Participants from last year’s Soft Matter for All symposium.

The NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) of Princeton University, University of Chicago, and University of Delaware will hold symposia and career workshops geared for early career researchers in Soft and Biological Matter during Fall 2021. All events will be virtual.

There will be three independent events:

  • September 23-24, 2021: Rising Stars in Soft and Biological Matter,
    organized and hosted by the University of Chicago MRSEC
    (details of last year’s event available here)
  • October 15, 2021: Soft Matter For All,
    jointly organized and hosted by the Princeton and Delaware MRSECs
    (details of last year’s event available here)
  • November 4, 2021: Career Development Workshops (more information forthcoming)

The symposia are intended to promote early-career development of researchers working in exciting new directions in the field of Soft and Biological Matter. Another goal is to increase the diversity of researchers in the field; we particularly welcome applications and nominations for the symposia from researchers who come from under-represented groups. Those selected to participate in the symposia will receive an honorarium. No application is necessary for the Career Development Workshop, which is open to all who are interested.

The symposia have distinct formats: The first (U. Chicago) will feature talks and discussion over two days, while the second (Princeton and Delaware) will feature keynote lectures, talks and discussion, and breakout sessions for students and postdocs over one day. Please see the links above for details of last year’s agendas from both events.

The selection of speakers will be jointly coordinated among all three MRSECs such that applicants/nominees may only be chosen to speak at one of the symposia.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the fields of Soft and Biological Matter from any institution who wish to be considered for either symposium should submit the following information by August 15, 2021 to Eileen Sheu (

  1. A CV
  2. A manuscript, preprint, or poster of research accomplishment to be presented
  3. A brief personal statement (300 words) describing your vision for a future career in STEM research/education and how it has been shaped by your own perspectives and experiences working in the STEM research/education community
  4. Indication of which symposium you want to be considered for (may choose either or both).

Applicants should also request a recommendation letter from an advisor to be emailed separately to Eileen Sheu ( with the subject line “Recommendation letter for (Applicant first and last name)”.

Decisions will be made by September 1, 2021.