August 20, 2020

The Schmidt Science Fellows program, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, aims to equip the next generation of leaders and innovators with the tools and opportunities to drive world-changing advances across the sciences and society by giving them a year of scientific broadening between their PhD and the start of their research career. The Schmidt Science Fellows program will expose participants to new scientific breakthroughs, new fields of studies, new micro-cultures, and new ideas that they will take with them throughout their lives.

The University of Washington is one of 75 invited institutions to select nominees to advance to the international selection committee.   In order to be eligible to become a Schmidt Science Fellow, individuals must have received or expect to receive a PhD in natural sciences (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences), Engineering, Mathematics, or Computing – and all sub-disciplines therein. Candidates must have a keen interest in undertaking an interdisciplinary research pivot during a postdoctoral placement and to have completed, or be expected to complete, all the requirements for their PhD between May 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.

Successful Fellows are expected to combine scientific curiosity with extraordinary academic achievement. They should have demonstrated a collaborative spirit and have the ambition to make a lasting impact in science and in society, conducting research and pursuing knowledge that will benefit the world.

Fellows receive a stipend of $100,000 and are supported by the Program to undertake a full-time, postdoctoral study for at least one year in a world-leading laboratory in a field different from their existing area of expertise. Fellows also spend five weeks during their fellowship year at four residential meetings around the globe where they receive bespoke training to help them become the next generation of science leaders.  In these meetings the fellows are introduced to new research ideas, techniques and questions, they are exposed to a wide-range of cutting-edge science, leading thinkers and institutions, and they receive tailored training in science communication, leadership and, how to facilitate interdisciplinary research. Throughout the Fellowship year Fellows receive regular scientific and professional mentoring from a member of our Academic Council and they continue to have access to this support after their Fellowship is complete to support their professional development further.

To be considered as one of our exceptional nominees, please submit the following elements as one PDF package via Google form by Sept 7, 5pm.  The google form is restricted to UW google addresses, so applicants may need to logout of personal gmail accounts first. Each of the documents below should be limited to one page and should address the selection criteria as outlined in the attached document. Also, please review this video on the fellowship selection criteria.

  • Letter of recommendation and nomination by a faculty member (1pg)
  • Personal statement from the candidate (1pg)

UW Nominees will be notified and advanced to the Foundation by Sept 14th. Nominees will then register their intent to apply online by Sept 30th, and they will be sent full application materials by the Rhodes Trust, due Nov 30th.

The UW is very fortunate to have a member (Dr. Hal Holmes from Bioengineering) in the inaugural class (2018-2019) of just 14 postdocs from around the world. In addition, Dr. James Gaynor (UW Chemistry) was selected for a final, in-person interview in April 2020; he ultimately chose to accept the prestigious, 2-year Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship.  The 2019-2020 fellows are 12 women, 8 men, representing 15 nationalities and hailing from 18 nominating universities in 6 different countries.  They work across multiple and diverse disciplines (astronomy and engineering, the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, mathematics, and computing).

Questions? Send to Associate Dean Bill Mahoney in the Office of Postdoc Affairs:

Nomination packets should be uploaded here:

Please review the program website for more info: