IAIFI Fellows

Call for Applications for 2025-2028 IAIFI Fellows

Apply to be an IAIFI Fellow

The NSF Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Fundamental Interactions (IAIFI, pronounced /aɪ-faɪ/) is one of the inaugural NSF AI research institutes. The IAIFI is enabling physics discoveries and advancing foundational AI through the development of novel AI approaches that incorporate first principles, best practices, and domain knowledge from fundamental physics. AI is transforming many aspects of society, including the ways that scientists are pursuing groundbreaking discoveries. To facilitate these advances, the IAIFI seeks a talented, promising, and diverse group of researchers at an early stage of their careers to join the IAIFI Fellowship program. The role of an IAIFI Fellow is to spark vital interdisciplinary, multi-investigator, multi-subfield collaborations across the primary IAIFI thrusts of theoretical physics, experimental physics, and foundational AI. Such collaborations have immense power to generate new ideas and approaches in both physics and AI, to facilitate abstracting physics challenges beyond their native domains to inform the development of cutting-edge AI tools, and to instill a common language across disciplines. Our program aims to appoint new postdoctoral IAIFI Fellows each academic year, for a three-year fellowship term each.

Fellows will be selected through an annual application process. Applicants should have, or be expected to receive by the 1st of September 2025, a PhD in Physics, Statistics, Computer Science, or a related field. Complete applications must include:

  • Cover letter (no more than 1 page);
  • CV (1-2 pages recommended, but longer accepted);
  • Statement of research interests (no more than 2 pages);
  • List of publications;
  • Exactly three reference letters.

The deadline to receive all the materials (including all reference letters) is the 9th of October 2024.

The Fellows will have substantial freedom in choosing their research focus; each fellow will work with two IAIFI mentors – one from Physics and one from AI – to guide their choice of research topic and evaluate their research progress. Part of the application will include identifying IAIFI faculty whom you feel would be a good match for your research goals. The IAIFI is committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and strongly encourages applications from members of historically marginalized groups. Any inquiries about the program should be directed to iaifi-fellows@mit.edu. Answers to frequently asked questions can be found at https://iaifi.org/fellows.html#faq.

The IAIFI is a joint NSF-funded venture between MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, and Tufts. Fellows are encouraged to collaborate with other IAIFI members. All Fellows are granted work space at MIT. In addition, Fellows can be affiliated with and have work space at any of the four Boston-area IAIFI universities.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin. MIT’s full policy on Nondiscrimination can be found here.


  • What is the anticipated start date for the 2024-2027 IAIFI Fellowship? The expected start date is September 1, 2024, but we will consider alternative start dates on a case by case basis.
  • What is the timeline after I’ve submitted my application? You will be notified about whether you have been shortlisted for an interview by mid-November to mid-December. Candidates on the shortlist will have one virtual interview and offers will be made by late December to early January.
  • Will you sponsor visas for international applicants? If selected for an IAIFI Fellowship, we will work with the MIT International Scholars Office (ISchO) to determine the appropriate visa for your situation.
  • Am I still eligible for an IAIFI Fellowship if my research is only in Physics or only in AI? The aim of the IAIFI is to foster interdisciplinary research at the intersection of Physics and AI. Even if your expertise is only in one area, your proposed research should aim to build bridges across disciplines.
  • What if I’m interested in having a mentor who is not on the list? All IAIFI Fellows are expected to have one mentor in physics and one in AI. The list of options in the application includes all IAIFI Senior Investigators and Affiliates, so you must choose two from that list for the application, but alternative mentor options can be discussed if you move forward with the application.
  • Do I need to contact potential mentors before I apply? No, you do not need to contact any potential mentors before applying. Instead, indicate your desired mentors in your application.
  • Can my application include four reference letters? No, in order to keep the selection criteria uniform, each candidate can only have three reference letters in their application.
  • If I’m offered a fellowship, when would the decision deadline be for me to accept? February 15, 2025 is the decision deadline, in line with similar searches in IAIFI-related fields.
  • Are IAIFI Fellows required to have English language skills? English language proficiency is required to obtain a J-1 Visa and therefore be employed by MIT if you are coming from outside the United States.
  • If I am chosen for the fellowship, do I need to be in the Boston area? We expect our IAIFI Fellows to participate in the life of the institute, which includes working primarily in the Boston area. For certain life circumstances, we can be flexible, but at minimum, Fellows need to be residents of Massachusetts, as MIT will be their official employer.
  • Does the 2-page limit for the research statement include references? References in the research statement are optional and will not count against the page limit.
  • If I am applying to the MIT Pappalardo Fellowship or Harvard Society of Fellows, will that impact my application for the IAIFI Fellowship? No, you are welcome to apply to multiple Fellowship opportunities and one will not impact the other.
  • What if I receive an offer from IAIFI as well as from a different Fellowship in the Boston area, (Pappalardo, Society of Fellows) or have funding from another Fellowship (Hubble, Marie Curie)? If you have funding support from an alternative source and you are interested in conducting research in IAIFI, you can still be an IAIFI Fellow. Details of support levels and expectations are negotiated post award.
  • What is the expected salary for an IAIFI Fellow? The salary for an IAIFI Fellow is subject to change each year and is currently around 15% higher than the minimum postdoc salary at MIT.
  • I’m interested in this Fellowship but will not quite be ready to apply this round. Will you be doing another call next year? Contingent on continued support from the NSF, we plan to have another call in a year.
  • What should I include in my statement of research interests? We do not have strict expectations about the statement of research interest. Approach it in a way that best advocates for yourself and your research.
  • Should I tailor my research statement to the expertise of the hiring committee? The hiring committee spans all of IAIFI and is representative of the range of backgrounds and expertise in IAIFI, so you should focus on advocating for yourself and your research.
  • How many Fellows do you plan to hire? We expect to hire 1-4 Fellows each year, but the final number is dependent on funding and fit/strength of applicants.

Advertising the Fellowship

We aim to spread the word about the Fellowship as widely as possible. In addition to sharing the announcement with individuals, we have posted the job in the following places:

If you have suggestions for anywhere else where we should be sharing the announcement, please email iaifi-fellows@mit.edu.