The Schmidt Fellows program at the Broad Institute, funded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, empowered brilliant early-career scientists coming from the mathematical, computational or physical sciences to work at the intersection of biomedical and quantitative science to fearlessly take on some of the most critical challenges of biology's next decade.
The application of quantitative and computational approaches has led to tremendous leaps in the understanding of the molecular machinery of living organisms, as well as an explosion in the availability of analytical tools. Advances in high throughput and platform technologies in biology present an unprecedented challenge in scale, management, and analysis of biological data, while advances in computing are enabling simulations of complex biological processes at multiple levels. The Schmidt Fellows Program sought to bridge the gap between what was once purely experimental or purely computational/statistical, allowing fellows to address new areas of research and bring their unique perspectives to solve important biological problems.
Fellows established independent research programs prior to accepting faculty positions, and developed and/or applied systematic, unbiased and comprehensive strategies – computational or quantitative – to tackle these challenges.
The Schmidt Fellows program provided full support for fellows to establish their own independent research programs. The fellowship provided laboratory space and covered the fellows' salaries and research expenses, as well as funding for small scientific teams. We anticipated that the fellows' research will ultimately become self-sustaining as it matures and attracts further funding from federal grants or other sources.
Fellows were early-career investigators who are neither postdocs nor faculty. Fellows had PI status and full access to the Broad Institute’s technology platforms, were mentored by carefully selected Broad Institute members, and were encouraged to leverage the Broad’s collaborative environment by working with faculty, trainees and staff at both the Broad and our partner institutions (MIT, Harvard, and the Harvard teaching hospitals).
The Office of Academic Affairs provided direct administrative support to the Fellows and ensured that they are equipped with the necessary tools and resources to thrive.
Initial fellowship appointments were for three years, with the possibility of an extension of one to two years. Fellows received Broad appointments and were eligible for full Broad benefits.
In 2017, the institute also welcomed two Broad Fellows, funded through other sources. The Broad Fellows were similar to the Schmidt Fellows in that they established independent research programs prior to accepting faculty positions and worked at the intersection of biomedical and quantitative science to tackle the challenges of biology’s next decade.