Schmidt Science Fellows

Funding Agency:
Schmidt Futures

The Schmidt Science Fellows program, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, provides the world’s best emerging scientists with new skills and perspectives to develop novel solutions to society’s challenges, become scientific and societal thought leaders, and unlock new scientific breakthroughs faster.
The 14-month program is delivered through a combination of group sessions at some of the world’s leading universities and a special postdoctoral study in a field different from a Fellow’s existing expertise. Fellows are exposed to new topics, new ways of thinking, and new people that will help guide their future paths to success.

This placement commences after a Fellow successfully completes his or her PhD in the natural sciences, computing, engineering or mathematics. Fellows’ placements will represent a significant disciplinary pivot from their PhD topic and are central to the program’s aim to foster greater interdisciplinarity.

Duke may nominate 6 candidates.


  • Duke Internal Deadline: July 15, 2019
  • Nominations Due to Sponsor: August 12, 2019
  • Full Applications: October 1, 2019


Interested applications from Duke University should contact Vera Luck ( or Steve Murray ( for assistance.


Program Overview

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

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

  • 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, pursuing knowledge that will benefit the world by engaging in ambitious research and displaying great perseverance 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 using innovative technological tools, such as modern computing and data science techniques.
  • 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 their doctorate.

Eligibility Requirements

For nomination and selection for our 2020 cohort, 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 1 May 2019 and 30 June 2020.
  • Be available for the entire period of the 2020-2021 program, from July 2020 to July 2021, including attendance at each Global Meeting.



Amount Description

Schmidt Science Fellows receive a stipend of $100,000 and support from the program to identify and undertake a year-long postdoctoral placement.

Funding Type


Duke Awardees

2019 -- Mercy Asiedu


Grad/Prof Students


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from advisor/mentor - 1 to 1.5 pages (please note the selection criteria so that some of these points can be addressed in the letter.) If your advisor wishes the letter to be confidential, it can be emailed to ORS at before the internal deadline.
* Candidate's CV
* ONE page statement describing your interest in pursuing a year or more of postdoctoral study in a field different from the topic of study for which the applicant received your doctorate.

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here:

Internal Deadline

July 17, 2019

External Deadline

August 12, 2019