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Former Engineering DPhil Hannah Rana selected for 5th international cohort of Schmidt Science Fellows

New Fellows will be supported in advancing interdisciplinary research and innovation around major challenges facing humanity including cancer and heart disease, sustainable fuel production and clean water provision

The 2022 cohort of 29 new Schmidt Science Fellows was announced in the early hours of this morning in Boston, USA by Schmidt Futures, the philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt. The Fellows are a group of exceptional early-career scientists from around the world, comprising 113 active and alumni Fellows around the world representing 30 nationalities of origin.

Hannah Rana was formerly a DPhil candidate and Amelia Earhart Fellow in cryogenics at the Department of Engineering Science. Hannah’s PhD research in astronautical engineering focused on developing cryocoolers for space science instrumentation and detectors for the next generation of space missions. As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Hannah will have the opportunity to employ her engineering skills to advance the development of artificial retina, with the ultimate aim of restoring vision to the blind.

Hannah was nominated by the University for the Schmidt Science Fellowship and invited to apply, before being selected as a finalist to progress to a competitive selection interview, involving senior figures from business, academia and wider society. 

She says of the award, “I was honoured to be Oxford’s nominated candidate and I’m delighted and humbled to have now been selected for the Fellowship. I’m very excited for the opportunity to pivot outside of my immediate field and translate knowledge and skills to working on technological advancements for restoring vision to the blind. This cause is close to my heart and I feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to contribute to tackling this vital problem. I’m also looking forward to connecting with the network of bright minds from around the world who will all be engaging in interdisciplinary science through this Fellowship.”

The Schmidt Science Fellowships, which are delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, support interdisciplinary science with the potential to accelerate discoveries that tackle major challenges facing humanity and have a positive impact on the world. Each Fellow is supported for one to two years, with up to $200,000 in stipend, individualised mentoring, and a series of professional development opportunities around the world, to help them pursue cutting-edge research at a disciplinary pivot to their PhD and maximise their potential as future scientific leaders.

Eric Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and former CEO and Chairman of Google, said: “Our latest group of Schmidt Science Fellows embodies our vision for this Program at its inception five years ago. We find the most talented next-generation leaders from around the world and back these impressive young adults with the resources and networks they need to realize their full potential while addressing some of the big scientific questions facing the world."

"Congratulations to the 2022 Schmidt Science Fellows, I am excited to see where your science takes you and what you will achieve.”

Meet the 2022 Fellows