May 27, 2020
Heather Kulik earns DARPA Director’s Fellowship
Competitive award provides further support for DARPA Young Faculty Award earned in 2018.
Associate Professor Heather Kulik has been awarded a Director’s Fellowship from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Kulik is the first MIT Chemical Engineering faculty member to receive this fellowship award from DARPA.
In 2018, Kulik won the DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA), which aims to identify and engage rising research stars in US academic and non-profit research institutions. Awardees are provided funding, mentoring, and industry and DARPA contacts to help them develop high-risk, high-reward fundamental research.
DARPA YFA winners are chosen in a wide range of research areas from engineering, physics, and chemistry to computer science and social science. The long-term goal of the DARPA YFA program is to develop the next generation of academic scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who will focus a significant portion of their career on U.S. Department of Defense and national security issues.
The YFA includes a $500,000 grant for two years of research, with an opportunity to be considered for the Director’s Fellowship. At the end of the initial two-year period, DARPA YFA awardees with exceptional technical achievements and leadership are selected for the highly competitive DARPA Director’s Fellowship which provides additional funding and support for a third year to extend their risk-taking research explorations.
Kulik, whose DARPA program manager is Anne Fischer, was chosen for her work in artificial intelligence (AI) for materials discovery. Her research interests include the development of data-driven and first-principles modeling methods for materials and catalyst discovery.
Kulik received her B.E. in Chemical Engineering from the Cooper Union in 2004 and her Ph.D. from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in 2009. She completed postdoctoral training at Lawrence Livermore and Stanford, prior to joining MIT as a faculty member in November 2013. In addition to the DARPA YFA Director’s Fellowship, her research has been recognized by a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, NSF CAREER Award, the AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Award, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry Lectureship, among others.