David Suzuki Fellowships

Research. Collaborate. Inspire.

David Suzuki has spent a lifetime at the forefront of environmental activism. Renowned for his ability to make the complexities of science exciting and easy to understand, he’s inspired millions of people around the world to take meaningful action to protect the planet. And he continues to help new generations understand their interdependence with nature.

Building on David’s legacy, the David Suzuki Fellowship program will help the next generation of leaders tackle complex environmental problems. Successful fellows will embody David’s research excellence and his ability to motivate people to make a difference.

Current fellows

In the program’s inaugural year, three fellows from different disciplines will work together to explore climate change solutions.

The 2017-18 Fellows are:

Brett Dolter

Brett Dolter

PhD in ecological economics

Climate Change Economics Fellow

Brett has a master’s degree in resource management and environmental science from the University of British Columbia, a master’s in economics from the University of Victoria and a PhD in ecological economics from York University. He is currently a researcher affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

In his fellowship, Brett is looking into the role of the electricity utility in facilitating distributed renewable energy. He’s researching the competitiveness impacts of carbon pricing and determining the impact of deliberative dialogues on Canada’s energy future.

For more about Brett’s research, check out this video:

Melina Laboucan-Massimo

Melina Laboucan-Massimo

MA in indigenous governance

Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change Fellow

Melina has a master’s degree in indigenous governance with a focus on renewable energy in First Nations communities. She also has more than fifteen years of experience organizing with indigenous communities to plan and implement projects and campaigns. The culmination of her master’s thesis was the completion of a 20.8-kilowatt solar installation in her home community of Little Buffalo in Northern Alberta.

For the fellowship, Melina is researching renewable energy models that can be replicated in communities, pushing for more progressive renewable energy policy and implementing renewable energy projects in communities across Canada.

For more about Melina’s research, check out this video:

Jérôme Laviolette

Jérôme Laviolette

MA in applied science

Transportation and Climate Change Fellow

A trained civil engineer, last summer Jérôme completed his master’s of applied science from Polytechnique Montréal where he used GPS data to better understand the demand-supply profile of the taxi industry.

For the fellowship, Jérôme is focusing on better understanding individual car dependency and the barriers and opportunities to change this behaviour. He’s working closely with Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec and Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en opérationalisation du développement durable, two important organizations for environmental and transportation issues in Quebec.

For more about Jérôme’s research, check out this video:


The David Suzuki Fellowship program empowers emerging scholars to tackle complex environmental problems. It reduces financial barriers, provides mentorship and fosters leadership and creativity so fellows can conduct research and engage and inform the public and policy-makers.


Three fellowships are available. Each will be for one year and will consist of:

  • A $50,000 stipend, plus up to $5,000 for travel and other professional expenses
  • Mentorship from David Suzuki Foundation senior staff
  • Access to office space at any Foundation office


Three fellows from different disciplines will work together to find climate change solutions to accelerate Canada’s transition to a low-carbon future:

Climate Change Communications

The fellow will focus on how climate change communications can ignite the movement toward a lower-carbon future. Research may include (but is not limited to) storytelling, public engagement, social impact, media and digital strategy, and the psychology of communications. Candidates from all disciplines may apply. You must have a PhD to be eligible.

Indigenous knowledge and climate change

The fellow will work to integrate traditional Indigenous knowledge into climate change solutions. Candidates from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. You must be an Indigenous person (First Nation, Inuit or Métis) with a master’s degree or PhD to be eligible.

Climate Change Adaptation and Cities

The fellow will research climate change adaptation and the development of sustainable cities. Focus areas may include natural infrastructure, innovative sustainable technologies (such as phytotechnologies) and/or public policy. Candidates from all disciplines are eligible to apply. You must be bilingual (French and English) and have a PhD to be eligible.

Program structure

The program is designed so fellows can keep one foot in academia and the other in learning communication and public engagement strategies. The aim is for fellows to stay true to David Suzuki’s model of communicating rigorous science in a way that is easy to understand and act on.

  • Fifty per cent of each fellow’s time will be spent on completing a one-year research project. The fellow and Foundation mentor(s) will determine specifics based on the fellow’s research interests (as outlined in their application). The research could include: building on the fellow’s graduate research findings, publishing/co-publishing academic research and/or doing a distinct piece of research.
  • Fifty per cent of each fellow’s time will be spent on professional development within the David Suzuki Foundation. This may include (but is not limited to) learning and developing skills in government relations, communications and community engagement. During this time, fellows may produce policy briefs, op-eds, conduct media interviews, contribute to social media, etc.

*This breakdown is subject to change, pending research focus specifics and interests. 


