The Mistletoe Research Fellowship
Our flagship initiative, launched in 2018, is the Mistletoe Research Fellowship.
This professional development program awards research grants to postdoctoral fellows and advanced PhD candidates as well as providing the opportunity to collaborate with startups with a high potential for social and humanitarian impact.
The Mistletoe Research Fellowship was created with three goals in mind:
1) Funding scientific research and providing professional development training for early-career academics.
2) Helping frontier startups to succeed in advancing
nascent technologies with social and humanitarian impact.
3) Creating a bridge between the academic and entrepreneurial communities that will lead to new career opportunities, increased partnership and collaboration, and research innovation.
Mistletoe Research Fellowship recipients develop skills and competencies that will help them prepare for careers
in academia or in industry by participating in two complementary professional development program components:
the Unfettered Research Grant and the MRF Startup Collaboration.
Each Research Fellow is awarded a USD $10k Unfettered Research Grant that is to be applied to their individual university-based research activities. This unrestricted grant can be used over the course of a single academic year for
almost any university-approved research-related activity, including conference travel support, purchases of
equipment, and software and database licenses.
Each Research Fellow also participates in the MRF Startup Collaboration, an extracurricular professional
development program which uniquely combines guidance from the foundation's online training curriculum with the opportunity to build skills and problem-solve alongside a frontier startup. After being matched with a participating startup during our onboarding "Match Workshop," each Research Fellow becomes part of a small interdisciplinary team comprised of three to four Research Fellows and an experienced mid-to-late career Team Mentor. Over the course of an academic year, this team will work together to develop a proposal that addresses a specific science or technology
problem faced by the startup in advancing the development of their existing product. All team projects are entirely remote and will require a total of 100 hours over the year (ie. a few hours a week) outside the Fellow's existing research commitments, a structure designed to be roughly equivalent to the workload of a single doctoral-level course. Following
the Match Workshop, all participation in the MRF Startup Collaboration is conducted remotely via the
Momental Foundation's Online Learning Community.