Schmidt Science Fellowships

Deadline

Likely in April 2023

Annual Value

$100,000 USD per year

Citizenship

Canadian
Permanent Resident
International

Degree Level

Doctoral
 

The Schmidt Science Fellows program 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 accelerate ground-breaking discoveries. 

The program is looking for the brightest minds in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computing who are interested in broadening their horizons.  Candidates to be Schmidt Science Fellows are expected to already have a strong track record of scientific achievement from their PhD studies, combined with a clear intellectual curiosity and desire to drive future discoveries. They should have the commitment and character to engage with society and global challenges to making a lasting difference in the world. Fellows should have a collaborative spirit with the experience and desire to work with diverse teams and across scientific disciplines.

Fellows receive a stipend of $100,000 USD per year and are supported to pursue a one to two year postdoctoral placement at a world-leading laboratory anywhere in the world in a disciplinary pivot from their PhD.  Fellows also benefit from a Global Meeting Series and personalized mentoring program.  UBC is one of select group of the world’s leading science and engineering institutions that are invited to nominate students to the international competition.  In 2021, 28 Schmidt Science Fellows were selected to be recipients globally.

 

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for nomination and potential selection as a Schmidt Science Fellow, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have completed, or expect to complete, all the requirements for the conferral of their UBC PhD, including a successful defense, between 1 June 2022 and 30 July 2023.  Please note that prospective UBC students are not eligible for nomination.
  • 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
  • Be available for the entire period of the 2023 program, from July 2023 to September 2024 including attendance of the Global Meeting Series (whether virtual or in person, as conditions allow, and including additional virtual programming).

The Schmidt Science Fellows program is committed to equality of opportunity for all candidates.  Applications from individuals are encouraged regardless of age, disability, gender, gender identity, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, parental status marital or civil partner status, race, color, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion or belief. 

Refer to the Schmidt Science Fellows webpage for eligibility FAQs.

Evaluation Criteria

Refer to the Schmidt Science Fellows webpage for the complete evaluation criteria.

Below is additional insight into what the Schmidt Science Fellows program is looking for:

  • The program is looking for the brightest minds in the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computing who are interested in broadening their horizons, pivoting away from their PhD research area and pursuing a challenging and rewarding period of study in an alternative discipline with world-leading scientists
  • Schmidt Science Fellows are encouraged and supported to take an ambitious scientific risk when considering their postdoctoral placement. Their proposed research pivot should represent a genuine and innovative disciplinary departure from their PhD studies, with a clear goal towards gaining new skills in a new area and establishing field-leading interdisciplinary lines of research with potential for high reward and societal impact. 
  • Research placements are not restricted to any group of institutions. Schmidt Science Fellows may choose to complete their Fellowship at a laboratory of their choice, subject to program approval and assurance that the host organization meets the Fellows individual training and research needs. This is a unique opportunity to study in a world-class lab anywhere in the world and candidates are encouraged to consider the unique freedom, flexibility, and global outlook this opportunity provides.
  • Schmidt Science Fellows are expected to become science leaders and should demonstrate a keen interest in harnessing interdisciplinarity and interacting with wider society. Candidates must possess the drive to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems and the personality to lead, inspire, and galvanize cross-disciplinary collaborations to accelerate discovery leading to impactful solutions.

Refer to the Fellows profiles on the Schmidt Science Fellows webpage for insight on past recipients.

Application Procedures

Schmidt Science Fellowships applicants must submit their application materials to their UBC graduate program.  Applicants should check with their UBC graduate program to find out their internal application deadline. 

A complete application will consist of the following:

  • CV, including publications (maximum three pages)
  • A brief description of your PhD research (maximum one page)
  • Personal Statement (maximum one page):
    • Description of your leadership qualities, addressing the following two points: (a) character and leadership (genuine and demonstrable potential for science leadership; displaying perseverance, resilience, a moral compass, and a galvanizing force of personality) and (b) global ambition for social good (desire to use your personal talents and science to make a positive difference in society and the world)
  • Fellowship Research Proposal (maximum two pages), addressing the following points:
    • Description of your proposed postdoctoral research direction, that represents a genuine, ambitious and innovative disciplinary departure from your PhD studies, with a clear goal towards gaining new skills in a new area and establishing field-leading interdisciplinary lines of research with potential for high reward and societal impact.
      • When writing your proposal, please include the following two points: (a) alignment with the Schmidt Science Fellows program (i.e., interest in pursuing 12-24 months of postdoctoral study in a field different from your PhD discipline and a belief that interdisciplinary science and the taking of appropriate scientific risks are important for the advancement of discovery) and (b) collaborative spirit (i.e., demonstrated history of effective collaboration with diverse team members.
  • Options for placement (maximum one page):
    • Three short outlines of potential labs in which you may carry out this research.
      • Note that you do not have to contact the labs or secure a position at this time.
      • The options you present are not final and binding
  • One letter of support (maximum 2 pages).  The letter should be signed and on letterhead (where possible).  The letter should address the evaluation criteria. 
    • The referee should be able to speak convincingly to your future potential, not just your current abilities. 

Successful UBC nominees will be invited by the Schmidt Science Fellows program to submit a full application in June.

Presentation standards of documents: 10 point Arial font, or equivalent.

Nomination Procedures

Each UBC graduate program is invited to submit one nomination to the university-wide competition. Given the highly competitive nature of this opportunity, graduate programs should nominate only an exceptional individual who will stand out amongst top applicants from around the world.

A complete nomination package will consist of the following, submitted as 1 PDF document to the department's Sharepoint folder, by 8 April 2022 at 4:00 pm PT:

  • CV, including publications (maximum three pages)
  • A brief description of PhD research (maximum one page)
  • Personal Statement (maximum one page)
  • Fellowship Research Proposal (maximum two pages)
  • Options for placement (maximum one page)
  • One letter of support (maximum 2 pages)

Details on the documents noted above are outlined in the 'Application Procedures' section of this webpage.

Please save the file name as Schmidt_PROGRAM_LastName_FirstName.pdf (e.g. a nomination file for student Jane Smith from MATH would be called Schmidt_MATH_Smith_Jane.pdf).

Adjudication Procedures

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will convene a committee to review the nominations submitted by departments and will nominate up to 7 students to the international competition.

The Schmidt Science Fellows program expects to announce the global results in March 2023.

Further Information

For further information about the Schmidt Science Fellows, please visit the Schmidt Science Fellows website.  You may find the answer to your question in the website FAQ.

For further information, please contact Natalie Thorson.

 
 

Learn about our faculties, research and more than 300 programs in our 2022 Graduate Viewbook!