The Schmidt Science Fellows program, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, has announced the appointment of two key members to its leadership team. Dr. Megan Wheeler has been appointed Executive Director, and Matt Goode has been appointed Director of External Affairs & Fellowship Support.
The mission of the Schmidt Science Fellows program is to advance the next generation of leaders in the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics, and computing to tackle the world’s most challenging problems. In their new posts, Dr. Megan Wheeler and Matt Goode will work towards the achievement of this mission, helping the Fellows expand their scientific horizons, grow the skills necessary to become future leaders in science and society, and create a lifelong community of fellowship.
As part of the program, the Schmidt Science Fellows will be placed in novel research environments following the completion of their PhDs and introduced to new fields, technologies, and cutting-edge advances. The Fellows will also participate in a series of global convenings that will focus on developing the relationships and skills needed to position them for success in their careers. Through an initial commitment of at least $25 million for the first three years, this innovative postdoctoral fellowship is the beginning of a broader $100 million effort to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research over the next decade and beyond. The end of April saw the selection of the first class of Schmidt Science Fellows.
Charles Conn, CEO of the Rhodes Trust, remarked: “This is a terrific new program which will drive scientific innovation through having a crucial interdisciplinary focus. The inaugural Fellows who were recently selected are superb and I know they will be well supported by the new leadership team during their Fellowship year. It marks the start of a new lifelong scientific community of change makers, one which will demonstrate significant impact across the globe.”
“The Schmidt Science Fellows program is all about supporting the next generation of scientific leaders and exposing them to an interdisciplinary approach to research that will position them to confront society’s greatest challenges,” said Eric Schmidt, technical advisor to Alphabet Inc. and former Executive Chairman. “This new leadership team embodies that commitment to interdisciplinary thinking and the next frontiers of scientific research, and I am confident that they will guide the program and the Fellows to future success.”
“The first class of Schmidt Science Fellows are a remarkable group of young people, and it is our job to enhance their development and help them realize their tremendous potential,” commented Wendy Schmidt, President of The Schmidt Family Foundation and Co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. “Megan and Matt strongly believe in this vision, and we look forward to working with them.”
Dr Megan Wheeler
Dr. Megan Wheeler has been appointed Executive Director after most recently being CEO of MindMap PLLC and Associate Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. With dual doctoral degrees in Physiology (Cognitive Neuroscience) and Clinical Psychology, Dr. Wheeler’s career has been defined by a commitment to working on problems that know no disciplinary bounds and to directly impacting the lives of others. She received her DPhil in Physiology from Magdalen College at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The Catholic University of America. She has held faculty positions at Dartmouth College, University of Oxford (St. Hilda’s College), and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she is the recipient of the university’s 2018 national Distinguished Teaching Award for excellence in graduate instruction. She has published interdisciplinary research on topics ranging from the neuroscience of mindfulness to neuroscience and the law in top journals including Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Mindfulness (where she is an associate editor), and Scientific American Mind. Her work has also been featured on The Science Channel, the BBC, and in Newsweek. As a clinician, she founded an interdisciplinary clinic at the Washington, DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center that reduced wait-times from referral to diagnosis for Veterans with Alzheimer’s Disease by 85%. She was recently named one of the Washington, DC area’s “40 under 40 emerging leaders” by Leadership Arlington.
Dr. Wheeler said: “I strongly believe that the world’s most pressing challenges respond best to an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. The Schmidt Science Fellows program will identify, support, and sustain the very best emerging scientists from around the globe and provide them with new lenses through which they can view novel solutions to the most complex scientific and technologic challenges we face. I look forward to leading this effort and helping these remarkable early career scientists make a lasting impact on science and society.”
Matt Goode has been appointed as Director of External Affairs & Fellowship Support. His career has focused on research and innovation communications and engagement. He will join the team after having led communications for the launch of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK’s new £6bn a year funding body. A key part of his role has been to develop strategies to strengthen interdisciplinary and challenge-led communications and engagement. Alongside his work on UKRI, Matt has been Director of Communications and Public Engagement at Research Councils UK. In this role, he has been responsible for leading the development and implementation of a collective communications and engagement strategy across the UK’s seven Research Councils, for developing and leading a collective communications and public engagement function for the Research Councils, and for providing professional leadership to dispersed communications and engagement teams. Matt has over 14 years’ experience in the research and innovation sector and has held a number of roles in communications, public engagement and external affairs. He has experience in managing high profile international media stories and has led the communications handling of multiple crisis incidents. Matt is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and holds an MBA from Warwick Business School.