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Allen Institute launches fellowship for data scientists to study the brain

The Shanahan Foundation Fellowship at the Interface of Data and Neuroscience, a 3-year fellowship program co-hosted by the Allen Institute and the University of Washington, is now accepting applications

March 8, 2021 | Download PDF

SEATTLE — March 8, 2021 — The Allen Institute and the University of Washington’s eScience Institute and Computational Neuroscience Center are launching a new fellowship program in data science and neuroscience and are seeking interested applicants. The three-year fellowship is open for applications and positions will start in fall 2021.

The program, the Shanahan Foundation Fellowship at the Interface of Data and Neuroscience, is funded by the Shanahan Family Foundation and the Allen Institute at a total of $9 million for its initial five-year phase, which will enroll up to three fellows per year for the first three years to a total of up to nine fellows. The goal of the fellowship is to attract early-career data scientists — Ph.D. researchers with a background in statistics, computer science, physics, engineering, mathematics or similar fields — to work on problems related to neuroscience. Fellows will be based at the Allen Institute, with a primary mentor from the Allen Institute and a co-mentor from the University of Washington.

“We have these massive, ever-growing brain-centric datasets at the Allen Institute and there are so many discoveries waiting to be made,” said Christof Koch, Ph.D., director of the new fellowship program and Chief Scientist for the MindScope Program at the Allen Institute. “While our data are open for anyone in the community to use, it’s not always intuitive for those without a neuroscience background to know where to begin. With this new program, we’re aiming to attract bright, early-career researchers from quantitative data science fields and help guide them to apply their analytic and computational skills to answer important questions about the brain.”

The decision to launch the program came about in part due to an opportunity to partner with the Shanahan Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded in 2007 by the late R. Michael Shanahan that challenges traditional approaches to science and education, who are funding two-thirds of the fellowships and the overall program. The remaining one-third of the fellowships is supported by the Allen Institute.

“The Shanahan Family Foundation is thrilled to partner with the Allen Institute and the University of Washington eScience Institute in this endeavor,” said Elaine Fisher, chair of the brain health committee of the Shanahan Family Foundation. “By harnessing the unparalleled data repository of the Allen Institute with the deep knowledge of data science methodology of eScience, these fellows will be uniquely positioned to advance our understanding of brain function.”

Applications are open; for full consideration, interested researchers should apply by April 15, 2021. See more information and apply on the fellowship website.

About the Allen Institute

The Allen Institute is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization founded by philanthropist and visionary, the late Paul G. Allen. The Allen Institute is dedicated to answering some of the biggest questions in bioscience and accelerating research worldwide. The Institute is a recognized leader in large-scale research with a commitment to an open science model. Its research institutes and programs include the Allen Institute for Brain Science, launched in 2003, the Allen Institute for Cell Science, launched in 2014, the Allen Institute for Immunology, launched in 2018, and the MindScope Program, launched in 2020. In 2016, the Allen Institute expanded its reach with the launch of The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, which identifies pioneers with new ideas to expand the boundaries of knowledge and make the world better. For more information, visit

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