Tenure-track faculty at UC Irvine got a $1.25 million boost from a private foundation to “position their research careers for long-term success.”

The Hellman Fellows Program will provide $250,000 annually over the next five years for fellowships in various academic disciplines.

The grants will be spread over eight or nine assistant professors each year, with a $50,000 maximum. They will be available to some academic disciplines that typically have fewer funding sources compared with scientific research, including the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Financial industry veteran Warren Hellman and his wife Chris started the program in 1995 with a $125,000 grant to UC San Diego and $250,000 to UC Berkeley. The program now has been expanded to all 10 University of California campuses along with four private universities, including Harvard Business School, Stanford University, Williams College and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

UCI’s inclusion in the fellowship program followed a five-year courting effort.

“UC Irvine appreciates the Hellman Fellows Fund’s generous support and recognition of the enormous potential of our young researchers,” said Chancellor Michael Drake. “Financial assistance such as this is especially meaningful early in a faculty member’s career, when grants can be scarce. Private support is essential to the continuation of our research mission, particularly in the current environment of federal research funding uncertainty.”