2022 New Science One-Year Fellowship

The first cohort starts in September 2022 and the first round of applications closed on May 1, 2022. You can submit a late application here. However, we won’t be able to guarantee the dates of reviewing it.


About New Science: New Science is a nonprofit with the goal of building 21st century institutions of basic science. For us, this fellowship is an early step on the mission towards a complete overhaul of the institutions of science and a future in which scientists have the freedom and resources to fully realize their ideas, no matter where they are in their careers. You can read more about our vision here or in a recent profile of us in The Atlantic.

Overview

Starting September 2022, New Science will run a fellowship with a single goal: to provide maximal leverage to talented young scientists who are working on ambitious ideas in the basic life sciences. For this, New Science will provide fellows with the resources and autonomy to independently direct their research, which they would not otherwise be able to do until much later in their careers.

We will be providing every fellow with the following 12-month core package:

  1. Biology benches with access to a chemistry bench and a machine shop in a newly-built and highly-equipped shared lab space at The Engine in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a 5-minute walk to MIT (see here for the full list of available amenities fellows will have access to), plus a desk in the shared office space.
  2. $100,000 in project costs (for wet lab experiments and/or computational credits).
  3. A stipend of $80,000 and full healthcare coverage (+additional stipend for fellows with dependents).
  4. Access to our network of scientists in and outside of Boston.

In addition to the core package, we will offer customized support that leverages the unique talents of each individual fellow. We will work with every fellow to scope their project and determine the resources that would maximize their chance of success. For example:

  1. Perhaps you have found your ideal “scientific co-founder” with whom your research is greatly accelerated, but who can’t continue as your partner for various structural or organizational reasons. Instead of destroying the magic, we will simply get you both into the program.
  2. Conversely, perhaps your project has great potential but can’t realize it without a team of other capable scientists or technicians helping to execute it. Instead of making you wait to start building a team as a full-fledged PI, we’ll help you find a co-fellow or lab tech to join and support you in building out your lab.
  3. Perhaps your project would benefit from outsourcing or automation. In that case, we’ll investigate how to provide you with services like Science Exchange, Emerald Cloud Labs, and other CROs.

What kinds of ideas and projects are we looking for?

We’re especially excited about work that answers fundamental questions, upturns existing paradigms, and explores new frontiers. We will consider hypothesis-driven research as well as early-stage technology development and tool building, when motivated by specific applications to basic science. Both wet lab and dry lab projects are welcomed. We are very interested in supporting high-risk and pre-paradigmatic projects that wouldn’t be funded elsewhere, provided that you’ve clearly identified a knowledge gap and early “go” / “no-go” checks of the project’s foundations.

Preliminary analyses of existing data that indicate a project’s feasibility and impact can strengthen the application, but it is not required.

We understand that many of the most ambitious projects—in science and elsewhere—end up failing or requiring a hard pivot. In this case, we’ll continue to support you in your projects and expect this could be the origin of some of the most interesting work.

Who would be a good fit for the program?

We expect successful applicants will tend to have substantial research experience, but that they may come from a variety of settings. We do not require any formal credentials or other qualifications.

We think that the program would be a good fit:

  1. For current or recent graduate students who want to build an independent line of research.
  2. For recent undergraduates, as a way to start developing their own research program rather than pursuing more formal academic training or as a stepping stone towards a PhD program.
  3. For young scientists outside of traditional academic paths who have enough experience to lead an independent project that will meaningfully push the frontier of human knowledge.

Resources and support

Fellows working on a wet lab project will be given a dedicated bench with access to all basic lab equipment (see here for the list of amenities available to fellows). For access to specialized equipment and setups, we’ll leverage The Engine’s facilities, the institutes affiliated with it, and our network of scientists in Boston.

For scientific advising, support (both in-person and remote), and programming (invited lectures, seminars), we will tap into our network of professors and postdocs at top universities, brilliant scientists working in biotech, our technical staff, independent scientists, and technical experts. Our goal is to connect every fellow to at least 3-4 scientists who will be able to advise and help them with their project, as well as to encourage fellows to reach out to those of the thousands of incredibly bright graduate students, postdocs, PIs, and industry scientists we don’t already know and who will be just an email and a short walk away from us.

