Emergent Ventures Fellowship Application

We want to jumpstart high-reward ideas—moonshots in many cases—that advance prosperity, opportunity, liberty, and well-being. We welcome the unusual and the unorthodox.

Our goal is positive social change, but we do not mind if you make a profit from your project. (Indeed, a quick path to revenue self-sufficiency is a feature not a bug!)

Projects will either be fellowships or grants: fellowships involve time in residence at the Mercatus Center in Northern Virginia; grants are one-time or slightly staggered payments to support a project. 

We encourage you to think big, but we also will consider very small grants or short fellowships if they might change the trajectory of your life. We encourage applications from all ages and all parts of the world. 

Get started

The first stage of the application is answering a few basic questions and attaching a brief proposal. Once we receive it, we’ll follow up with you about next steps, or let you know that we have declined.

The proposal should consist of a proposal no longer than 1500 words outlining your idea, which can be attached as a Word, plain text, RTF, PDF, or similar document. You may send supplementary materials in separate files, but the three-page proposal we read first has to stand on its own.

  • The first part of the proposal should be about you. Tell us your personal story, and how it relates to what you wish to do. We probably don’t care much about your formal education, credentials, or awards, unless they’re particularly germane to who you are or your idea. Do tell us your background briefly, but credentials are not what will impress us.
  • Second, what is one mainstream or "consensus" view that you absolutely agree with? (This is our version of a “trick” question, reversing the now-fashionable contrarianism.)
  • The third part should be about your idea. Convince us that this is a great idea worth investing in, and tell us what is new or unusual in your vision and understanding. What’s the problem you intend to solve? If you have a ballpark budget (with revenue sources and expenses), let us know the bare basics now; we won’t hold you to it strictly. 

Also (if applicable) tell us how long you have been working on this project or idea, whether you will be working on it full time or part time, any existing formal or informal partnerships or supporters, and how you might intend to reach your users or audience.

Where are you physically located most of the time?
Are you applying for a fellowship, a grant, or are you undecided at this time?
How do you describe your idea in a tweet?
Please attach your proposal as a Word, plain text, RTF, PDF, or similar document. You may include up to three additional files (decks, documentation, etc.), but you are under no obligation to do so.
Files must be less than 100 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png bmp eps tif pict psd txt rtf pdf doc docx odt ppt pptx odp xls xlsx ods avi mov mp3 ogg wav.
Files must be less than 100 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png bmp eps tif pict psd txt rtf pdf doc docx odt ppt pptx odp xls xlsx ods avi mov mp3 ogg wav.
Files must be less than 100 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png bmp eps tif pict psd txt rtf pdf doc docx odt ppt pptx odp xls xlsx ods avi mov mp3 ogg wav.
Files must be less than 100 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png bmp eps tif pict psd txt rtf pdf doc docx odt ppt pptx odp xls xlsx ods avi mov mp3 ogg wav.