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Adventurous Scientist FAQ

by Lorrie LeJeune

June 13, 2017

Adventurous Scientist Fellows program

  1. Who is eligible for the fellowship?
  2. Is this just for MIT students and alumni?
  3. Do I need an undergraduate or postgraduate degree?
  4. Can MIT sponsor a visa for me to come to the US?
  5. How is the fellowship organized and supported financially?
  6. How may the fellowship funds be used and what will be expected if I’m chosen?
  7. Where would fellows do their work during the fellowship period?
  8. My institution won’t let me spend the money in the way I want; what do I do?
  9. I’m a scientist in one field but want to start research in a new field. Does this apply to me?
  10. My colleagues are a high-school biology teacher and a documentary film maker working on a science-related project. May I nominate them?
  11. May I nominate myself?
  12. I just nominated someone. Should I tell them?
  13. If I offer a name or names of other nominators, will they be told who suggested them?
  14. Who will select the fellows?
  15. Will there be awards in subsequent years?
  16. Whom do I contact with questions?
  1. Who is eligible for the fellowship?

    If science as we know it is a collection of disciplines such as chemistry, molecular biology, oceanography, computer science, physics, genetics or neuroscience, to name just a few, new directions in science are created in the spaces between these established disciplines. These interstitial or "white" spaces are the new territories waiting to be explored.

    To be chosen as a fellow an individual must be engaged in original scientific research that falls somewhere in the white space between disciplines. We expect to focus primarily on research in the life, physical, and engineering sciences, but unique, potentially game-changing work in the social sciences may be considered. fellows must be at least 18 years old and they may live and work anywhere in the world. 

  2. Is this just for MIT students and alumni?

    No! It’s worldwide and open to researchers at any stage in their careers. 

  3. Do I need an undergraduate or postgraduate degree?

    No. But you must be at least 18 years of age to be considered.

  4. Can MIT sponsor a visa for me to come to the US?

    MIT cannot sponsor visas for fellows. If you wish to work in the US, you must already be eligible to work or study here.

  5. How is the fellowship organized and supported financially?

    The MIT Media Lab is organizing and managing the selection process as well as administering fellowship activities, networking, and follow-up. The John R. Templeton Foundation provided initial support for the planning and the development of the fellowship. Award funds are being generously provided by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock.

  6. How may the fellowship funds be used and what will be expected if I’m chosen?

    Fellowship funds are intended to be used to support a combination of salary/stipend and supplies and equipment necessary to conduct the fellow’s proposed work. We will ask fellowship finalists to present a brief summary of how they intend to spend the funds over a 12  to  24-month period. We will also ask fellows to update us on their work over the course of the fellowship period.

  7. Where would fellows do their work during the fellowship period?

    Fellows may do their work wherever they wish. Upon selection, they may stay in their current situation, or they will be matched to a laboratory in the US or abroad if their work requires a laboratory setting. 

  8. My institution won’t let me spend the money in the way I want; what do I do?

    The fellowship staff at the Media Lab will help fellows find a suitable institution or laboratory in which to do their work.

  9. I’m a scientist in one field but want to start research in a new field. Does this apply to me?

    The selection committee will be looking at a candidate’s work to date and indications of what exploration is forthcoming. While the selection of a candidate who is starting entirely from scratch is not out of the question, it is less likely than the selection of a candidate with some form of research track record.

  10. May I nominate myself?

    No. You must be nominated by someone other than yourself.

  11. I just nominated someone. Should I tell them?

    No. We would prefer that nominators not tell candidates that they are being nominated.

  12. If I offer a name or names of other nominators, will they be told who suggested them?

    No. All nominators will remain anonymous.

  13. Who will select the fellows?

    Fellows will be chosen by a six-person selection committee headed by MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito. The committee members represent a range of scientific research, different types of organizations, and geographical locations in the US and abroad. Names of selection committee members will not be made public.

  14. Will there be awards in subsequent years?

    This fellowship is an experiment. Continuation of the program beyond the first year is still under consideration at this time.

  15. Whom do I contact with questions?

    Cynthia Greenleaf at cgreenle@media.mit.edu. She is the project director for the fellowship.