The Schmidt Science Fellows, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, is the first initiative of Schmidt Futures, which works to advance scientific knowledge, drive the transformation of society through technology, and promote shared prosperity.
Schmidt Futures serves the public alongside other longstanding, independent efforts of the Schmidts, which include both The Schmidt Family Foundation and the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
Since its creation in 1903, the Rhodes Trust has been a globally recognized leader in the selection and development of leadership in academia and society.
Through this partnership with the Schmidt Science Fellows program, the Trust is fulfilling its mission by identifying talented bright, young minds in the fields of science and engineering in order to improve upon their scientific expertise, leadership and management skills.
Before becoming Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, Mr Conn was Senior Advisor to the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. At the Moore Foundation his conservation projects included the preservation of wild salmon ecosystems and the Palmyra Atoll biological research station. His investment company, Redjuice Capital, focused on technology and clean energy companies and he sits on several company and non-profit boards or advisory committees, including Patagonia, the Arcadia Foundation, the Oxford Internet Institute and the Atlantic Salmon Foundation. Charles is also a Professorial Fellow of Balliol College.
Earlier in his career, Mr Conn was the CEO of Ticketmaster-Citysearch, having co-founded Citysearch in 1995 and overseen the merger with Ticketmaster and the company’s public share offering. Prior to starting TMCS, Charles was a Partner with McKinsey & Company, and a leader of its growth strategy and energy practices. In 2001 he was selected as a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
Mr Conn holds a BA from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. During his time in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, he achieved First Class Honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Mr Conn is a citizen of both Canada and the United States.
Eric Schmidt is the executive chairman of Alphabet Inc. He is responsible for the external matters of all of the holding company’s businesses, including Google Inc., advising their CEOs and leadership on business and policy issues.
Prior to the establishment of Alphabet, Eric was the chairman of Google Inc. for four years. From 2001-2011, Eric served as Google’s chief executive officer, overseeing the company’s technical and business strategy alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Under his leadership, Google dramatically scaled its infrastructure and diversified its product offerings while maintaining a strong culture of innovation, growing from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology.
Prior to joining Google, Eric was the chairman and CEO of Novell and chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc. Previously, he served on the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Bell Laboratories and Zilog. 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.
Eric was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a fellow in 2007. Since 2008, he has been a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Since 2012, Eric has been on the board of the Broad Institute and the Mayo Clinic. 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, which supports more than 150 non-profit organizations around the world in program areas including renewable energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and our maritime connection through it 11th Hour Racing program.
In 2009, Wendy Schmidt and her husband, Eric Schmidt, 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 26 countries.
To further her commitment to ocean issues, in 2010 Wendy Schmidt partnered with XPRIZE, following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, to sponsor the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, a $1.4 million competition designed to identify efficient and innovative solutions to clean up surface oil spills.
Wendy Schmidt once again partnered with XPRIZE in 2012 to design the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a $2 million purse, awarded in July, 2015, where competitors responded to the global need for accurate and available sensors to more broadly measure the signs of ocean acidification, one of the harbingers of climate change.
Wendy Schmidt is the Lead Philanthropic Partner of the New Plastics Economy Initiative, which is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Wendy earned an M.J. in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College.
Sir John Hood is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robertson Foundation, and Chair of the Rhodes Trust. He also serves as a director on the Board of WPP plc; and as Chairman of BMT Group and Study Group Limited.
From 2004 to 2009, Sir John served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. He served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland from 1999 to 2004.
Sir John earned a Bachelor of Engineering and a PhD in Civil Engineering from The University of Auckland. Sir John has been appointed a Knight Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit.