If your career focuses on research, you must submit a
well-organized Investigator’s Portfolio as part of your promotion or tenure
dossier. This is the section of your dossier where you highlight and explain
your most noteworthy research discoveries, insights or advances. This is also
the place where you can explain your unique contributions to multi-disciplinary
(“team”) research programs. Your curriculum vitae (CV), which lists your
grants, publications and other scholarly activities, is not enough to judge
According to the Promotion Rules of the School of Medicine
(SOM), “basic, clinical, translational, educational and other forms of research
are highly valued by the School of Medicine.” The SOM also recognizes the
importance of “inter-disciplinary science and the need for collaboration among
investigators.” (See additional information below regarding research “independence.”)
As outlined in the SOM promotion matrix, “excellence” in
research may be demonstrated through peer-reviewed scientific publications,
competitive grant funding, a national or international reputation, and other
evidence of originality, creativity and independence as an investigator.
Naturally, when it comes to evaluating the quality of your scientific work, the
information you provide in the Investigator’s Portfolio will be supplemented by
letters written by outside experts and peers in your field of study.
Note that this FAQ is for research-intensive faculty
members: the FAQ in the next issue of Faculty
Matters will provide guidelines for documenting other types of
scholarship (teaching, integration and application).
Basic Elements of a Well-Organized Investigator’s Portfolio
- Narrative statement. In the Investigator’s Portfolio,
you should include a narrative summary that explains the focus, importance and
impact of your research and scholarly work to members of the SOM Faculty
Promotions Committee. Examples are provided in the Investigator’s Portfolio
section of the Guide
to Building a Dossier for Promotion or Tenure (Additional checklists,
FAQs, and resources are available under the “Promotion and Tenure” section of
the Faculty Affairs website.)
You should also explain
how your work has supported the research programs and missions and enhanced the
reputation of your department, the SOM or the university. Your narrative
statement should not exceed two pages.
of funded research.
For your most important funded projects, list the grant and describe (briefly)
the purpose of the project. Highlight your role, especially if you are not the
Principal Investigator (PI). Provide a brief summary of the nature and
importance of the problem (the “context”) and the expected results or
implications of the work. For multiple-PI grants and program project and center
grants, be specific about how you contributed to the success of these grants.
Limit this section to 250 words per project.
Help the promotions committee reviewers understand the significance of your
publications. You should limit this section to a summary of no more than 10 of
your “best” publications or scholarly works (i.e., those that have been the
most significant or that have received the most attention). Greatest weight is
given to recent publications (typically those published after the date of your
most recent promotion or tenure award). For each publication or scholarly work,
provide a brief summary of the nature and importance of the problem (the
“context”) and the most important results. Provide electronic links, but not
reprints, for the publications described in this section.
noted above, in your narrative statements and annotated bibliography, you will
be highlighting the impact that your publications or scholarly work has had on
your field. Metrics—such as the number of article citations, your h-index or
others (e.g., those available at ImpactStory.org)—can be useful in making the
case that the publication or scholarly work was significant. However, the
Faculty Promotions Committee discourages the use of journal-based metrics
(i.e., journal impact factors), since it is the quality and importance of the
research contribution itself that is the key. Research importance can also be
measured by its impact on policy, practice or the scientific discipline. Other
outputs from scientific research, such as intellectual property, databases,
software or others, may also be highlighted.
Provide additional details about the degree to which your publications and
discoveries have been recognized by leaders in your field. For example,
highlight: invited lectures, visiting professorships and plenary research
presentations; work cited in editorials, scientific blogs or the lay press;
service on NIH study sections or scientific advisory boards; editorship of
scientific journals (or membership on editorial boards); and accomplishments
recognized by national prizes or scientific awards.
of originality, creativity and independence. This section of the Investigator’s Portfolio is
particularly important for faculty candidates whose research is
multi-disciplinary and whose publications and other accomplishments reflect the
work of multi-disciplinary teams. Note that in 2012, the SOM promotion rules
were amended, and the following definitions of “independence” were added: The
School of Medicine recognizes the importance of inter-disciplinary science and
the need for collaboration among investigators. Therefore, as recommended by
the National Academy of Science, the School of Medicine defines an “independent
investigator” as one who demonstrates “independence of thought”— that is, one
who has defined a problem of interest, who has chosen or developed the best
strategies and approaches to address that problem and who has contributed
distinct intellectual expertise.
Therefore, use this section of your Investigator’s Portfolio to clarify the
contributions that you have made to multi-author publications and co-PI and
co-investigator grants. Be specific about your intellectual contributions and
the manner in which you defined the research objectives, led the research
efforts, interpreted the results or shaped the overall research program.
Additional evidence should also be provided, such as letters from the principal
investigators or research group heads with whom you have collaborated,
outlining in detail your specific contributions and the unique skills that you
brought to the team. For multi-authored papers, letters from the first- or senior-authors
may also provide evidence of your specific contributions. The overall objective
is to convey clearly and concisely to the Faculty Promotions Committee the
importance, significance and broad impact of your cumulative research
- Institutional service. You should include
descriptions of committee work and institutional service, if your efforts have
been vital in supporting the general research missions of your department, the
SOM or the university. Examples might include being a chair or member of an
institutional review board or an institutional committee focusing on animal
care, safety, conflicts-of-interest or scientific misconduct.
For a more complete discussion of these topics, refer to the
to Building a Dossier for Promotion or Tenure, which includes examples
of narrative statements, annotated bibliographies and summaries of research
For a complete list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit the
Faculty Affairs website.