The Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, will support postdoctoral scholars in applying AI technology to research in STEM fields. Photo courtesy The University of California San Diego.

The University of California San Diego has been selected to join the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, to accelerate the next scientific revolution by applying AI to science, technology, engineering research, and mathematics.

New methods in advanced computing and AI are increasingly contributing to revolutionary tools in scientific research and discovery. However, the current adoption of AI in scientific and engineering research is slow, unevenly distributed, and inconsistent. Increasing the shared knowledge and application of AI in STEM fields can shift the way that researchers consider questions and solve problems, improving analysis and growing automation, thus broadening the scope and accelerating the speed of research.

The fellowship will seek to change how science is done by accelerating the incorporation of AI techniques into the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematical science, providing access to AI tools and training to the sharpest minds on the frontlines of scientific innovation.

The Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, adds to the organization’s efforts totaling $400 million to support talent that is developing and using AI in innovative ways to make the world better.

The program will initially support approximately 160 postdoctoral fellows across nine universities worldwide each year, to learn and apply AI methods to their research. UC San Diego will select a new cohort of postdoctoral scholar fellows each year for six years.

“UC San Diego is uniquely positioned to leverage its existing foundation of research expertise and multi-disciplinary institutional infrastructure to accelerate the adoption of AI in the STEM fields,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The generous support from Schmidt Futures will allow the campus to contribute even further to an expanded global cohort of scientific leaders trained with a firm grounding in the application of AI in their respective fields, ultimately to benefit humanity.”

UC San Diego is home to cross-disciplinary AI research entities including the UC San Diego Center for Machine Intelligence, Computing, and Security (MICS), Bridge2AI: Cell Maps for AI (CM4AI) Data Generation Project,  TILOS AI Institute,  MRSEC Materials Engineering Center and EnCORE TRIPOD program, as well as campus academic units that work with AI technology including the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI) and Qualcomm Institute. Furthermore, UC San Diego’s academic departments have a long history in education and instruction for undergraduate and graduate students in quantitative methods, computing, information, and data science.

With support from Schmidt Futures, UC San Diego will be able to provide additional advanced AI training, funded research support, and professional development opportunities – both to shape research across the UC San Diego campus and to help build a global network of AI-trained scientists.

“Scientific innovation today is too often defined by new use cases for existing technologies or refining previous advancements, rather than the creation of entirely new fields of discovery,” said Erich Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures. “This is why we need to accelerate the next global scientific revolution – by supporting broad and deep incorporation of AI techniques into scientific and engineering research.”

“AI is already revolutionary – but it is not yet as accessible, equitable or interdisciplinary as it needs to be,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation. “By supporting postdoctoral candidates around the world in fields beyond computer science, we hope to create a community that can develop and improve this technology and finds novel ways to apply it in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

In its inaugural year, the global initiative is supporting universities across the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Singapore, with plans to expand to additional countries in the future. Schmidt Futures proudly introduces the inaugural cohort of universities:

●               The University of Toronto
●               Nanyang Technological University
●               National University of Singapore
●               University of Oxford
●               Imperial College London
●               Cornell University (U.S.)
●               University of California San Diego
●               University of Chicago
●               University of Michigan

“The Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, will create an immediate acceleration of AI applications across several disciplines,” said Stuart Feldman, chief scientist of Schmidt Futures. “The fellowship will provide these postdoctoral fellows with the advanced tools to increase the scope and speed of their research while discovering new and innovative use cases for AI within their field and create an ecosystem of scientific networks that will support them and their work.


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Ellen Bullock