Schmidt Futures: UCSD Joins $148M Initiative Boosting Artificial Intelligence

The Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, will support postdocs in the application of AI technology to research in STEM subjects. Photo courtesy of University of California San Diego.

UC San Diego was selected to join the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Schmidt Futures program to accelerate the “next scientific revolution” through the application of artificial intelligence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

New methods in advanced computing and AI are increasingly contributing to revolutionary tools in scientific research and discovery.

However, the current adoption of AI in scientific and technical research is slow, uneven and inconsistent. Improving shared knowledge and the application of AI in STEM fields can transform the way researchers look at questions and solve problems, improving analysis and increasing automation, expanding the scope and accelerating the speed of research.

The grant will seek to transform the way science is done by accelerating the incorporation of AI techniques into science, engineering and mathematics, and giving the brightest minds at the forefront of scientific innovation access to AI tools and offers training.

The Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Schmidt Futures program, adds a total of $400 million to the organization’s efforts to support talent who are developing and using AI in innovative ways to make the world a better place.

The program will initially support around 160 postdocs at nine universities worldwide in learning AI methods and applying them in their research. UC San Diego will select a new cohort of postdocs each year for six years.

“UC San Diego is uniquely positioned to leverage its existing foundation of research expertise and multidisciplinary institutional infrastructure to accelerate the adoption of AI in the STEM fields,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

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“Schmidt Futures’ generous support will allow the campus to contribute even further to an expanded global cohort of science leaders trained with deep knowledge in the application of AI in their respective fields to ultimately benefit humanity.”

UC San Diego is home to interdisciplinary AI research units including the UC San Diego Center for Machine Intelligence, Computing, and Security (MICS), Bridge2AI: Cell Maps for AI (CM4AI) Data Generation Project, TILOS AI Institute, MRSEC Materials Engineering Center, and the EnCORE TRIPOD program; and on-campus academic units working with AI technology, including the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI) and the Qualcomm Institute.

In addition, UC San Diego’s academic departments have a strong history of educating and instructing undergraduate and graduate students in quantitative methods, computer science, information and data science.

With the support of Schmidt Futures, UC San Diego will be able to provide additional advanced AI training, funded research support, and professional development opportunities—both to shape research across UC San Diego’s campus and to help build a global one network of AI-trained scientists.

“Scientific innovation today is too often defined by new use cases for existing technologies or the refinement of previous advances, rather than creating entirely new fields of discovery,” said Erich Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures. “Therefore, we must accelerate the next global scientific revolution – by supporting the broad and deep incorporation of AI techniques into scientific and technical research.”

“AI is already revolutionary — but not yet as accessible, equitable, or interdisciplinary as it needs to be,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of the Schmidt Family Foundation. “By supporting postdocs around the world in fields outside of computer science, we hope to create a community that can develop and improve this technology and find new ways to apply it in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

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In its inaugural year, the global initiative is supporting universities in the US, Canada, the UK and Singapore, and plans to expand to more countries in the future. Schmidt Futures proudly introduces the first cohort of universities:

  • The University of Toronto
  • Nanyang Technical University
  • National University of Singapore
  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
  • Cornell University (USA)
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • And the University of Michigan

“The Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Schmidt Futures program, will create an immediate acceleration of AI applications across multiple disciplines,” said Stuart Feldman, Principal Investigator at Schmidt Futures.

“The grant will provide these postdocs with the advanced tools to increase the scope and speed of their research while discovering new and innovative use cases for AI in their field and creating an ecosystem of scholarly networks that empower them and their work will support.