FFIRE scholar for every faculty mentor. We expect there will be many talented, worthy postdoc applicants that we are unable to fund. FFIRE applicants that are not selected for funding  through our program can still be hired directly by the faculty advisor and can still participate in all of the professional development programming our office offers, with the exception of the second-year retreat.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs coordinates application review and recruitment, including an on-campus visit/interview.  We will work with you to recruit your candidates, even if they are not selected for funding from our office. Last year we had 100% acceptance of our offers.

FFIRE positions are created and managed in UGAJobs by the Office of Research. We will partner with your business office to co-fund the position and manage HR issues related to the position.

Atemplate of the offer letterincludes an outline of the expected balance between faculty-directed research (50-75%) and professional development (25%). Teaching duties (up to 25%) are allowed and encouraged, as long as the research effort is at least 50%.  

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides travel funding, cohort activities and professional development programming for all FFIRE scholars, including a full day academic job search retreat for mentors and scholars in year 2.  All professional development programming except the retreat is also open to all UGA postdocs, not just those funded through FFIRE.  

FFIREmentors are expected to fully engage in mentoring, as described in their submitted mentoring plans, and participate in annual mentoring-the-mentors training workshops.