Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship

Information for Mentors


What is the role of faculty mentors?

Each fellow is expected to have two named mentors, a Science mentor and an AI mentor.  Together, they will take responsibility for defining the research challenge, ensuring that the Fellow has adequate domain knowledge to tackle this challenge, and ensuring that the Fellow has adequate AI skills to execute this approach. How the two mentors jointly fulfill their duties, for example, whether to designate a primary mentor, how exactly to divide responsibilities, and who covers which portion of the research costs, will be decided between the mentors. MIDAS will require letters of support from both mentors to expressly commit to their responsibilities. Additional mentors are allowed but not required.

Who may qualify to be a faculty mentor?

A faculty mentor can be any faculty member on the tenure track, clinical track, or research track with a full-time appointment at the University of Michigan in any of the Ann Arbor, Flint, or Dearborn campuses, who is a MIDAS affiliate or has applied to be one.

Faculty members at other universities may not be named mentors. However, they may be members of the Fellowship Committee if they are able to fulfill the obligations of the committee. They may also serve as additional mentors.

For the sake of the program’s scientific diversity, faculty mentors of the current Fellows are discouraged to be mentors of new applicants. 

Who should be a Science mentor and who should be an AI mentor?

What we really look for is strong mentoring for both the research direction (and the specific project) and AI skills training. Oftentimes one mentor has stronger AI expertise, and the other has stronger domain expertise. In such cases it’s easy to designate the two mentors’ roles. However, sometimes both mentors are strong in AI and in domain science. In these cases we let the mentors make the designations with the understanding that, with their combined expertise, they will provide sufficient mentoring in both research and AI training to the Fellow. In the application, this should be clearly explained; Fellow and mentor applicant teams will be reviewed more favorably if the plan for AI and science domain mentoring is clearly explained and justified.

What are the obligations for the faculty mentors?

Faculty Mentors are expected to devote sufficient time to provide research and career guidance to the Fellows, meet with them regularly, attend Fellowship Committee meetings every six months, and help Fellows seek opportunities for career advancement. They are also required to cover all the costs of the Fellows’ research, other than Fellow salary and benefits, as discussed below in “What do the mentors pay for?” and “What is the role of faculty mentors?” sections. The Science Mentor, by default, will be responsible to ensure the availability of all of the above; but the specific arrangements and shared responsibilities will be determined by all Mentors of each Fellow.

Faculty Mentors are also expected to actively participate in the Schmidt AI in Science program activities in MIDAS, including bootcamps, workshops, collaborative learning sessions, developing training curriculum, among others.

The Schmidt AI in Science program will organize research and networking activities and conferences that will bring together Fellows and some mentors from across all of their postdoctoral training sites. The Fellows and mentors are expected to fulfill the Schmidt program’s participation expectations.

A rough estimate of time commitment for some of the events is as follows:

  • Annual bootcamp: each mentor is expected to attend parts of this weeklong event.
  • AI Carpentries: each mentor is expected to join these group working sessions (working at MIDAS space) for 2-5 days a year.
  • Weekly research meetings: occasional attendance.
  • Fellow selection: Several hours of application review once a year.
  • Participating in the AI in Science curriculum committee: Several hours a year.
  • Any attendance requirement set up by the funder (for example, they may invite some faculty mentors to their annual conference).

What do the mentors pay for? 

The mentors cover all costs of the Fellows’ research, including research space, lab facilities, computers, computing resources, data access, travel to research conferences (at least two each year), publication costs, and visa fees, if necessary*. Office desk space will be provided in MIDAS, but the faculty mentor may wish to make desk space available in their research group as well. The Science mentor (see above), by default, will be responsible to ensure the availability of all of the above; but the specific arrangements and shared responsibilities will be determined by the two mentors of each Fellow.

How can faculty sign-up to be a mentor?

While all faculty members in the science and engineering domains within scope of this program are eligible to be Science Mentors; only a limited number of faculty members on campus have the AI expertise and the bandwidth to be AI Mentors for the Fellows. In order to help postdoc applicants connect with potential AI Mentors, we will publish a list on the website of faculty members who have expressed interest to be AI Mentors. If you would like to express such interest, please use this form to sign-up. Please note that faculty members who are not on this list can still be AI Mentors. Being on the list simply makes it easier for applicants to find you.

Do interested AI mentors need to sign up annually?

No, faculty who have previously expressed an interest to be AI mentors do not need to sign up more than once. To see if you are already listed, please review the Mentors list.

*For questions or concerns regarding the financial support of visa fees, mentors should contact the Program Team,