To name just a few people in our network: Ed Boyden, a neuroscientist and the co-director of the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering; Sasha Targ, a computational immunologist with a PhD from UCSF, leads research at New Science; Avantika Lal, a computational biologist with a PhD from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, works on genomics at insitro; Ryan Flynn, a molecular biologist who runs a lab studying RNA biology and glycobiology at Harvard and at Boston Children’s Hospital; Konrad Kording, a neuroscientist at University of Pennsylvania, a cofounder of Neuromatch, and an advisor to New Science.

Program structure

The first fellows will start in September 2022 but we expect to be able to accommodate later starting dates (Oct/Nov/Dec 2022) as well. We expect 5-10 fellows to join over the fall.

To ensure that all resources and equipment are in place on day 1, we will coordinate with fellows 2-3 months before the fellowship begins and encourage them to solidify the first steps they will take. If there are experiments that can be outsourced before the program even begins, we will encourage them to do so.

The program itself will consist of fellows living in Boston and working on their projects in the lab and office spaces we provide. Those spaces will reside at The Engine, where we have a number of contiguous desks and benches.

We are planning to run regular short workshops and we expect fellows to have rich interactions with each other on a daily basis, by the virtue of working right next to each other. We hope these interactions will form the basis of life-long friendships and collaborations.

Publication and intellectual property

We expect fellows to publish their progress in two formats: regular technical reports throughout the fellowship and a final writeup at the end of it.

In August/September 2023 we will host a Demo Day for fellows to talk about the work that they’ve done over the year, their successes and failures, and future plans, etc. to an audience of scientists, industry professionals, funding agencies, and policy-makers.

We will neither require nor prevent fellows from publishing their results as preprints, papers, or any other media.

New Science is a 501c3 non-profit supported solely by donations and all intellectual property generated by fellows will belong to them, although we should note that we are focused on basic science and IP generation is not the goal of the program.

What’s after the fellowship?

We view the fellowship as a significant early investment in young scientists and plan to double down on promising research programs. Following the fellowship, we may continue supporting fellows and their projects further by either directly funding them at New Science or by connecting them to a lab or organization that shares their vision.

New Science’s goal is to build the institutions of science for the 21st century, Thus, while this is not a requirement for applying, we will be especially excited to help scientists fund and build out their independent research programs that they might pursue with the new emerging ecosystem of science where ideas do not live or die depending on whether the NIH likes them. In that case, our fellowship would be the first step towards building an independent research program supported by New Science long-term.

Apply

The first round of applications closed on May 1, 2022. You can submit a late application, however, we won’t be able to guarantee the dates of reviewing it.

The application process is designed to be as low-friction as possible and consists of:

  1. Initial submission (requiring a 200-300 word abstract and a recent CV).
  2. Full proposal submission (2-4 page writeup of the proposed one-year project scope).
  3. A 30-45 minute interview with our team.

We will get back to you and invite you to submit the full proposal by May 3rd. We’ll ask you to submit the full proposal by May 10th. We’ll reach out to schedule an interview by May 17th, and we’ll give you the decision by June 6th. Please let us know if you need a faster decision and we’ll see what we can do.

If your circumstances require a quicker decision, please note this in the initial submission and we will aim to make the decision within that timeframe.

Applications from teams are welcome.

We are able to sponsor visas for international applicants.

If you personally refer someone who ends up becoming a fellow, we’ll fly you out to Cambridge for the Demo Day in August/September 2023.

We also invite applications from those who’d like to join or support fellows’ projects, either as a laboratory technician, as a co-fellow, or in some other capacity.

Contact

For inquiries about:

Please email Alexey at alexey@newscience.org.

FAQ

1. What equipment will be available to fellows at The Engine?

Here’s the list of lab amenities that will available to fellows on the floor where we will have benches:

The Engine also has access to facilities at The Koch Institute, Harvard CNS, The Kostas Center, and several other centers. For a full list, see here.

2. I’m interested but I don't have a specific project, can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply. In that case, instead of the proposal abstract, submit the most challenging scientific project you’ve worked on in the past. We’ll reach out to you if it seems like it could be a good fit and we’ll spend a few months helping you to develop a proposal.

3. Will I get feedback on my proposal?

Yes, if you submit the full proposal, we will give you written feedback on it and, depending on the number of submissions, we might be able to have a call with you and go into detail about it.

4. I'm interested in joining someone’s project but I don’t have a background in biology, can I still apply?

Feel free to email alexey@newscience.org about your case.

5. I don’t currently live in Boston - will you help facilitate housing, moving, etc.?

Yes, we will help fellows with moving and with finding housing.