Hertz Foundation

Last updated
Fannie and John Hertz Foundation
Logo Hertz Foundation.gif
Founded1957 [1]
FounderFannie and John D. Hertz
Focus Applied science and engineering
Area served
United States
Method Ph.D. Fellowships
Key people
Robbee Baker Kosak, President
David J. Galas, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board
Philip Welkhoff, Ph.D., Senior Fellowship Interviewer
Revenue (2018)
$5,055,682 [2]
Expenses (2018)$4,364,123 [2]
Website hertzfoundation.org

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is an American non-profit organization that awards fellowships to Ph.D. students in the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences. The fellowship provides $250,000 of support over five years. The goal is for Fellows to be financially independent and free from traditional restrictions of their academic departments in order to promote innovation in collaboration with leading professors in the field. Through a rigorous application and interview process, the Hertz Foundation seeks to identify young scientists and engineers with the potential to change the world for the better and supports their research endeavors from an early stage. Fellowship recipients pledge to make their skills available to the United States in times of national emergency.


Hertz Fellowship


The Hertz Foundation was established in 1957 [1] with the goal of supporting applied sciences education. The founder, John D. Hertz, was a European emigrant [3] whose family arrived in the United States with few resources, when the Hertz was five years old. Hertz matured into a prominent entrepreneur and business leader (founder of the Yellow Cab Company and owner of the Hertz corporation) as the automotive age burgeoned in Chicago. Initially, the Foundation granted undergraduate scholarships to qualified and financially limited mechanical and electrical engineering students. In 1963, the undergraduate scholarship program was phased out and replaced with postgraduate fellowships leading to the award of the Ph.D. The scope of the studies supported by the fellowships was also enlarged to include applied sciences and engineering. Recipients of the Hertz Fellowship typically attend competitive graduate schools such as Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Caltech, Chicago, Princeton, and UC Berkeley.


For the 2017-2018 academic year, nearly 800 applicants applied for 10 spots, giving it an acceptance rate of 1.5%, or about a quarter of that of top undergraduate institutions.

Eligibility and application

To be eligible for a Hertz Fellowships, a student must be citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America. Eligible applicants must be students of the applied sciences, math or engineering, and desire to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the applied sciences, math or engineering. College seniors as well as graduate students already pursuing a Ph.D. may apply.

The application period opens in August, when electronic applications are made available by the Hertz Foundation. All Fellowship applicants are notified by mail of the Foundation's action on their application on or before April 1.

Notable Fellows

In 2018, some 30 Hertz Fellows were recognized by MIT Tech Review, Forbes, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Academy of Sciences and many others for outstanding work in their respective fields.

Thesis Prize

The Hertz Foundation requires that each Fellow furnish the Foundation a copy of his or her doctoral dissertation upon receiving the Ph.D. The Foundation's Thesis Prize Committee examines the Ph.D. dissertations for their overall excellence and pertinence to high-impact applications of the physical sciences. Each Thesis Prize winner receives an honorarium of $5,000.

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  2. 1 2 "Fannie and John Hertz Foundation" (PDF). Hertz Foundation. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
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