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Schmidt Science Fellows Program

Modified: October 31, 2017

Northwestern University will nominate five doctoral students/alumni for the new Schmidt Science Fellows Program conducted in partnership with The Rhodes Trust.

The program allows students with extraordinary records of leadership in STEM to spend one year conducting research tangentially related yet pertinent to their doctoral work in a world class laboratory and participate in a series of global seminars.  Fellows will enjoy a stipend of $100K and their conference expenses covered in full.

Doctoral students and alumni with a demonstrable record of leadership who have defended or will defend a Northwestern PhD between 1 May 2017 and 30 June 2018 should send e-pardoe@northwestern.edu a curriculum vitae and a 300 word statement on the value of the Schmidt experience to their long term goals.  The doctoral adviser should email confirmation of the applicant’s eligibility to the same address.

Materials must arrive by 8AM Central Time on Tuesday, 7 November to receive consideration.

Applicants will learn the outcome of the campus process by Monday, 13 November.

The five nominees will have until 31 December to prepare their final applications.

Please review the program details below:

The fourteen-month Schmidt Science Fellows program will provide participants with a stipend of $100,000, and will feature two core components:

  1. Postdoctoral Research Year
    Fellow will conduct a full-time, 11+ month postdoctoral research study in a field-leading laboratory, focusing on a discipline in the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics or computing that is different from their existing area of expertise and planned future focus. Our goal is to introduce the Fellows to the ideas, practices, methods, and cultures of other scientific disciplines, broadening their scope of experience. By doing so, Fellows will form a diverse perspective on the questions and techniques that will position them to make breakthrough discoveries and drive societal change.

    The Fellows will select their postdoctoral research group, with assistance from the Schmidt Science Fellows program, the Rhodes Trust, respected researchers, and a number of leading universities. The Program will also assist Fellows that want to continue work in their postdoctoral area of study following the completion of the fellowship, or in instances where the initial postdoctoral period should extend for longer than the initial 11-month period of time.
  2.  The Global Meeting Series
    The Schmidt Science Fellows program will also feature four global meetings at the world’s leading academic institutions, interspersed across the duration of the fellowship. These meetings will expose Fellows to new cutting-edge science, provide them the opportunity to interact with each and with leading thinkers in the sciences and society, and develop new skills that will help them in their future careers. Each meeting will have a specific theme and focus, designed to expand the scope of experience and skill sets of the Fellows, and augment their postdoctoral research work.

    1. The Importance of Science to Leadership, and Leadership to Science
    2. July 2018 – United Kingdom (2 Weeks)
    3. Traditional Partners - The Interface Between Science and the Public Sector
    4. October/November 2018 – Massachusetts, United States (1 Week)
    5. Expanding Horizons - The Interface Between Science and the Private Sector
    6. February/March 2019 – Northern California, United States (1 Week)
    7. Where Do We Go From Here
    8. July 2019 – United Kingdom (1 Week)

In order to be eligible to become a Schmidt Science Fellow, individuals must have received or expect to receive a PhD in natural sciences (including life, physical, and earth sciences), engineering, mathematics, or computing between May 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.  Nominees should have the following key qualities:

  • Scientific Curiosity - Desire to achieve a broad level of exposure to and knowledge in cutting-edge innovations and research across the sciences
  • Extraordinary Achievement - Clear record of academic achievement in the sciences at leading institutions of higher learning
  • Intellectual Spark - High degree of intelligence, energy, and intellectual curiosity that will drive future scientific discoveries
  • Global Ambitions - The will to make a lasting impact in the sciences and society, conducting research and pursuing knowledge that will benefit the world
  • Collaborative Spirit - Demonstrated history of effective collaboration with diverse team members
  • Computing Interest - General interest in modern computing and data science topics
  • Alignment with the Program - Interest in pursuing a year or more of postdoctoral study in a field different from the topic of study for which the applicant received his/her doctorate

Following a rigorous screening and interview process, the first class of 10-15 Schmidt Science Fellows will be selected and announced in the spring of 2018, and will begin the Program in the summer of 2018. The Program will continuously expand in successive years, ultimately admitting 35-50 Fellows annually.

Please contact Elizabeth Pardoe, Director, Office of Fellowships (e-pardoe@northwestern.edu), with any questions.

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