1.0Huck HODAdopted by Huck HOD


1.1Scott LingleMoved to intranet


1.2Revised by Huck Exec
On this page:

1.0  Overview

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences was established to enhance and facilitate excellence in interdisciplinary research and training in the life sciences across Penn State.  The Huck Institutes partners with Penn State colleges and departments to attract and retain world-leading scientists and support them with state-of-the-art instrumentation, workspace, and innovative graduate training programs.

We accomplish this by investing strategically in the recruitment of outstanding faculty co-hires who build and retain precedence in key interdisciplinary areas of excellence including infectious disease, genome sciences, plant sciences, neurosciences, ecology, microbiome, structural biology, global health, and more.  The Huck is committed to establishing a collegial environment that promotes open communication, collaboration, diversity, and professional development.  We initiate and catalyze interactions between disciplines and encourage collaborations aimed at solving major societal challenges.  This approach moves beyond the confines of biology and biochemistry and requires scientists to form trans-disciplinary teams with an appreciation of the physical, computational, and social sciences.

The Huck Institutes are very proud that we have more than 100 faculty co-hires in multiple colleges and departments across the University who are undertaking excellent, and often interdisciplinary research.  This policy outlines several processes applied to Huck faculty co-hires.

2.0  Eligibility

All faculty, departments and colleges with an interest in the life sciences are encouraged to be actively engaged with the Huck Institutes through one of the Huck-led research institutes, Centers, Graduate Programs, or core facilities.  However, the Huck faculty co-hires who receive partial salary support from the Huck are invariably key researchers who are engaged in strengthening interdisciplinary research in the following areas:

  • Infectious disease
  • Genome sciences
  • Plant sciences
  • Neurosciences
  • Ecology
  • Microbiome
  • Structural Biology
  • Global Health
  • Antimicrobial resistance and adaptation
  • Data to insight and innovation
  • Convergence of Biological Engineering and Material Science

3.0  Huck Faculty Co-Hire Request Process

3.1         Prior to forming a search committee, the hiring unit must engage the Huck Director regarding the position description and its strategic alignment with Huck initiatives. 

3.2        This should include a request for a financial commitment from the Huck Institutes by submitting an online Commitment request through the FRApp system.

3.3        Approved FRApp requests represent the formal commitment of the Huck Institutes to the co-hire and avoid misunderstandings relative to verbal agreements. 

3.4        The Director of the Huck Institutes will review the request with the Huck Executive Board to determine the level of support from the Huck Institutes. 

3.5        After the Commitment request is reviewed and approved by the Huck Exec, it will remain an official commitment agreement for a one-year period

3.6        If at the conclusion the search fails to yield a viable candidate, or the top candidate declines the offer or withdraws, the hiring unit must submit a new Commitment request for review and approval.

3.7        The Huck Institutes reserves the right to withdrawal from an active search and end the co-hire agreement if the hiring unit wants to make offer(s) to candidate(s) we feel are likely to fulfill departmental needs only, rather than broader life science interests across Penn State.

Huck Commitment to Diversity

3.8        The Huck Institutes is committed to promoting institutional transformation and excellence with respect to efforts to recruit, retain and promote diverse faculty in all fields. 

3.9        A member of the Huck Executive Board will serve as an ex officio member of the search committee to help optimize opportunities for excellence by tapping into a broader range of intellectual diversity and expertise.

3.10     The Huck Institutes supports College-led diversity initiatives and seeks to support those initiatives.  However, in areas where there are not college-led diversity initiatives in place, the following Huck minimum requirements must be met to be eligible for Huck co-hire salary funding:

3.10.1  Job Description and advertising – consider implications of the job description (search as broadly as possible) and indicating an interest in hiring diverse faculty; expanding the range of institutions from which you recruit.

3.10.2  Search committee seeks diversity training to increase their conscious awareness of implicit bias (visit the Harvard Project Implicit website to educate and learn about hidden biases: In addition, the search committee uses an evaluation tool                   that weighs judgments that reflect examination of all application materials and interview with the candidate.

3.10.3  Colleges should maintain and annually update faculty salary metrics to ensure fair and equitable salaries are being offered.

3.10.4  In all cases, hiring procedures should comply with PSU policy as outlined in HR01 Fair Employment Practices and HR11 Affirmative Action in Employment at The Pennsylvania State University.

Recruitment Costs

3.11            Normally the Huck Institutes does not pay for any recruiting expenses unless it is a cluster hire search that the Huck is conducting with another college.

3.12          In the case of a cluster hire, the Huck Institutes will split the cost of the candidate’s transportation and hotel expenses. 

3.13         The Huck Institutes will not cover group meal expenses unless someone from the Huck Exec is taking the candidate to breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

3.14         The Huck Institutes does not cover the cost of alcohol on any group meals. 

3.15         The department that is conducting the interviews will prepare and submit the ERS travel expense report and split the costs directly with the appropriate Huck budget.

