The MIT Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Engineering Excellence

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Established in 2021, the MIT School of Engineering Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Engineering Excellence seeks to discover and develop the next generation of leaders to help guide the school toward a more diverse and inclusive culture..

This program is designed to help postdoctoral fellows develop in multiple dimensions. In addition to an emphasis on research, it will focus on providing resources and opportunities, and building a professional network for the fellows. The program will arrange a set of professional development opportunities as presentations and discussions for the cohort along three career paths:

  1. Academic – coordinated with the school’s departments and an overall faculty lead. This will include strategic workshops or sessions including choosing research projects, grant writing and networking, building your mentoring community, academic job searches, crafting a job application package (with rounds of feedback), navigating bias in the job search, and strategies for addressing career bias, among others.

  2. Engineering Leadership – supported by the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, postdocs will engage in learning experiences along 4 pillars: Organizational, Teamwork, Interpersonal and Personal. These sessions will include content around creating a shared vision; forming, launching and developing teams; enabling inclusion; and ethical decision-making among other topics. 

  3. Entrepreneurship – supported by The Engine, postdocs will participate in a set of discussions with company founders, venture capitalists, and other entrepreneurship leaders and thinkers to gain an understanding of what it takes to scale an idea from the lab to a commercial enterprise. Specific subjects will include idea protection and translation, market risks, technical risks, team risks, and strategies for fundraising. Particular emphasis will be placed on overcoming hurdles as a URM-innovator in the startup space.  Interested and eager postdocs will be able to further engage in the myriad start-up accelerator programs and resources embedded across MIT (e.g., DeltaV, Blueprint, Desphande Center, Venture Mentoring Services, and many more).

Pursuing this postdoctoral position is an opportunity to deepen training, develop research independence, and pivot research direction. It also provides trainees time to explore career options and serves as a stepping stone for the next phase of their career. In the application process, we encourage applicants to come prepared with ideas for projects they wish to accomplish during their tenure in the program. Additionally, they identify leading researchers who can help them develop and pursue their research interests.

Finding a postdoctoral research advisor

The School of Engineering has over 350 faculty members who can serve as a postdoctoral research advisor. A postdoc’s advisor is a key member of their research and mentoring team. Take a moment to explore the departmental faculty pages below. In the fellowship application, we ask applicants to name faculty members of interest within the School of Engineering who align with their research direction. For those interested in working with MIT faculty outside the School of Engineering, applicants should consider School of Engineering faculty who can serve as a co-advisor. The program will also help match fellows with appropriate advisors.

Funding

The program expects to select 12-15 School of Engineering Distinguished Doctoral Fellows per cohort. These fellows receive funding for two years, including a $75,000 stipend and $10,000 per year discretionary expense allowance. This allowance can be used to purchase health insurance and cover relocation costs among other items. 

Eligibility

The program is open to individuals who:

1. are a member of an ethnic group, racial group or gender identity historically underrepresented in engineering at MIT (Black/African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Native Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx, women); OR
2. have experienced overcoming significant challenges in their path toward graduate school OR
3. be a member of an underserved population;

AND

4. are graduate students who are within a year of finishing their PhD; OR
5. are recent PhD recipients within one year of graduation; or
6. are scholars in industry within one year of earning their PhD who wish to pivot to an academic career.

Other postdoctoral fellowship opportunities

If your research interests lie in computer science and artificial intelligence, please consider also applying to MEnTorEd Opportunities in Research (METEOR) in MIT CSAIL.

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