Whitehead Fellows Program

The Whitehead Fellows Program enables extraordinarily talented young scientists to begin pursuing their scientific visions and launch independent labs right out of graduate school—instead of joining a senior researcher’s lab. Fellows come to the Institute with a record of significant accomplishment and a demonstrated capacity to solve major research problems. And they go on to have extraordinary success as leaders of top academic and commercial research programs around the world. Seven former Fellows have been elected to National Academy of Science—and Program alumni include superstars such as Harvard Medical School dean George Daley; MIT cancer researcher Angelika Amon; NASA astronaut Kate Rubins; and former Merck Research Laboratories president Peter Kim. 
The Fellows Program has also become a model for academic centers seeking to identify and support top young researchers; but no other organization has equalled its continuing capacity to produce world-class scientific leaders.
Whitehead Fellows receive dedicated lab space and comprehensive lab funding, access to shared technical facilities, and substantial mentoring from Institute Faculty. An initiative of this nature requires significant donor funding: these highly motivated scientists quickly build robust research programs, and few traditional funding organizations support young scientists doing innovative, high-risk/high-reward science.
Donors can help support the Whitehead Fellows Program in general or by sponsoring a Fellow(s). A named five-year Whitehead Fellow position can be underwritten with a $1,250,000 spendable gift; and a named Fellow can be endowed with a $5 million gift. The Whitehead Fellows Program could be named with a transformational gift of $25 million. 
Past and present supporters include The Valhalla Foundation, Andria and Paul Heafy, and Joan and Herman Suit.