switzer-logoThe Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program offers one-year Fellowships to highly talented graduate students in New England and California who demonstrate outstanding leadership potential, and who are committed to a career in environmental improvement.

The Switzer Fellowship provides:
  • a one-year $15,000 cash award
  • access to other Switzer grant programs and career support
  • membership in the Switzer Fellowship Network, an active and engaged community of nearly 600 environmental leaders in the U.S. and around the world

The Switzer Fellowship is not intended to be a research fellowship.  Leadership potential is a more significant factor in our evaluation than the specifics of a particular graduate research project.  We fund individuals doing a wide variety of innovative, applied environmental work and we fund Fellows in many different disciplines (e.g., science, law, policy, engineering).  We invite you to check out the News and Issues pages of our website for an idea of the breadth of issues and caliber of work our Fellows are doing.

The application deadline is January 8, 2018. More information is available on the Switzer website.


robert c. switzer
Bob Switzer

The Switzer Fellowships were created by a Cal alumnus, Bob Switzer, who came to UC Berkeley on a Scaife Foundation scholarship to study chemistry, aiming at a career in medicine. While working in a rail yard, Switzer suffered a head injury that sent him into a coma for months. His recovery required him to stay in a darkened room. To pass the time, he and his brother Joe, both amateur magicians, experimented with fluorescent minerals to enhance magic tricks. They invented the world’s first fluorescent paint. As they devised a variety of uses — including making money — for what Bob called Day-Glo colors, they founded a company. Over the years, the high-visibility colors have appeared on warplanes, tennis and golf balls, traffic signs and cones, safety clothing, detergent boxes, and more. A lifelong environmentalist who also happened to be an executive in a regulated industry, Bob Switzer became concerned about a growing dearth of scientific expertise, so when the company sold in 1985, he used some of the proceeds to start the Switzer Foundation in order to help graduate students interested in solving environmental problems and to encourage them to become future environmental leaders. Today, the Foundation supports a network of over 500 Switzer Fellows who are leaders in the nonprofit, public policy, business, academic and government sectors.


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