4.0  Eligible Types of Faculty Co-Hire Support

4.1            The Huck may fund up to 50% of the salary of faculty, depending on the fit of the hire within the Huck strategic plan and the relative contribution by the tenured home department.

4.2            The Huck shall not provide more salary match contribution than that which is paid by the home department.  In the event the College finds additional sources for salary support, then the Huck Institutes’ salary match shall be reduced to the level of the tenure home College’s contribution.  It is necessary for the participating colleges to inform the Huck Institutes when their contribution to the salary of a co-hired faculty member changes in this way.

4.3            If the co-hire’s research area fits within existing research clusters in Huck managed facilities, space (office and lab) can be requested to the Huck Institutes Director through the Commitment request process.

4.4            Support for Instrumentation Facility Usage (e.g., Huck Bucks)

4.5            Research funding assistance through announced programs (e.g., Huck center or chair funding; refer to the Huck policy for center and chair funding)

4.6            The Huck Institutes does not provide start-up costs or summer supplemental support

5.0  Faculty Co-Hire Offer Letter Wording Requirements

5.1            If Huck is contributing towards salary support, the following paragraph must be included in the offer letter:

Your position will be co-funded by the College of _____ and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, one of the largest interdisciplinary research institutes at Penn State.  As a member of the Huck Institutes, you are encouraged to participate in Huck activities, develop an interdisciplinary research program, and consider the Huck graduate programs in your planning.  The Huck co-funded portion of your position (__%) is for an initial period of five years, after which it will be reviewed and may be funded for additional years.  Should Huck choose not to renew your appointment, the Department of _____ will assume the responsibility for Huck’s portion of your academic year salary.   Co-hires will be assessed on the excellence of their research, contribution to interdisciplinary science, and support for Huck activities.

5.2            If “Huck Bucks” are part of a start-up package, then the formal offer letter must contain the language below along with a signature from the Huck Director.

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences is providing $30,000 to be spent in Huck Shared Technology Facilities ( where $15,000 will be available in year 1, $10,000 in Year 2 and $5,000 in Year 3.  These funds are referred to as “Huck Bucks”.  The term of the commitment will be three fiscal years and the commitment will begin on July 1st of the University fiscal year after the faculty start date and will end on June 30th of the third year of funding, or the last day of fiscal year 3.  (Example:  start date is 8/15/22 – Huck Bucks begin on 7/1/23 and end 6/30/26) Any unused funds at the end of each fiscal year cannot be carried forward to the following year and no time extensions will be granted.  We request that any data published as a result of these funds acknowledge the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.


6.0  Faculty Expectations & Reviews

Faculty Expectations

6.1        The Huck expects all faculty appointed with co-hire funds to build excellent research programs and collaborate with other disciplines to build interdisciplinary sciences at Penn State.

6.2        Note, all faculty do not need to be interdisciplinary within their own right but be prepared and actively seek interdisciplinary collaboration with others.

6.3        Faculty are also expected to participate in Huck Institutes activities in our Centers of Excellence, Research Institutes, Instrumentation facilities, and Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Programs.  Failure to be involved will result in removal of salary support.

6.4        All appointment letters for new faculty must recognize support from the Huck Institutes and outline expectations of the Huck for the co-hire to develop excellence in research, interdisciplinary activities, and provide active support for Huck activities.

6.5        The Huck Institutes require all faculty to be involved in teaching undergraduates, but the level of this teaching should not be such that it prevents the researcher from undertaking their research tasks.  Ideally, we would like faculty to teach less than 2 courses per annum but appreciate this is discipline-dependent where some of the quantitative disciplines have a greater teaching load.

Faculty Reviews

6.6        Faculty are reviewed following their 5th year as a co-hire faculty member. The following criteria is used for evaluation purposes:

    • Academic excellence
    • Interdisciplinary activities
    • General support of Huck to include:  participation in centers, institutes, graduate programs, review committees, and facility users.
    • Co-hires are evaluated based on excellent, good, or fair. Those individuals scored as fair are discussed with the appropriate Dean and Department Head.
    • If a faculty member is considered fair, then funding will be reduced in 10-15% increments over the next few years until all Huck salary support is eliminated.

7.0  Reduction in Funding

Upon completion of the 10th year as a co-funded faculty member, Huck will begin to reduce the salary by 1/5 each year for a period of 5 years.  During that period, faculty will remain as co-funded faculty.  After 5 years (total of 15 years support), the faculty will continue as Huck “affiliated faculty.”

For exceptional faculty that are beyond 10 years, Huck reserves the right to find alternative compensation or distinguished recognition for the faculty that will reward them for their continuous scientific leadership.

Visit the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences on the web at


This publication is available in alternative media on request.


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