Postdoctoral research institute

Identify and recruit a competitively selected, internationally diverse team of premier postdoctoral fellows from across all areas of the physical sciences

Securing the University of Chicago’s continued status as a robust intellectual destination for agenda-setting scientists demands a multilevel approach to stimulate and cultivate ideas, with each tier playing a key role in building the foundation of interdisciplinary engaged excellence. Such an academic framework relies on outstanding faculty, exceptional students, and an elite postdoctoral population.

The Physical Sciences Division (PSD), in conjunction with the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME), aims to create a postdoctoral research institute, further strengthening the University’s investment in the brightest and most promising researchers.

With opportunities for independent research and discretionary funding, and access to both PSD and IME resources, institute postdocs will have the freedom to pursue the most innovative lines of inquiry, unhindered by the limitations of conventional funding streams. They will benefit from a stimulating environment that cultivates interdisciplinary collaboration via discussions within an elite cohort holding broad interests.

Immersive programming that highlights scientific leadership and professional development will include regular meetings and weekly lunches, during which postdocs and faculty mentors will discuss scientific problems they find most pressing and share their vision for future investigation. Through casual and unfettered conversation, postdoctoral scholars will hear different perspectives and develop wholly original approaches that may not have been conceivable in the context of a single research group.

The institute will also hold an annual symposium, which will host speakers from fields spanning the departments of PSD and IME. The event will serve as a platform for scientific leaders to share their expertise and identify potential future colleagues within the postdoc community. The symposium will also be a time for recent alumni to reconnect with each other and become mentors to current postdocs.

As postdocs become leaders at other institutions, the bonds between each other and with the University will sustain the style of research they learned in the institute. This network of UChicago-trained faculty at the world’s best institutions will be inclusive and expansive, bringing more first-rate researchers to the University, as alumni refer their undergraduate students for graduate placement, and their graduate students and postdocs for faculty positions.