Students interested in obtaining doctoral degrees in STEM fields can apply for a Hertz Foundation Fellowship.

The foundation encouraging research in applied physical and biological sciences mathematics and engineering. Applications are due by Oct. 24.

Executive Director Kathy Young described the fellowship as “incredibly competitive,” because fewer than 2 percent of applicants are accepted.

“We are really looking for the top students,” she said.

Since the foundation was established 1957, Hertz Fellows have founded more than 200 companies and they have received over 200 major awards, including two Nobel Prizes in physics, according to the website.

“A lot of our applicants apply because they want to be a part of the Hertz community,”

Young said.

Young sees the foundation as an opportunity for professionals to form networks.

“We have a lot of gatherings with Hertz fellows across disciplines, generations and geography and they are able to share ideas and collaborate,” Young said. “Many of them have started businesses together or wrote papers together.”

The Hertz Fellowship differs from most because students are not committed to work on their adviser’s projects, Young said, because they have their own funding. They can work on whatever project they want.

“You are not only receiving the financial value and the freedom that comes with the fellowship. You are also part of the Hertz community,” Young said.

The five-year fellowship covers full tuition for participating institutions, Young said.

Applications can be found on the Hertz Foundation website, hertzfoundation.org.