Chang Pivoting Fellowship

The world needs visionaries with expertise in optics and photonics.

Application Dates
15 Apr 2022 - 30 May 2022
Program Prize

USD 50,000


The Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship provides unrestricted funding to talented, early-career optical scientists and engineers who believe their expertise can improve society outside of the lab. We encourage those with vision and exceptional talent to apply and pursue a newfound passion.

The fellowship is an investment in a person’s commitment to advancing science through non-traditional career paths such as public policy, government, and journalism.



Application Information

How to Apply

Applications will be available at

Important Dates

Opens: 15 April 2022
Closes 30 May 2022

Applicant Requirements

Be a current early career member who has received a terminal degree within the last five - seven years or will receive a terminal degree by the application deadline.

Program requirements recognize and exclude career breaks from career timelines (e.g. eldercare, maternity or paternity leave). 

Application Requirements
  • Statement of Intent (500 words or less)
    • Highlight your intent to leverage your scientific expertise and knowledge to the betterment of the field and society outside of the traditional career paths.
    • Include your goals and objectives, skills to be applied or gained and strengths to be developed
  • Personal Statement (500 words or less)
    • Share how your life experiences have shaped who you are.
    • Include how you want to pivot your career.
  • CV/ resume
  • Two references

2021 Selection Committee

  • Thomas. Baer, Stanford University
  • Janet Fender, US Air Force
  • Ursula Gibson, Norges Teknisk Naturvitenskapelige University, Optica Past President
  • Linda Smith, Ceres Technology Advisors, Inc.
  • Nirmal Punjabi, Indian Institute of Technology and 2020 fellow

2020 Recipient

Nirmal Punjabi
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India

Punjabi received his Master of Technology and Ph.D. in optical biosensors from IIT Bombay, where he is currently a Project Research Scientist at the National Centre of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security. His work focuses on leading the design, development and validation of hand-held fiber-optic sensing devices for bacteria detection in water.

“I want to live in a world where the end user, anybody, can have access to the optical sensors; where they can check the quality of water they are drinking or air they are breathing and live a good life.”

Past Recipients

Araceli Venegas-Gómez, University of Strathclyde, UK (2019)


The Pivoting Fellowship was generously endowed by Milton & Rosalind Chang.

About the Endowment