Faculty Funding - MIT Doherty Career Development Chair


All non-tenured MIT faculty members from any Institute department are eligible to receive a Doherty award, as long as they do not concurrently hold another MIT-funded chair. Department heads may submit one nomination each year. The deadline for nominations is in November. The person appointed to the Chair will receive $25,000 per year for two years, beginning July 1.

Endowed by the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, the two-year Chair opens the way for promising, non-tenured professors to undertake marine-related research that will further innovative uses of the ocean's resources. There are no restrictions on the area of research, and any aspect of marine use and/or management may be addressed, whether social, political, environmental, economic or technical.

Selection is made by a committee of senior MIT faculty convened for this purpose by the Director of MIT Sea Grant. Their recommendation, along with the Director's comments, are then submitted to the relevant Dean(s) of the candidates' school(s) and to the MIT Provost for final approval. The Director announces the appointment during the spring term. While serving as the Doherty Assistant or Associate Professor of Ocean Utilization, the incumbent cannot hold another MIT-funded chair.


The Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization was established through a generous grant from the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, Inc. of Darien, Connecticut. The professorship, awarded to promising junior faculty, is a much sought-after prize at MIT. Young scientists embarking upon programs of innovative marine research often have difficulty obtaining funds from traditional sources. The Doherty Professorship provides a one- to two-year stipend to young faculty as they pursue new ideas and gives them the freedom to experiment. It is a formula for success. As noted by Kenneth A. Smith, Gilliland Professor in MIT's Department of Chemical Engineering, "Recipients of the Doherty Professorship have managed to turn ideas into technologies, developing better ways to use the world's oceans."

Though ocean utilization is a common theme, the recipients' research has been varied, ranging from red tide to deep sea cables; from modeling ocean waves to DNA monitoring of coastal contaminants; from the mechanics of ice to the control of autonomous underwater vehicles. Many of these research programs are little more than ideas at their inception, but thanks to this professorship most mature to fully funded programs of marine research.

The Doherty Professorship was established under the direction of Professor Ira Dyer when he was the head of the Department of Ocean Engineering and director of the MIT Sea Grant College Program. MIT has selected MIT Sea Grant to administer the grants for the Doherty awards, in keeping with the vision of the first Sea Grant Director, Alfred Keil, who saw Sea Grant as an interdisciplinary program of ocean research. This philosophy, which has been espoused by subsequent directors, is evident in the design of Sea Grant activities. The Doherty Foundation also helped MIT establish its Sea Grant Program and increased the Institute's participation in the National Sea Grant College Program through a grant in 1971.

The Doherty Foundation, established in the memory of the founder of the Cities Service Co. and his late wife, is principally devoted to supporting and encouraging the development of national resources related to the oceans and the coasts.

For more information, send email to seagrantinfo@mit.edu

This page was last modified: January 12, 2018 9:51 am


For more information, send email to seagrantinfo@mit.edu

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