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The Schmidt Science Fellows scheme is now open for nominations to the 2024 cohort. Oxford is limited to eight nominations. The scheme is extremely competitive with a significantly low success rate – we are therefore asking departments to submit maximum one candidate to the internal selection process.

When selecting candidates it is worth noting feedback that highlighted verbal communication and presentation skills as very important – previous Oxford candidates have done well in the early written stages, but less well at interview.

Scheme information

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.

Nominations are welcome from the most outstanding, intellectually first-rate DPhil students in the natural sciences (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences), Engineering, Mathematics, or Computing who will complete their DPhil between 15 May 2023 and 30 June 2024. Successful Fellows are expected to combine scientific curiosity with extraordinary academic achievement. They should have demonstrated a collaborative spirit and have the ambition to make a lasting impact in science and in society, conducting research and pursuing knowledge that will benefit the world.

Fellows are supported to pursue a postdoctoral placement at a world-leading laboratory anywhere in the world that represents a significant disciplinary pivot from their DPhil. The proposed disciplinary pivot should represent 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.

Details of the scheme are available in the Schmidt website.

Support available

As part of the program, each Fellow receives a stipend of $100,000 per year to support their personal and living costs for the duration of the placement, and have access to a mentor. Placements can be for up to 24 months.

Fellows also spend five weeks during their fellowship year at four residential meetings around the globe. In these meetings the fellows are introduced to new research ideas, techniques and questions and are exposed to a wide-range of leading thinkers and institutions.


In order to be eligible for nomination to the Schmidt Science Fellows application process, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • 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. Please note that Medical sciences is not an eligible research area for this call.
  • Have completed, or expect to complete, all of the requirements for the conferral of their DPhil in one of these fields between 15 May 2023 and 30 June 2024.

  • Be available for the entire period of the 2024 program, from April 2024 to November 2025 including onboarding activities, attendance of the Global Meeting Series and a Senior Fellows event.

*Please note that this criteria only relates to the candidate's research area, not their department or DPhil programme. Candidates based in the Medical Sciences Division (MSD) are eligible to apply to the call if they conduct research in the eligible research areas.

Selection Criteria

Schmidt Science Fellows are expected to be future science leaders and should demonstrate a keen interest in harnessing interdisciplinarity, and interaction with wider society, to galvanize collaboration, and lead and inspire teams to accelerate discovery.

Applications for the Schmidt Science Fellows program and internal selection process will be assessed against the following criteria:

1. Intellect

  • Extraordinary Achievement - Clear record of academic achievement of the highest quality in the sciences and an extraordinary degree of intelligence.
  • Scientific Curiosity - High degree of intellectual curiosity combined with energy and creativity; a record of continuous innovation and/or use of new technologies.

2. Programmatic fit

  • Alignment with the Program - Interest in pursuing 12-24 months of postdoctoral study in a field different from the applicant’s DPhil discipline and a belief that interdisciplinary science and the taking of appropriate scientific risks are important for the advancement of discovery.
  • Collaborative Spirit - History of effective collaboration with diverse team members.

    3. Leadership

    • Global Ambition for Social Good - Desire to use one’s personal talents and science to make a positive difference in society and the world.
    • Character and Leadership - Genuine and demonstrable potential for science leadership; displaying perseverance, resilience, a moral compass, and a galvanizing force of personality.

    internal selection process (deadline: 12 noon, 10 May)

    Oxford is limited to eight nominations, so an internal selection process is being run. Departments are limited to one (1) candidate.

    Candidates selected by departments should email the following material as a single PDF file to by 12 noon, Wednesday 10 May*:

    • CV (two sides of A4 maximum)
    • Research proposal stating (1) why you wish to apply to the Schmidt Fellowship; (2) what is the disciplinary pivot from your DPhil work; and (3) what you wish to achieve with a Schmidt Fellowship, including new skills you would intend to gain (one side of A4 maximum)
    • Statement from DPhil supervisor (two sides of A4 maximum)
    • Confirmation (via letter or email to of the candidate's "good standing" from their departmental Director of Graduate Studies. "Good standing" is defined by this call as to mean a candidate has no past or current sanctions on their record and is not subject to any current disciplinary investigations (relating to either their academic performance or conduct) which may bring the program into disrepute.

    Internal candidates do not have outline potential labs they would like to conduct the Schmidt placement at for the internal application, however, if selected as one of Oxford's candidates it will be part of the full application submitted to Schmidt.

    Decisions will then be made by a multi-departmental panel, and shortlisting outcomes are expected to be communicated to candidates by 19 May.

    *Interested applicants should note that their department may set an earlier deadline to select their candidate for the internal process. Please contact your departmental research facilitator/graduate studies coordinator/grants team to check.


    Enquiries should be directed to