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Dear STEM Deans, Chairs, and Coordinators,

I am delighted to announce that the Graduate Division will again be accepting nominations for the Schmidt Science Fellows program. I invite you to nominate your soon-to-be and newest Ph.D. alumni for this exciting program. Please help us assemble an outstanding group of nominees with both disciplinary and demographic diversity, by nominating your top students for this program by September 10, 2020. UCSD will nominate 6 nominations to represent the university. 


The goal of the program aims to develop the next generation of science leaders to transcend disciplines, advance discovery, and solve the world’s most pressing problems. 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. Fellows will be 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.

More about Schmidt Science Fellows Program:

Award Details

  • Fellows receive a stipend of $100,000.
  • Full-time, postdoctoral study for at least one year in a world-leading laboratory in a field different from their existing area of expertise.
  • Five weeks during their fellowship year at four residential meetings around the globe.  


  • Have conducted their graduate degree in the natural sciences (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Sciences), Engineering, Mathematics, or Computing – and all sub-disciplines.
  • Candidates must have a keen interest in undertaking an interdisciplinary research pivot during a postdoctoral placement.
  • Have completed, or be expected to complete, all the requirements for their Ph.D. between 30 April 2020 and 30 September 2021.
  • Be available for the entire period of the 2021 program, from July 2021 to July 2022 including attendance at each Global Meeting (whether virtual or in-person, as conditions allow).

  • See attached for more information.
  • More about eligibility:

Evaluation Criteria

  • Extraordinary achievement – Clear record of academic achievement during their Ph.D. 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 Ph.D.
  • 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 for social good – 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.
  • We encourage our Fellows to take a risk in their Fellowship year and to think deeply about where they may undertake their interdisciplinary pivot.
  • More about criteria:


There is no limit for nominees a department may put forward. Please include the following:

  • Letter of nomination from the PI, Chair, or program director, which addresses the criteria stated on the Schmidt Science fellows program announcement and website. 
  • Nominee statement of interest in the program, including a likely field of postdoctoral study.
  • CV of the nominee.

All nomination materials should be submitted in a single PDF and emailed to

For additional information, please see visit the Schmidt Science Fellows’ website.

More information about the selection process and timeline:

If you have any questions please send an email to


September 10, 2020.

Selected Nominees

If your student is selected as an institutional nominee, they will receive a code from Graduate Division. They will be required to use their code to initiate their application and supply contact details and other preliminary information by 30 September 2020. Candidates will then have until 30 November 2020 to complete their application. An extensive timeline can be found here:

Past Recipients

Visit Schmidt Science Fellows Program Fellows Page to see past recipients. 

Read more about UCSD's 2020 recipient.


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