Schmidt Science Fellows was launched in 2017 by Eric Schmidt and Wendy Schmidt and is a program of Schmidt Futures, delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust. The program has an initial commitment of at least $25 million for the first three years and is the beginning of a broader $100 million effort by Eric Schmidt and Wendy Schmidt to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research over the next decade and beyond.
Eric Schmidt is technical advisor to Alphabet, a member of its board of directors, and former executive chairman.
Eric joined Google in 2001 and helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. He served as Google’s Chief Executive Officer from 2001-2011, and as chairman from 2011-2015. Prior to Google, Eric held leadership roles at Novell and Sun Microsystems, Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Eric is Chairman of the Department of Defense’s Innovation Board and was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Public Service by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
He is the co-author of The New Digital Age and How Google Works, and serves on the boards of the Mayo Clinic and the Broad Institute.
Eric was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science 2009-2017. In 2013, Eric and Jared Cohen co-authored The New York Times bestselling book, The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives. In September 2014, Eric published his second New York Times bestseller, How Google Works, which he and Jonathan Rosenberg co-authored with Alan Eagle. Eric became the Chairman of the Department of Defense’s Innovation Board in 2016 and was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in January of 2017 by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Wendy Schmidt is President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, where she works to advance the development of renewable energy and the wiser use of natural resources. The Foundation houses its grant-making operation in The 11th Hour Project, supporting more than 150 non-profit organizations around the world in program areas including clean energy, healthy food systems and human rights. The Foundation also includes Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, which uses a venture philanthropy model to support the development of ocean technologies with compelling conservation and research applications as well as strong commercialization potential.
In 2010, Wendy co-founded 11th Hour Racing, to promote sustainability in the sailing and maritime industries, harnessing the power of sport through engagement with grantees, partners and ambassadors. 11th Hour Racing was the Exclusive Sustainability Partner for Land Rover BAR, the British team that competed in the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. It is also a co-title sponsor with Vestas for the team currently competing in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, and serves as the Sustainability Founding Principal Partner of the Volvo Ocean Race.
In 2009, Wendy Schmidt and her husband, Eric, created the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI), and in 2012 launched the research vessel, Falkor, as a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze the sharing of information about the oceans. Since 2012, Falkor has hosted more than 500 scientists from 29 countries, has mapped nearly a quarter of a million miles of ocean floor in high resolution, and has hosted the discovery of new ocean features, ecosystems and species.
In 2010 and 2012, Wendy partnered with The XPrize Foundation to sponsor two multimillion dollar competitions that generated innovations to greatly improve surface oil spill clean up and to create a new generation of accurate and affordable ocean acidification sensors.
In the fall of 2017, Wendy and Eric Schmidt launched the Schmidt Science Fellows program, a post-doctoral fellowship that provides the next generation of leaders and innovators with the tools and opportunities to drive world-changing advances across the sciences and society. With an initial commitment of at least $25M for the first three years, the effort is the beginning of a broader $100M commitment to promote scientific leadership and interdisciplinary research.
Wendy Schmidt is the lead philanthropic partner for The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Initiative (NPEC), which brings together a broad group of global companies, cities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs, and citizens to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, beginning with packaging.
Wendy Schmidt earned an M.J. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College.