Schmidt Futures Announces the Virtual Center for Advanced Potential

April 1, 2022

New program to support the research of talent development and foster a global network of leading researchers

Upcoming Schmidt Futures Global Talent Ideas Search to offer up to $500,000 total to develop and publish up to 50 selected submissions 

NEW YORK, NY, April 1, 2022 – Schmidt Futures is pleased to announce the launch of the Virtual Center for Advanced Potential (VCAP). The Center will support novel, interdisciplinary research on how to best identify, nurture, and develop talent and genius in all its forms, and match it to opportunity to serve others. Through a combination of gifts, grants, and awards, VCAP will foster a global network of researchers working to find solutions to improve the collective understanding of talent development, and the drivers of exceptional performance and success

Talent is evenly distributed, while opportunity is not. Without novel tools to identify and support exceptional people, humanity will never unleash the full spectrum of human brilliance to solve the hardest problems. In an effort to correct this inequity, VCAP will strive to identify new pathways and access to afford everyone the opportunity to realize their potential. The Center aims to unleash all the untapped potential of brilliant people who have never had the opportunity to apply their talents for the public good. It will seek to find and create more effective tools to identify and support exceptional people, especially from communities that are traditionally overlooked and underrepresented. It will focus on brilliance in many forms, and at various stages of development.

VCAP will build upon Schmidt Futures’ track record of identifying talent early, and growing networks empowered to solve hard problems in science and society. In line with a commitment to open science, VCAP will support research that is accessible, contributes to public discourse, and has the potential to confer significant public benefit. Schmidt Futures programs strive to create the best, largest, and most enduring pipeline of exceptional talent globally and match it to opportunities to serve others for life.

“Research shows that we can do better at identifying and measuring various forms of talent, and at leveraging that talent for good. Aligned with our mission to bet on exceptional people, VCAP will aim to address this gap and to create pathways from research to application in the field of talent,” said Cassie Crockett, Vice President of Talent Engine at Schmidt Futures. “We are pleased to launch VCAP and to welcome Eddie Mandhry, who joins Schmidt Futures as a Senior Fellow. He brings a wealth of experience building collaborative research networks and creating youth development programs. We’re excited to have him lead this new effort aimed at advancing the science of talent.”

Eddie Mandhry joins Schmidt Futures from Yale University, where his work focused on the intersection of people, ideas, and institutions pursuing innovative solutions to urgent global challenges through cutting-edge research spanning the sciences, humanities, and arts. Eddie’s experience at Yale, as well as his prior experience as the Associate Director of NYU Africa House and the NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Technology & Economic Development supporting collaborative research networks, will directly inform his leadership and oversight of VCAP. 

“This is a tremendously exciting new initiative. VCAP will develop collaborative research networks across the world dedicated to enhancing our understanding of human performance from a variety of domains, and diverse geographical and cultural contexts,” said Eddie Mandhry, Senior Fellow at Schmidt Futures. “This initiative is aligned with Schmidt Future’s ambition to support exceptional talent around the globe. Resulting research will also contribute to the success of all Schmidt Future’s Talent Engine programs. These programs support the next generation of research scientists, social entrepreneurs, civic leaders and changemakers working in the service of others.”

In tandem with the launch, VCAP announced the upcoming Schmidt Futures Global Talent Ideas Search which will offer $10,000 each to 50 of the most compelling new ideas in exchange for working with Schmidt Futures to develop and publish. Schmidt Futures will publish the ideas that address how to best identify, nurture, and develop talent in a publicly accessible collection. The Search will seek to answer questions such as: What unexplored barriers exist to people realizing their potential? How can effective methods to unlock talent be developed and shared at scale? To sign up to learn more about the upcoming Schmidt Futures Talent Ideas Search visit:


About Schmidt Futures:

Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society. To learn more about our method and the diverse types of capital and tools that we deploy, visit