  • Applications open: September 18, 2017
  • Application deadline: January 15, 2018
  • Reference deadline: February 15, 2018
    *After the applicant has successfully submitted their application, an electronic questionnaire is sent to each reference. It is strongly encouraged that applicants notify each of their references about when to expect the questionnaire and the deadline to submit the completed form. Please also suggest references prepare and save their answers in a separate document to avoid losing them if they are timed out online.
  • Finalists interviews: early spring 2018  *All interviews will be conducted in English
  • Winners notified: Late spring/early summer 2018
  • Fellowship begins: July 2018 *Some start date flexibility
  • Fellowship awards dinner and orientation: September 2018 *Mandatory for all fellows



Climate Change Communications

  • In final year of PhD or PhD graduate (from any discipline)
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or have the appropriate work visa required to legally live and work in Canada for the fellowship period

Indigenous knowledge and climate change

  • Must be First Nation, Inuit or Métis
  • Master’s degree or in final year of PhD or PhD graduate (from any discipline)
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or have the appropriate work visa required to legally live and work in Canada for the fellowship period

Climate Change Adaptation and Cities

  • In final year of PhD or PhD graduate (from any discipline)
  • Must be bilingual (French and English). *All parts of the application should be submitted in English except for the video response, which must be submitted in French, and the abstract which must be submitted in both English and French. Candidates that are shortlisted may be asked to demonstrate proficiency in English and French in a pre-interview. Finalists will be interviewed in English.
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or have the appropriate work visa required to legally live and work in Canada for the fellowship period

Selection criteria

  • Embodies David Suzuki’s solutions-focused scientific curiosity, research excellence, ability to bring clarity to complex issues and dedication to motivating people to take action for the planet
  • Promise of emerging as an inspiring environmental leader
  • Graduate research dedicated to, connected to or able to advance climate solutions


  • CV (including list of publications, grants, experience, etc.)
  • Written statement of purpose — include description of academic and professional preparation, how your graduate research links to advancing climate solutions, your specific research project idea for the fellowship you are applying for. (maximum 1,000 words)
  • Video response to: Why are you are applying for this fellowship? What is your vision for the fellowship term (please include description of your proposed research project)? How do you hope to inspire change in the world — what is your piece of the puzzle? The maximum length for the video is five minutes. If applying for the Climate Change Adaption and Cities fellowship, please answer the questions in French. The video can be shot from a mobile device or webcam. The video will be judged on the clarity and content of your answers, not on video production. Please upload the video to YouTube and share the link in the application form. More information on how to upload video and privacy settings here.
  • Written responses to: What’s been your biggest achievement? What’s been your biggest obstacle? In your opinion, what should be done to advance the environmental movement? (250 words maximum for each question)
  • Abstract — include a short bio of yourself and summary of your research proposal. (maximum 250 words total) *If applying for the Climate Change Adaption and Cities fellowship, please answer in both English and French in a combined total of no more than 500 words.
  • Institutional contact information including an institutional email address for at least two academic referees (“anonymous” domains such as @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, etc. will not be accepted). You may submit up to two additional referees from academic, professional or volunteer work. Be sure to inform all referees that you are applying for a David Suzuki Fellowship and that the David Suzuki Foundation will be contacting them by email.
  • Letter of program completion/registration. If you have completed your degree, please attach a digital copy of a letter of program completion or degree conferral from your graduate school. If you have not completed your degree, please attach an official copy of the letter confirming registration that includes your name, degree, department, program start date and expected date of completion.

Selection process

  • Screening by internal committee
  • Finalists chosen by selection panel
  • Top three to five finalists (for each fellowship) interviewed (in English)


Attention applicants! Due to reports of technical issues with the application form, we have extended the submission deadline to January 31, 2018. We encourage you to develop application content offline and only use the form once you’re ready to submit. Please contact fellowships@davidsuzuki.org with your name and phone number if additional support is needed. Our team will follow-up with you directly as soon as possible.

For the Climate Change Adaptation and Cities Fellowship, the video response must be submitted in French and the abstract must be submitted in both French and English. All other parts of the application must be submitted in English.

Final interviews for all fellowships will be in English.

Apply Now



The David Suzuki Fellowships were launched in 2016 to celebrate David Suzuki’s 80th birthday.

Thank you to all our major founding donors. You are empowering the next generation of environmental leaders!

  • Kate Alexander and David Daniels
  • Jennifer C. Allen
  • Ross and Trisha Beaty
  • Donald Bigioni
  • Stewart Brown
  • Michael Budman and Diane Bald
  • Donette Chin-Loy Chang
  • France Chrétien-Desmarais and André Desmarais
  • John A. Fraser
  • Adam Gawn
  • Denyse and Don Green
  • Rohan Hazelton
  • Genuine Health Inc.
  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Rogers Helene L Joy
  • Elizabeth and Rudy Kerklaan
  • John and Marcy McCall MacBain
  • Carol Newell
  • Rudy and Patricia North
  • RBC Foundation
  • John and Carryn Ruffolo
  • Leonard Schein
  • Jane Silverstone-Segal and Herschel Segal
  • Arran and Ratana Stephens
  • Judy and Isaac Thau
  • The Trottier Family Foundation
  • Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese

To find out about making a donation to support the David Suzuki Fellowships, please contact Harpreet Johal, Senior Public Engagement Specialist at hjohal@davidsuzuki.org.