Call for proposals
Eric and Wendy Schmidt
postdoctoral fellowship at the University of toronto

1 — overview
$85,000 CDN/year, plus benefits 1
January 2023
2 Years 2
application deadline
Monday, November 21, 2022 (5PM EST)
adjudication meeting
Week of November 28th
Week of December 5th

1. Modest additional funding for conference travel and research training activities will also be made available to Fellows during their tenure in the program.

2. There is a possibility for a 3rd year global research exchange, industry internship, and/or teaching-focused postdoctoral experience, pending the availability of funding from the host supervisor(s), Mitacs, and/or an alternate source of funding.

2 — Program

The University of Toronto’s Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, brings together the brightest minds who have completed a PhD in the natural sciences or engineering and aim to pursue a research project that includes the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to their domain. The program funds cutting edge applications of AI in the natural sciences and engineering and creates a community of interdisciplinary leaders.  Applicants must demonstrate clear expertise and promise within their field of study. Experience with AI is not a requirement, but applicants must have a desire to learn new AI methodologies that stand to accelerate discoveries in their domain. These Fellowships will fund research and provide training in AI and related computational skills to support new directions in the application of AI.

3 — eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Demonstrate academic excellence and high potential for success in their chosen fields.
  • Have completed all requirements for their doctoral degree no earlier than January 1, 2020*. (Updated, Nov. 1) If within two years following the date of completion of your PhD, you had your career significantly interrupted due to parental, medical and/or family-related responsibilities, or due to research related slowdowns or shutdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the eligibility period will be extended to Jan 2019. If this applies, applicants should add a section at the end of their CV describing special circumstances and career interruptions.
  • Note: International candidates need to have completed their PhD prior to their start date, while Canadian citizens and permanent residents are required to have completed their PhD within 6 months of their start date.
  • Not hold another Postdoctoral Fellowship in conjunction with the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship. Applicants holding a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the time of award will be required to resign from their position before taking up the award.
  • Hold a degree in a natural sciences or engineering (NSE) discipline.
  • Be associated with at least one primary supervisor who has a status or budgetary appointment at the University of Toronto.  If the primary supervisor does not have expertise in AI, a co-supervisor with expertise in AI is required.
  • Begin the Fellowship no later than March 1, 2023 (ideally in January 2023).

Supervisors must: 

4 — Application Requirements
  • Applications must be submitted to the Schmidt Futures Program Manager at 
  • Email subject line (for both applicant and supervisor): APPLICANT NAME: SCHMIDT FELLOWS PDF APPLICATION
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
5 — Required Application Components
  1. Postdoctoral Applicant Components (please submit as one PDF file):

    Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship Application Form (instructions for below narrative sections within form)

    b. Research Proposal (3 pages maximum)

    c. Training Plan (1 page maximum)

    d. References (1 page maximum)

    e. Applicant’s CV

    f. Applicants are also required to complete and submit the Applicant Demographic Survey as part of their application.  All survey answers will remain confidential and will not be used as part of the evaluation of your application or any other future application.

  1. Supervisor Application Components: Proposed primary supervisor(s) must hold an appointment at the University of Toronto and be eligible Principal Investigators, according to the University of Toronto PI eligibility criteria.

    a. Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship Supervisor’s Assessment Form (submitted by the supervisor)

    b. One confidential letter of reference outlining, the applicant's research excellence, the merit of the proposed research, and the suitability of the proposed research environment.

Note: The primary supervisor is required to collect this letter on behalf of the applicant and submit it with their completed supervisor form.

6 — Evaluation and Selection Process

The Selection Committee, which will meet each competition year to evaluate and recommend top candidates, will reflect the broad diversity of individuals and disciplines within the NSE disciplines and will include experts from across the University of Toronto. The Chair of the Selection Committee will play the role of Equity Officer. Members of the Selection Committee are expected to reinforce standards of rigor, fairness, respect and equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the adjudication process. The VPRI Best Practices in Peer Review Guide shall serve as a resource for members of the Selection Committee.

The single criteria for the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship is demonstrated academic excellence and high potential for success in the chosen field. The multidisciplinary selection committee members assess this through their evaluation of each applicant’s:

  1. Application form
  2. Research Proposal
  3. Training Plan
  4. CV
  5. The postdoctoral fellowship supervisor’s statement, and
  6. one letter of reference
7 — important information
  • Please consult the information regarding postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Toronto on the website of the School of Graduate Studies.
  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents must have completed their PhD requirements no later than six months after their start-date of an Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship.
  • International applicants must have completed their PhD requirements before the start date. In each instance, proof of PhD completion must be provided within three months of completion if the applicant did not have it in hand at the time of application. Degree completion does not mean convocation, but rather the completion of all the requirements necessary for the PhD.
  • Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellows may not concurrently hold another postdoctoral fellowship.
  • Employment as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto is covered by the terms of the CUPE Unit 5 Collective Agreement. The normal hours of work are 40 hours per week for a full-time postdoctoral fellow (pro-rated for those holding a partial appointment) recognizing that the needs of the employee’s research and training and the needs of the supervisor’s research program may require flexibility in the performance of the employee’s duties and hours of work.
  • Requests for award interruptions for reasons that are not outlined within Article 11 (Leaves) of the CUPE Unit 5 Collective Agreement will not normally be considered.  
  • The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

At the University of Toronto, we strive to be an equitable and inclusive community, rich with diversity, protecting the human rights of all persons, and based upon understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of every person. We seek to ensure to the greatest extent possible that all students and employees enjoy the opportunity to participate as they see fit in the full range of activities that the University offers, and to achieve their full potential as members of the University community.