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Schmidt Science Fellows Program

Invitation to Nominate Outstanding Doctoral Researchers for the Schmidt Science Fellows Program 2021/2022 of the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation in cooperation with the Rhodes Trust.


A. The Program

The Schmidt Science Fellows Program aims to expand the horizons of the next generation of leaders and innovators in the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics, and computing. The program is administered by Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, and is supported by many of the world’s leading scientific thinkers, industry leaders, and institutions. More than 250 candidates were nominated for the fellowship by selected top universities from all over the world, of which 14 started their fellowship year in April 2018.

For the second year, KIT was invited as one of 75 institutions worldwide to make up to three nominations. 


B. Funding Model

The fellows receive a stipend of US $ 100,000 as part of the program and leadership and innovation training at several leading academic institutions worldwide. The program has a duration of 14 months. 


C. Target Group

The program addresses outstanding doctoral researchers, who combine keen scientific curiosity with the capability of cooperation, a wish to make a major contribution to science and the society by their work, and are ready to focus on a discipline that is different from their existing area of expertise during the funding period. 

The doctorate should be completed between 30 April 2020 and 30 September 2021.

The Schmidt Science Fellows Programs attaches particular attention to the following criteria:

•    Intellectual spark – a 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 effective collaboration with diverse team members. 
•    Use of innovative tools – 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 the doctorate. 


D. Internal Nomination Process at KIT

Scientists of KIT, who supervise doctoral candidates, are requested to propose qualified candidates to the DE Internationales (International Affairs Business Unit) by August 20, 2020.

In addition to your proposals, submit the following documents:

A short CV of the nominee, a list of the most relevant publications, a letter of recommendation of the nominator, and a letter of motivation of the nominee. Both letters should consider the selection criteria given above in an adequate way. Kindly indicate the presumable date of completion of the doctorate. 

Your contact person of the DE Internationales is:

Dr. Petra Roth, phone 44649, email: petra.roth∂kit.edu
Oliver Kaas, phone 45323, email: oliver.kaas∂kit.edu

The proposals submitted will be reviewed by the contact persons of the International Affairs Business Unit and assessed by an internal selection committee, consisting of the Division Heads or representatives appointed by them. The committee will then send up to three nominations to the coordination office of the Schmidt Fellows Program.


E. Further Steps of the Selection Process

The candidates nominated by KIT will be sent an invitation to apply online for the Schmidt Science Fellows Program. The online system will be open from 14 September thru 30 September. The nominees will then have until 30 November to complete their application. Applications will consist of details of the academic history, including transcripts, a curriculum vitae (CV) with relevant publications, and at least five, but no more than seven letters of recommendations, a personal statement, and a proposal for potential postdoctoral research. Personal Interviews will follow in April 2021 immediately followed by the announcement of awardees in this Schmidt Fellows cohort. Global placements will occur from April thru June. Fellowships commence in July or August 2021.