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Schmidt Science Fellows Program Applications Due July 29

Northwestern University will nominate six doctoral students and/or recent alumni for the 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 $100,000 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 Wednesday, May 1, 2019 and Tuesday, June 30, 2020 should send a single PDF file that includes the following components:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Two 1000 word statements (one research, one personal) in response to following prompt
  • Three short proposals for potential postdoctoral Fellowship labs.  
  • The doctoral adviser and 4-6 additional recommenders should email confirmation of the applicant’s eligibility and a letter of support to the same address.

Materials must arrive by 8:00 AM on Monday, July 29 to receive consideration.

Applicants will learn the outcome of the campus process and nominees will register their online applications by Monday, August 12.

The nominees will have until Tuesday, October 1 to prepare their final applications.

Please review the program details below:


A one-year postdoctoral placement in a leading laboratory, anywhere in the world to undertake research at a distinct interdisciplinary pivot from your PhD

$100,000 USD personal stipend

Bespoke academic and professional mentoring with renowned international experts

A Global Meeting Series in international locations delivering training in:

  • Leadership & management
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Funding & finance
  • Broadening interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Engaging in society
  • Developing communities

In order to be eligible for nomination and potential selection as a Schmidt Science Fellow, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Have conducted their graduate degree in the natural sciences (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences), Engineering, Mathematics, or Computing – and all sub-disciplines therein.
  • Have completed or expect to complete all of the requirements for the conferral of their PhD in one of these fields between May 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
  • Be available for the entire period of the 2019-2020 program, from July 2019 to July 2020, including attendance at each Global Meeting.

The Schmidt Science Fellows Program is looking for the brightest minds in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computing who are interested in broadening their horizons and pursuing a challenging and rewarding period of study with the world’s leading academics and institutions. Schmidt Science Fellows are expected to be future leaders and should demonstrate a keen interest in harnessing interdisciplinarity and interaction with wider society to accelerate discovery to achieve global impact.

Applications for the Schmidt Science Fellows program will be judged against the following selection criteria:

  • Extraordinary achievement – Clear record of academic achievement during their PhD at leading institutions of higher learning.
  • Alignment with the Program – Commitment to pursuing a year or more of postdoctoral study in a field different from the topic of study for which the applicant received their PhD.
  • Scientific curiosity – Desire to achieve a broad level of exposure to and knowledge in cutting-edge innovations and research across the sciences.
  • 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, pursuing knowledge that will benefit the world by engaging in ambitious research and displaying great perseverance and appetite for risk throughout the scientific process.
  • Character – A genuine and demonstrable interest in society and global challenges combined with a desire to use personal talents and expertise to make a positive difference in the world.
  • Collaborative spirit – Demonstrated history of effective collaboration with diverse team members.
  • Use of innovative tools – General interest and comfort in the use and potential of new ways of doing science, such as modern computing and data science techniques.

Following a rigorous screening and interview process, the second class of Schmidt Science Fellows will be selected and announced in the spring of 2020, and will begin the Program in the summer of 2020.


Please email Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Director, Office of Fellowships, with any questions.

Categories: Fellowships