Skip to main content

Cornell University

Science Postdoc Opening (2023)

The application process for the 2023 postdoc cohort is closed. New posts will be made for openings in future cohorts each year.

CUAISci is seeking applications for ten postdocs in a scientific domain whose primary discipline and mentor is in STEM but not in computer science, operations research, or mathematics.

This is the same opportunity as the Cornell postdoc job listing.

Program Description

Cornell University hosts the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures. This program supports collaborative research projects using AI to accelerate scientific discovery. Postdocs will engage in a variety of research, training, and learning opportunities to advance broad and deep adoption of AI tools across multiple scientific domains. Postdocs will become part of a global network of AI-trained researchers and be at the forefront of AI-led scientific innovation. The Cornell program will span 6 years, with the first cohort of ten postdocs in different scientific domains for the 2022–2023 academic year already selected. Cornell will then host 20 postdocs a year, for the next five years.

Research Themes

The initial research themes identified for the fellowship program at CUAISci include, but are not limited to, the following:

AI for Materials Discovery

New materials have the potential to spark innovation and transform engineering progress. AI has the ability to accelerate materials discovery through AI-guided robotic scientific experimentation, interpretation of highly complex experimental data, and molecular design and synthesis, among others.

AI for Physics

AI has the ability to lead the big data revolution in areas such as quantum matter and astronomy, leading to potential increases in data resolution and a better understanding of such complex data.

AI for the Biological Sciences

The biological sciences provide a wealth of opportunities for transdisciplinary AI research. Such areas ripe for investigation include disentangling complex genomic data sets, diagnosing human disease, predicting pest outbreaks, deep brain imaging, and multi-scale production modeling.

AI for the Sustainability Sciences

AI provides new data analysis and interpretation techniques to help us protect our planet and increase the efficiency of resource use. Applications include but are not limited to, designing biodiversity responses to climate change, optimizing clean energy projects, and modeling ecosystem services.

For potential mentors, please see the list of CUAISci-affiliated faculty and researchers, as well as Cornell webpages of other faculty and researchers in science and engineering domains.

Application Process

  1. Postdoctoral applicants must identify a primary Cornell faculty mentor in their scientific domain. Suggested mentors can be found via the website, but are not limited to those listed.
  2. Applicants, in conjunction with the Cornell science faculty mentor, will draft a proposal that includes a clear description of the topic, the AI component, and an AI mentorship plan.
  3. Applications will be evaluated on (i) intellectual merit and scientific excellence, (ii) AI for science potential, (iii) cross disciplinary connections, (iv) broader societal impact, and (v) diversity, equity, and inclusion experiences and vision.
  4. Applications will be evaluated by a review panel.
  5. A short list of applicants will be interviewed via Zoom.
  6. Application review will begin on April 15, 2023. Reviews will continue until all spots are filled.
  7. The intended start date is September 1, 2023.


Postdocs are expected to engage with cross-disciplinary teams to learn AI and foster deep integration of AI concepts and techniques to their scientific area. The postdoc is expected to serve as the bridge between domain scientists and AI experts, with the ability to show other domain scientists the power of AI to improve and expand studies in their field.

Selected postdocs are expected to fully participate in all program activities and be an active member of their Cornell cohort, as well as their counterpart cohorts at other program sites around the world. This will involve participating in seminars and workshops, auditing courses, publishing in high-impact scientific journals, and attending conferences. Attendance at the annual Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures conference is required.

Postdoc research projects are not intended to be seed grants for new projects. We aim to support postdoc research for projects that already have preliminary results, or that are part of a long-term science program. Further, this program is meant to produce use-inspired basic and applied research with a strong AI component, driven by real-world scientific applications.

Science faculty mentors are expected to sufficiently engage with their postdoc mentee, providing training and learning opportunities, as well as career guidance. Mentors must develop an Individual Development Plan with their selected fellow, and update the plan as needed.


Cornell University is seeking applications for our second cohort of the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures. We are looking for 10 postdocs who have a track-record of excellence in research and an interest in furthering their AI skills. Postdocs will engage in science research projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor in the relevant scientific field and department.

Requirements and Qualifications

A major goal of this program is for postdocs to learn how to use AI to solve problems in their scientific domains. Successful candidates must exhibit excellence in their scientific domain, and show evidence of strong quantitative skills. While we do not expect a candidate to possess a deep understanding of AI, proficiency in AI will be considered in the selection process. Applicants must hold a PhD prior to their start date.

Applicants must have a science mentor and intended department for appointment. Science mentors must be faculty members in a relevant field and department, for example in the College of Engineering, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, or the College of Arts and Sciences. The primary discipline and department of both the postdoc and mentor must not be in computer science, operations research, or mathematics.

Support and Benefits

Selected postdocs will be appointed as endowed employees at Cornell University in a department identified according to the criteria above. Starting salary is $74,160 plus endowed employee benefits. Each postdoc will receive a $15,000 research allowance via funds from their appointing college, department or science mentor.

Application Materials

Please submit applications by the due date to Laura Schad. Applications should be submitted as a single pdf and named as ApplicantLastName_ApplicantFirstName-Science.pdf. Applications should contain the following:

  • Applicant’s CV
  • Applicant’s transcript showing proof of PhD; or intended completion date, which must be confirmed in a separately submitted letter from the current PhD advisor (can be in a reference letter)
  • Research proposal
    • Maximum 3 pages (excluding citations), 11-point font, 1-inch margins, single spaced
    • Will be reviewed according to the evaluation criteria listed in the Application Process section
  • Name of the selected Cornell domain science mentor, who will separately submit a letter of support that includes a statement on the funding source for the annual postdoc research allowance
  • Names of two additional references, who will submit reference letters separately

The science mentor, additional references, and (if applicable) current PhD advisor must also provide their letters directly to Laura Schad by the due date. These are submitted separately to maintain confidentiality.