Open to scholars in seven scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in close coordination with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists and winners are selected by independent panels of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in their field. Winners receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship which can be used flexibly to advance their research.
“I’m very humbled and honored to receive the fellowship, and grateful for all the help I received from colleagues over the years,” Yao says. “It is particularly encouraging for an engineer to be awarded in the chemistry domain, as an indication of the importance in interdisciplinary research. I hope we will continue on this path for discoveries.”
Yao, whose research focus is nanoelectronic devices and sensors, bioelectronic interfaces and wearable devices and “green” electronics made from biomaterials, is the sole UMass Amherst recipient of this year’s fellowship. He is one of only 118 recipients from 51 institutions in the U.S. and Canada to receive the honor, awarded to early career researchers whose creativity, innovation and research accomplishments make them stand out as next-generation leaders.
Yao’s past honors include the 2021 Barbara H. & Joseph J. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, the 2021 Sony Innovation Faculty Award, the 2020 UMass Armstrong Fund for Science Award, the 2019 UMass Manning/IALS Innovation Award and an NSF CAREER Award in 2019. Yao is the first UMass Amherst recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship since 2019.
“Colleges and universities with fellows on their faculty should feel incredibly proud,” says Daniel L. Goroff, director of the Sloan Research Fellowship program. “These institutions vary in size, mission, and other characteristics, but they are all attracting extraordinary people and then allowing them to flourish in remarkable ways.”
A Sloan Research Fellowship is considered one of the most prestigious awards available to young researchers. Past recipients have gone on to become prominent figures in science, with Nobel Prize in Physics winners for the past five years including former Sloan Fellows.
This year’s class of Sloan Research Fellows can be viewed here.
This article was originally published by the UMass Amherst Office of News and Media Relations.