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Conservation + Innovation

Shaping the next generation of environmental leaders

If you’re passionate or at least curious about the natural world and the extraordinary diversity of life on Earth, and want to contribute to keeping our planet a healthy, life-sustaining home for millions of species, then the Conservation + Innovation (formerly Conservation + Tech) track may be for you!

In May 2019, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published a report emphasizing that close to one million species are currently threatened with extinction. More importantly, according to the IPBES this mass extinction trend will not improve without transformative change, meaning “a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.” Thus, our aim is to recruit, motivate, train, support, and uplift those students who are interested in developing technology innovations that improve the quality of life on Earth, not only for themselves, but for everyone, including Earth’s other life forms. 

In partnership with the Rausser College of Natural Resources, this track follows the Fung Fellowship model of experiential, team- and project-based learning focused on creating technology solutions for conservation and environmental health challenges with a particular emphasis on maintaining biodiversity. Fellows in this track will work with nonprofits and other industry partners on real-world conservation challenges while engaging with stakeholder communities to better understand and address their needs for living more harmoniously with nature.

As a Fung Fellow in the Conservation + Innovation track you will:

  • Engage with stakeholder communities to better understand and address their needs for living more harmoniously with nature
  • Experience the innovation and design process from prototype to product
  • Embed within communities and work with partner organizations to co-create solutions
  • Establish yourself as a leader in an emerging field in biodiversity and environmental conservation
  • Have access to professional development and exploratory opportunities, such as conferences, site visits, networking events, workshops and other career development resources

Qualifications & Requirements:

  • Registered student at UC Berkeley
  • Rising junior or rising senior (sophomore or junior standing when applying) with a passion or curiosity for conservation, biodiversity, social impact, design, and technology.

Application for UC Berkeley rising juniors and seniors

Applications are currently closed. We accept applications once per year. The Fung Fellowship application for rising juniors and seniors open in December and is due in February for fall enrollment.

Application for UC Berkeley transfers

The Fung Fellowship application for transfer students is due in Friday, July 21, 2023 for fall enrollment.

Example Student Projects with Partner Organizations:

The Conservation + Innovation track follows the Fung Fellowship 1+1 model of experiential learning by pairing student teams with organizations currently on the frontlines of biodiversity conservation. These partnerships are critical to our model’s intensive use of real-world challenges. Here are just a few examples of the conservation organizations that have already stepped up to support our students.

Centre for Wildlife Studies
Centre for Wildlife Studies
Telephants: Reducing Human-Elephant Conflict through an Innovative Detection System
Shark Stewards
Shark Stewards
Shark Seekers: Creating Community Opportunities and Incentives for Shark Conservation
NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center
NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center
CalSound: Coalescing Data on Ocean Sounds to Better Manage Marine Mammal Environments

“[This] was a fantastic experience … I learned a lot about myself and how to be a better team member in the future. Although before the FF, I started to prepare myself for a career in Conservation Biology; this experience brought even more reassurance that I chose the best path for life as well as [provided a] unique experience of how community-based conservation is done in the real world. Thank you!” – Erica Varon Rodriguez, B.S. Conservation and Resource Studies ‘22

Partner Organizations:

Since launching the Conservation + Innovation track in 2020, we have worked with a broad range of conservation organizations and other industry partners around the globe, including: Wildlife Conservation Network, Shark Stewards, Environmental Finance Center West, hi-impact UK, Save Our Soil, NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Civic Design Studio, Earth Island Institute, Centre for Wildlife Studies, and Ocean Associates.

Learn more about our program

If you’re ready for training, skill building, real-world opportunities, and recognition for making positive impacts in biodiversity conservation, then we encourage you to apply to the Fung Fellowship Conservation + Innovation track today!


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