Eric and Wendy Schmidt, co-founders of Schmidt Futures. The 2022 cohort of Schmidt Science Fellows … [+]
The newest class of Schmidt Science Fellows was announced Thursday at a ceremony in Boston. This year’s cohort of 29 Fellows are all recent PhD’s who’ve been identified as some of the most outstanding early-career scientists in the world.
The Schmidt Science Fellows was the first program supported by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative co-founded by former Google CEO and Chairman Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy, President of the Schmidt Family Foundation. The current class is the fifth cohort in the program, which is fully funded by Schmidt Futures and delivered in a partnership with the Rhodes Trust.
Considered one of the most prestigious scientific postdoctoral awards in the world, Schmidt Science Fellows receive postdoctoral support for either one or two years with an annual stipend of $100,000 along with individualized mentoring and participation in the program’s Global Meeting Series, which provides training, introductions to new concepts, visits to leading interdisciplinary scientific centers, and opportunities to engage with thought-leaders from science, business, policy, and society.
The Fellows are expected to pursue research that “pivots” from the focus of their PhD, thereby expanding their potential as future scientific leaders. Among the 2022 Fellows are investigators aiming to develop new therapies to treat cancer and heart disease, scale-up sustainable fuel production, restore vision for blind people, protect endangered species, and generate new approaches for clean water and energy.
For example, one of this year’s Fellows, Paul Chen focused his PhD at the University of Toronto on ways to control the structure of nanocrystals, which have important applications in several fields, including medicine and clean energy. As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Paul will pivot from chemical engineering to nanoparticle systems. He plans to study new methods for identifying organic nanoparticles with therapeutic potential.
“Interdisciplinary science is crucial to tackle big challenges and improve health for people around the world,” noted Paul. “I believe this will lead to new approaches to design nanoparticles to help enable new ways to treat a range of genetic disorders, potentially such as sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis.”
Selection of the Fellows begins with nominations of candidates by about 100 of the world’s leading science and engineering institutions. Nominated candidates then apply and undergo a rigorous selection process that includes a paper-based academic review by experts in their home disciplines and final interviews with panels, including senior representatives from across many scientific disciplines and different business sectors.
This year’s Schmidt Science Fellows were drawn from 23 leading science and engineering institutions. The cohort includes 15 women and 14 men and represents 12 nationalities, including the Program’s first Fellows from Ireland and South Africa. Here is the complete list:
This fifth cohort is the largest class of Schmidt Science Fellows. They join 113 active and alumni Fellows representing 30 nationalities of origin. Fellows from the earlier cohorts are already pursuing faculty roles at several renowned universities, leading start-up companies, and influencing policy.
Speaking of the new Fellows, Eric Schmidt said, “Our latest group of Schmidt Science Fellows embodies our vision for this Program at its inception five years ago. We find the most talented next-generation leaders from around the world and back these impressive young adults with the resources and networks they need to realize their full potential while addressing some of the big scientific questions facing the world. Congratulations to the 2022 Schmidt Science Fellows, I am excited to see where your science takes you and what you will achieve.”
Wendy Schmidt added, “In the first five years of this Program, Fellows have combined biology and computer science to revolutionize drug discovery. They’ve introduced AI to biomedical engineering to bring cancer screening to underserved communities. And they’re working across optics, atomic physics, astrophysics, ocean science and more to identify new ways to reverse climate destruction.This new cohort will join a growing network of interdisciplinary scientists and researchers engaging in critically important work that goes beyond any project they may undertake individually.”
Schmidt Science Fellows are encouraged to take risks with their scientific investigations. Dr. Megan Kenna, Executive Director of Schmidt Science Fellows, said: “The clock is ticking on the world’s big challenges, and we need science to play its part in finding solutions. I am proud to welcome our 2022 Schmidt Science Fellows into a community of scientists and supporters who come together to harness the power of interdisciplinary science for the benefit of the world.”
About Schmidt Futures
Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that “finds exceptional people and helps them do more for others together.” It builds networks of talent to work on solving some of the world’s toughest scientific and social problems.
Schmidt Futures uses gifts, grants, other capital structures, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial work aimed at discovering the “most promising ideas in technology, scientific breakthroughs, and paths to shared prosperity in society,” and raising awareness about such issues.