Stanford will host a global meeting of the 2018-2019 Schmidt Science Fellows – the inaugural cohort of a postdoctoral scholars program – early next year.

The new program is aimed at expanding the horizons of the next generation of leaders and innovators in the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics and computing.

It will be the third global meeting convened by Schmidt Science Fellows, a one-year program that announced its inaugural cohort of 14 fellows in April 2018. The first cohort includes two postdocs who have joined research groups at Stanford:

  • Peyton Greenside, who is working in the research group of Emma Bunskill, an assistant professor of computer science, is focusing on computational methods to optimize synthetic DNA sequences. Greenside earned a PhD in biomedical informatics at Stanford in 2018.
  • Xiwen Gong, who is working in the research group of Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering, is focusing on developing organic semiconductors, with potential applications such as LEDs and artificial skin. Gong earned a PhD in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Toronto in 2018.

Under the program’s Global Meeting Series, the fellows engage with new concepts, visit leading science facilities and meet with internationally renowned thought leaders from science, business, policy and society. Each meeting has a specific theme designed to expand the scope of experience and skill sets of the fellows, and to augment their research.

Earlier this year, the program convened a global meeting in Oxford, England, where the fellows discussed science and leadership, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they discussed the interface between science and the public sector.

“We are honored that Stanford is part of this pioneering program and we look forward to hosting the fellows at Stanford,” said Patricia J. Gumport, vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, and a professor of education at Stanford.

At the next global meeting, which will take place in late February in the San Francisco Bay Area, the fellows will explore the interface between academic research and the commercial sector. Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will host two days of the Bay Area meeting. The Schmidt Science Fellows will also spend time at other regional institutions and sites.

Professor John Boothroyd

Professor John Boothroyd was chosen as faculty director of the Stanford-based convening of the Schmidt Science Fellows. (Image credit: John Boothroyd)

Professor John Boothroyd, the Burt and Marion Avery Professor of Immunology at Stanford School of Medicine, has been chosen as faculty director of the Stanford-based convening. Gumport said Boothroyd has extensive experience working with postdoctoral scholars.

“John has an in-depth understanding of the needs of postdocs and the unique resources available at Stanford that will benefit them greatly at this critical stage of their intellectual and professional development,” she said.

Boothroyd, who is also associate vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, said the fellows will continue learning how to excel at interdisciplinary work during their stay at Stanford.

“They will also continue to develop their leadership skills and learn how to move findings from academic research into the commercial sector – an area of particular strength at Stanford,” he said. “I am extremely excited to work with this extraordinarily talented group of postdocs, to share my own experience moving people and ideas effectively between industry and academia.”

Megan Wheeler, executive director of Schmidt Science Fellows, said the program was thrilled to be visiting Stanford as part of its Global Meeting Series.

“I know that our fellows will benefit from interacting with the world-leading experts and cutting-edge science there,” Wheeler said. “I am delighted that John Boothroyd has agreed to take on this important role of faculty director for the Stanford program and I look forward to co-creating the program with him.”

The Schmidt Science Fellows program is part of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. The program was established in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, which awards the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships.

For its second year, the Schmidt Science Fellows program invited nominations and applications from a select group of leading science and engineering universities around the world. Each of the institutions, including Stanford, was invited to nominate a small number of students.

At Stanford, the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education coordinates the selection of nominations, which are forwarded by individual schools and then reviewed by a committee of School representatives. Only a handful of nominees is submitted to the Schmidt Science Fellows program, which evaluates the nominations and invites a select number of students to apply. The program will announce its second cohort in spring 2019.

For more information about Stanford’s nomination process,  faculty members are encouraged to seek information from the dean of their school.