Facebook Announces Ph.D. Fellowship Program

Facebook today announced the creation of its Facebook Fellowship Program for Ph.D. students in the upcoming 2010-2011 school year. This is a way for students to get free hands-on experience and a way for Facebook to get some smart outside labor (and maybe, a way to find future hires?)

“Every day Facebook confronts among the most complex technical problems,” according to the new program’s new web site, “and we believe that close relationships with the academy will enable us to address many of these problems at a fundamental level and solve them.”


  • Internet Economics: auction theory and algorithmic game theory relevant to online advertising auctions.
  • Cloud Computing: storage, databases, and optimization for computing in a massively distributed environment.
  • Social Computing: models, algorithms and systems around social networks, social media, social search and collaborative environments.
  • Data Mining and Machine Learning: learning algorithms, feature generation, and evaluation methods to produce effective online and offline models of behavioral signals.
  • Systems: Hardware, operating system, runtime, and language support for fast, scalable, efficient data centers.
  • Information Retrieval: search algorithms, information extraction, question answering, cross-lingual retrieval and multimedia retrieval

Applicants to the fellowship can visit the Facebook page for more details, but should be full-time Ph.D. candidates involved in on-going research in Computer Science/Engineering, Electrical Engineering or System Architecture or related field. They must be nominated by a faculty member in addition to submitting a 1-2 page research summary applicable to Facebook, a CV and two letters of recommendation by the application deadline, February 15.

The five recipients will be notified by email by March 29.

What’s at stake is not only the prestige of having a Facebook Fellowship on your CV, but for notoriously impoverished graduate students the fellowship also includes: a $30,000 stipend over nine months, $5,000 in travel expenses, $5,000 for a personal computer and the opportunity to apply for a paid summer internship.

There’s no limit to how many students a university may nominate, non-U.S. citizens are eligible, the fellowship would begin at the start of the recipient’s academic year (August or September, usually) and Facebook said it would “strive to work with each participant” in issues related to intellectual property.

The program is meant to “extend our involvement and collaboration with the academic world,” according to Badros.