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 will look into the role of the electricity utility in facilitating distributed renewable energy. He will be researching the competitiveness impacts of carbon pricing and determining the impact of deliberative dialogues on Canada’s energy future.

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 will research renewable energy models that can be replicated in communities, push for more progressive renewable energy policy and implement renewable energy projects in communities across Canada.

Jérôme Laviolette

Jérôme Laviolette

MA in applied science

Transportation and Climate Change Fellow

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

For the fellowship, Jérôme will focus on better understanding individual car dependency and the barriers and opportunities to change this behaviour. He will work 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.


The David Suzuki Fellowship program will empower emerging scholars to tackle complex environmental problems. It will reduce financial barriers, provide mentorship and foster leadership and creativity so fellows can conduct research and engage and inform the public and policy-makers.


A total of three fellowships are available, one in Montreal, one in Toronto and one in Vancouver. Each will be for one year (with the potential for renewal) and will consist of:

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

Research theme for 2017-18

In the program’s inaugural year, three fellows from different disciplines will work together to find climate change solutions to accelerate Canada’s transition to a low-carbon future:

Vancouver: Stanely Park seawall by Siwash Rock, sunset light


Renewable energy and/or climate change economics

The Vancouver-based fellow will join the Foundation’s Science and Policy team and research innovative clean energy solutions and/or the economics of sustainable development. Candidates from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Toronto: skyline with CN tower, sunrise


Indigenous knowledge and climate change

The Toronto-based fellow will join the Foundation’s Ontario and Northern Canada team and 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) to be eligible.

Montreal: male cycling down street, awning of restaurant behind him. Photo by Chris Bruntlett


Transportation, energy and climate change

The Montreal-based fellow will join the Foundation’s Quebec and Atlantic Canada team and work on regional and/or national transportation, energy and climate change issues. Issues may include (but are not limited to) green transit planning and the development of sustainable cities. Candidates from all disciplines are encouraged to apply and must be bilingual (French and English).

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 as a member of the Foundation team. The fellow will learn government relations, communications and community engagement. They 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: November 2, 2016
  • Application deadline: February 5, 2017  *References have until February 20, 2017 to submit the electronic questionnaire (sent via email once application has been submitted)fellows
  • Finalists interviews: late March/April 2017 *All applicants will be notified whether or not they are selected as a finalist
  • Winners notified: spring 2017
  • Fellowship awards dinner and orientation: May 2017 *Mandatory for all fellows
  • Fellowship begins: June 2017 *Some start date flexibility



  • Master’s degree OR in final year of PhD OR PhD graduate (in any discipline)
  • Have not received OR expect to receive any other significant financial support or award (more than $20,000) for the duration of the David Suzuki Fellowship
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or have the appropriate work visa required to legally live and work in Canada for the fellowship period

*Montreal-based fellow must be bilingual (French and English). Application submitted in French; finalist interview in English.
*Toronto- based fellow must be an Indigenous person (First Nation, Inuit or Métis).

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? How do you hope to inspire change in the world — what is your piece of the puzzle? (maximum three to five minutes) The video can be shot from a mobile device or webcam. 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? Where do you see yourself in five years? (250 words maximum for each question)
  • 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)


Applications for the 2017 fellowships are now closed. The 2018 fellowships will be announced in late summer 2017.

NOTE: References have until February 20, 2017 to submit the electronic questionnaire (sent via email when the 2017 fellowship application was submitted).


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
  • Stewart Brown
  • Michael Budman and Diane Bald
  • Donette Chin-Loy Chang
  • France Chrétien-Desmarais and André Desmarais
  • Denyse and Don Green
  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • 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

To find out about making a donation to support the David Suzuki Fellowships, please contact Jeremy Douglas, Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships at jdouglas@davidsuzuki.org or 604-732-4228 ext. 1232.