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Advancing the next generation of scientific talent and research

Overview

The next frontiers of scientific discovery will be pioneered by researchers who have the inspiration and ability to transcend the traditional boundaries of science. We need new interdisciplinary thinkers, people with the capacity to cut across multiple fields to tackle the types of challenges that will define the next century — from confronting climate change, to mitigating global epidemics, to delivering clean food and clean water to people everywhere.

This should be a golden age for scientific discovery. Technology — such as optimization techniques and learning — makes possible a level of ambition, scale, and efficiency that were unimaginable 20 years ago.

But traditional funding is increasingly tight, under threat, and cautious. In this environment, it is difficult to broach new subjects, follow new ideas, or use new approaches that have not already been successful. Resources go to an ever-narrowing set of institutions and people. It is hard for smart people from diverse origins to break into new fields. Researchers easily become risk-averse and shy away from trying ideas/solutions from other disciplines or collaborating and sharing credit.

It may well be rational to invest in science with an immediately publishable result, or to fund only those people with track records, or to reward deep specialization. But taken together, such a model carries a heavy cost. Our work, and the work we hope to encourage in others, promotes lateral thinking. We invest risk capital to fund uncertain but potentially rewarding basic research. We work to ensure that we are training researchers to lead the institutions that will take on systemic challenges.

Approach

01

Invest in new platforms that support a new scientific research paradigm based on data science and machine learning

02

Encourage and test truly risky and important new ideas through nascent research projects

03

Grow future leaders in the sciences through broadening, interdisciplinary education, and immersive experiences

Featured Programs

Schmidt Science Fellows

In partnership with the Rhodes Trust, the Schmidt Science Fellows program is working to advance the next generation of leaders in the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics, and computing to tackle the world’s most challenging problems.

Israeli Women’s Postdoctoral Award

The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Postdoctoral Award for Women in Mathematical and Computing Sciences supports promising women who have recently received a doctorate and are pursuing research careers in mathematical & computational sciences or engineering in Israel.

AI-Powered Science Accelerator

Using AI and modern computing, we can now collapse the classic, serial process of the scientific method into a fundamentally parallel process with experimentation happening in continuous loops – and, in so doing, essentially take on $100 million of scientific risks with $10 million of investment.  The AI-Powered Science Accelerator seeks to promote this new way of conducting science through investments in groundbreaking and risky research that leverages the power of advanced computing techniques, and to expand the adoption of similar techniques in other areas through scientific convenings, training programs, and the development of AI-forward science policy.

Data Storage for Research

Most universities are unprepared for the data needs that come with conducting cutting edge research that relies on Big Data. Schmidt Futures has funded a project to provide a data storage alternative: open source and design, inexpensive, high-performance storage units that can be installed outside the campus network and connect to national networks. The National Science Foundation recognized the huge promise of this storage solution, announcing the Open Storage Network with an initial grant of $1.8 million to equip four regional Data Hubs with these units.

  • Schmidt Science Fellows

  • Israeli Women’s Postdoctoral Award

  • AI-Powered Science Accelerator

  • Data Storage for Research