Awards and Honors

Northwestern researcher Austin Evans named a 2021 Schmidt Science Fellow

By Lila Reynolds

June 04, 2021

Austin Evans, a Northwestern University researcher, has been named a 2021 Schmidt Science Fellow, Eric and Wendy Schmidt announced June 3.

The Schmidt Fellowship supports early career scientists and engineers in interdisciplinary collaboration to advance solutions to long-term societal challenges such as climate change, infectious disease and biodiversity loss. Evans is the fourth fellow to be selected from Northwestern.

“The Fellowship is enabling me to explore a new dimension of science outside of the training I received at Northwestern,” said Evans, who earned his Ph.D. in 2020. “I am working to combine my synthetic training with a deeper physical understanding of electronic behavior at the molecular level.”

Evans earned his Ph.D. in the Northwestern Department of Chemistry before becoming a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University. His work in the Dichtel Research Group at Northwestern focuses on covalent organic framework materials within the field of supramolecular chemistry, which have potential application in gas storage, gas separation and organic electronics.

William Dichtel, the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry and Evans’ faculty mentor, said he looks forward to seeing how the Schmidt Fellowship helps Evans further develop his research.

“Working with Austin has been a joy,” Dichtel said. “He is always thinking about the possibilities enabled by his discoveries, and his enthusiasm is infectious. I will treasure the time we spent together here at Northwestern, where he has left an indelible impact on our research and the field of chemistry.”

As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Evans aims to become a scientific leader who can articulate a vision for the future that “transcends conventional boundaries between disciplines.”

Schmidt Science Fellows undertake a year-long postdoctoral placement with a renowned scientific lab following the completion of their Ph.D. program. These placements represent a significant disciplinary pivot from their Ph.D. topic and are central to the program’s aim to foster greater interdisciplinarity. The fellows receive a stipend of $100,000 for their living expenses.

The 28 new members grow the global Fellowship to a total of 84 Fellows working at the intersection of disciplines to advance science for the public benefit. The program, now in its fourth year, is an initiative of Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust.

Eric Schmidt is co-founder of Schmidt Futures and former CEO of Google, and Wendy Schmidt is co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation.

Students interested in learning more about the Schmidt Science Fellowship should contact Northwestern’s Office of Fellowships.