Philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt have announced the launch of the program, a postdoctoral fellowship aimed at providing the next generation of leaders and innovators in science with the tools and opportunities needed to drive world-changing advances.
Launched with an initial commitment of at least $25 million over the program's first three years, the fellowship will be part of a broader $100 million effort funded by the Schmidts to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research over the next decade. In partnership with the , which administers the Rhodes Scholarships, the program will welcome its first cohort of between ten and fifteen fellows in the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics, and computer science in 2018. Fellows will receive a stipend of $100,000 to conduct advanced-level research full-time for at least eleven months at a leading laboratory in a scientific discipline different from their core area of study as a way to spur interdisciplinary thinking. Fellows also will be hosted at a participating university for five weeks of high-level courses and group programs focused on a wide range of scientific advances, conversations with some of the world's preeminent scientific and social leaders, and immersive leadership experiences.
"To address society's most pressing issues, our best scientists and technologists in all disciplines will need to work effectively with nonprofits, government, and business," said Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. "This program will help our fellows develop skills that accelerate the pace of research and discovery in their future work, and will encourage them to serve as the next generation of scientific leaders."
"At a time when government budgets for vital scientific research continue to be cut, philanthropy plays a critical role," said Wendy Schmidt, president of the and co-founder of the . "At SOI, we have seen how scientists openly sharing cross-disciplinary research can advance our understanding of ocean systems. Now, we see the potential for the Schmidt Science Fellows to develop a similarly robust community, developing their work in a broader context of investigation that will enable them to tackle some of our world's most challenging problems in new ways."