The above video features Fellows from the class of 2010. Watch more videos from 2010.

The PopTech Science Fellows program is a unique leadership development opportunity designed to help high potential working scientists become more effective communicators, collaborators and leaders both within and beyond the traditional bounds of academia.

The program provides Fellows with expert training and support by visionary leaders in areas which are rarely, if ever, explicitly taught to working scientists, including communications, presentation and information design, effective collaboration and leadership. Fellows receive ongoing access to specialized faculty and mentors in these areas, form an extensive network of mutual support, and play a highly visible role within the PopTech global community of innovators.

Scientists who excel as communicators are more likely to find unusual or unlikely research partners, leading to better and more interesting science. They are also able to communicate findings and ideas with a broader audience of vital constituencies—including scientists in other fields, alternative sources of research support and the public at large—to ensure more rapid scientific progress.

The Fellows

Each year, PopTech selects 10 to 12 Fellows drawn from many different research fields, from economics and planetary science to renewable energy and biomedical research. What they have in common is talent, a passion for asking big questions, a commitment to innovating within their field, an innate interest in communications and leadership, and a strongly collaborative spirit.

Meet the Fellows Class of 2013 and learn about their innovative research.

The Program

The Fellows are convened by PopTech for a special training program, held this year from October 17-22, 2014, at an idyllic retreat facility near Camden, Maine. Immediately following – from October 23-25, 2014 – Fellows participate in and give short presentations at the PopTech annual conference, which brings together a global network of cutting-edge leaders, thinkers and doers from many different disciplines. Fellows receive prominent placement at the event, including press interviews and collaborative sessions with members of the PopTech network that can help them to amplify the impact of their scientific research and professional profile.


As a result of participation in this program, the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Fellows have substantially improved their media profiles and been exposed to new opportunities for communicating their work, have formed new collaborative partnerships, and have accessed new avenues for financial support of their research. When asked to describe the program in a single word, most Fellows say “transformational.”

Our broader goal is to develop a corps of visible and trusted scientific leaders who can provide leadership, explore new collaborative approaches and engage with the public on a variety of issues of critical importance to the nation and the planet. In so doing, we hope to bolster the role of science in the public sphere, to improve the public’s literacy and embrace of science, to create new scientific role models for young people, and to create new, multidisciplinary collaboration opportunities for working scientists.


The nomination process is by invitation only. Members of the program’s world-class advisory board – including top-tier science and communications leaders and working scientists – assist with the selection of Fellows and participate in the program’s leadership training.

Program Support

The Science and Public Leadership Fellows program is made possible by a number of organizations with a deep commitment to the role of science in public life. Program partners are highlighted on the science supporters page and include the Rita Allen Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Geographic.

To learn more about the program curriculum or how to become a collaborating institution, please contact Leetha Filderman at leetha [at] poptech [dot] org.