Michael Hammer Fellowship


The Michael Hammer Society of Fellows is a distinguished, on-campus fellowship program that identifies, recruits and supports the most talented students and postdoctoral researchers addressing significant societal challenges at an early stage of their careers. IDSS Hammer Fellows are drawn from the IDSS postdoctoral fellows and students in the doctoral program in Social & Engineering Systems.

Founded in 2017, this initiative is made possible by a generous gift from Phyllis Thurm Hammer in memory of her late husband Michael Hammer ’68, SM ’70, PhD ’73. Michael Hammer was a visionary engineer, business leader, author, and MIT professor who made a remarkable impact on both MIT and the nation’s engineering and business landscape. He recognized that solving major societal challenges begins with an understanding of how complex systems function and interact, requiring a careful analysis of inherently different kinds of systems: physical and engineered, economic and social behavioral, and institutional.

Hammer Fellows embody that ingenuity, and will carry on his legacy through their innovative research far beyond their time at MIT. Upon completion of their doctoral program or postdoctoral research, IDSS Hammer Fellows are invited to join a society of academics and professionals dedicated to excellence in social and engineering systems. Once a Hammer Fellow, Always a Hammer Fellow.

Pictured, l-r: Phyllis Hammer, Munther Dahleh, Hammer Fellow postdoc Kiran Garimella, SES Hammer Fellow Manxi Wu, Michael and Phyllis’ children Jessica, David, Dana, Alison, and SES Hammer Fellows Cate Heine, Leon Yao)

Program Overview

Hammer Fellowships are awarded annually by an interdisciplinary faculty committee. Doctoral students in IDSS, with a preference for SES students, and IDSS postdoctoral researchers are eligible. Selection is made on the basis of outstanding qualifications.

MIT IDSS Hammer Fellows:

  • Are conferred the permanent title of “MIT IDSS Hammer Fellow”
  • Join the society of MIT IDSS Hammer Fellows — a program of community-building and intellectual enrichment activities, including seminars and events
  • Exercise independence in selection and focus of research direction within IDSS throughout their fellowship term
  • Receive generous compensation:
    • Doctoral students: full support for one semester (stipend, tuition, and medical insurance)
    • Postdoctoral fellows: salary support for up to two years, and up to $3,000 per year in discretionary research funds

Nomination & Selection

For PhD students: Selection is made on the basis of outstanding qualifications, with a preference for incoming doctoral students. Nominees will be made from the Social & Engineering Systems Doctoral Program. In addition, IDSS faculty members and PIs may nominate students.

For postdoctoral researchers: The postdoctoral fellows will be selected by means of an annual competition each spring for which candidates can either apply directly or be nominated by a faculty member or senior researcher from social and engineering systems or related areas. Check our opportunities page for posting announcements.

Program Chair

The MIT IDSS Hammer Fellows Program Chair is appointed by the director of IDSS for a three-year (renewable) term.

Fotini Christia
Ford International Professor, Social Sciences

Executive Committee

The MIT IDSS Hammer Fellows Program Chair is assisted by the Executive Committee:

Munther A. Dahleh
Director, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
William A. Coolidge Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Alberto Abadie
Associate Director, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Professor, Economics

Dean Eckles
Associate Professor of Marketing, MIT Sloan School of Management

Andrew Lo
Director, MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering
Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of Finance, MIT Sloan School of Management

Jessika Trancik
Professor, IDSS

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307