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Presentation in the 2006 Rice University NSF Advance Conference entitled “Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position”. This presentation introduces the reader to the things to consider when negotiating a start-up package. The original presentation authors are Rebekah Drezek (BioE) Behnaam Aazhang (ECE), Barry Dunning (Physics), Jim Kinsey (Chem), Marcia O'Malley (MechE), and Michael Diehl (BioE).

Workshop Authors: Rebekah Drezek, Behnaam Aazhang, Barry Dunning, Jim Kinsey, Marcia O'Malley, and Michael Diehl

Slide 1: our plan for this session

  • Components of a Start Up Package
  • Faculty Member Perspective
  • Chair/Dean Perspective
  • Q and A - Our Primary Emphasis

Slide 2: negotiating your first position

Slide 3: my favorite general references

  • The absolute best reference:
    • HHMI Lab Management: Making the Right Moves
  • Other good ones:
    • Tomorrow’s Professor–Preparing for Careers in S/E
    • A PhD is Not Enough!
    • The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career
  • And you have to read:
    • Ms. Mentor’s Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia

Slide 4: a day in the life of an assistant prof (2/17/06)

  • 8:30-10:15
  • Meeting at MDACC on ovary study. Our protocol was approved (Yay!). Did we mention it has to be absolutely pitch dark?
  • Try to get back to Rice on time for nanobio training review. Hope it is not raining (irritates my Segway…)
  • Nanobio student No. 1 review (I am co-supervisor on joint project)
  • 10:30-10:45
  • Nanobio student No. 2 review (I am supervisor on joint project)
  • 10:45-11:00
  • Meeting with postdoc No. 1 on paper revisions due last week.
  • 11:00-11:30
  • Meeting with student project team No. 1 for BIOE 572
  • 11:30-12:00
  • Meeting with grad student No. 1 on fl project.
  • 12:00-12:30
  • Meeting with grad student No. 2 on job search.
  • 12:30-1:00
  • Meeting with grad student No. 3 on protocol for R21 (Did I mention we have a R21 due today? By 5:00.)
  • 1:00-1:30
  • Forage office for food.
  • 1:30-2:00
  • Meeting with student having HW trouble in BIOE 572
  • 2:00-2:30
  • Meeting with student project team No. 2 for BIOE 572
  • 2:30-3:00
  • Meeting with grad student No. 4 on paper submission
  • 3:00-4:00
  • Weekly teleconference on RO1 No. 1. Curse each other (as always)for choosing mouse model for colon cancer. Learn more than you ever care to know about strategies for colonoscopy in mice.
  • 3:45-4:00
  • Leave teleconference early to hook up computer for this seminar.
  • 4:00-5:00
  • Give seminar.
  • 5:00-6:00
  • Teleconference to discuss competing renewal of RO1 No. 2.

TIME is the new MONEY. Negotiating start up is not about maximizing dollars but maximizing your opportunity for success.

Slide 5: example: a bare bones offer letter

Letter 1

Bare Bones Offer Letter


  • salary
  • start-up fund
  • initial summer salary
  • graduate student/yrs
  • moving expenses


  • raise to reflect late start date*
  • teaching relief
  • how long do you have to spend money?
  • when can you start spending?
  • where is space?
  • how much of it?
  • renovations?

*if not incorporated into offered salary – will be difficult to figure out if only 1 year delay

Slide 6: example: a more detailed offer letter

Letter 2

More Detailed Offer Letter

Slide 7: faculty member perspective

  • You are in your most powerful position during the negotiation process (almost impossible to add to once you arrive).
  • The Chair is your advocate.
  • Teaching reduction buys you time – this is critical!
  • Flexibility helps a lot as your needs evolve. Can you change people into equipment? Graduate students into postdocs?
  • Talk to as many junior and senior faculty as possible to get advice on what is a reasonable package in your subfield before you start.
  • If there is someone at the institution you trust to ask about what a typical package in your field is like that is even better.
  • Cannot compare offers w/o understanding a school’s overhead and tuition policies. Need to find out how much a graduate student costs and if it changes throughout PhD.
  • Also need to understand school’s overhead return policies and academic year buy-out policies to compare offers.
  • And if it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist…

Slide 8: the chair/dean perspective


  • Realize this is when your chair/dean are forming their impression of you asa future colleague
  • Have and communicate a very clearidea of what you need (2-3 pages)
  • Differentiate between what you absolutely can’t live without and whatwould be very helpful
  • Know what equipment could be shared with others
  • Be prepared on the initial visit for your meeting with the Dean
  • Be prepared during the dept interview to say which courses you can teach inthe dept. you are interviewing in
  • Know your space needs (special power, cooling water, etc.)


  • Repeatedly change your needs (This was the only comment that everysingle chair/dean independently mentioned)
  • Try to raise your offer at one school to make another match – it becomesobvious and reflects very poorly on you
  • Wait until everything else is finalized to bring up a two body issue (when tobring this up is a possible Q and A topic)

Slide 9: potential q and a topics

  • Points from Other Panelists
  • When is the right time to bring up “two-body” issues?
  • What is the right approach to handling multiple negotiation processes?

Questions & Answers

do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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