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$100,000 and two years for a great idea

education Updated: Nov 12, 2014 13:50 IST
Aanchal Bedi
Aanchal Bedi
Hindustan Times
fellowship

For some, a traditional classroom setting doesn’t suffice. Those longing for an innovative environment and alternative paths to success can find the answer in the Thiel Fellowship. Created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, the Thiel Foundation awards separate grants of $1,00,000 to 20 young people per year who wish to chase their entrepreneurial endeavours in Silicon Valley or anywhere else over the course of two years.

Thiel Fellows are mentored by highly accomplished entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, thinkers, and innovators of the Thiel network. Thiel Fellows take a two-year hiatus from the classroom to focus on creating innovative startups.

“Each passing year should bring more opportunities for young people, not fewer. Yet student debt continues to skyrocket, career prospects remain grim, and it becomes increasingly clear that there are no safe or simple bets for the rising generation,” says Jonathan Cain, president of Thiel Foundation.

During the two-year fellowship, Thiel Fellows work on their innovative ideas full-time, and they determine their specific paths; this might mean starting a company, but it could also mean doing freelance work, developing a social movement, interning at another company, or pursuing research and development independently. Teams of up to four are also encouraged to apply.

“Innovation has stagnated over the past several decades. We need more technological innovation in areas such as agriculture, transportation, biology. Students take on debts which are preventing them from starting companies that can improve the world. They’re forced to take safe jobs to service that debt,” says Danielle Strachman, programme director of the Thiel Fellowship. Since 2011, more than 80 young people have been awarded Thiel Fellowships and have worked on projects in network security, app development, and so on.

Since the Thiel Fellowship was launched in 2011, more than 80 young people have been awarded Thiel Fellowships and pursued projects to expand the frontiers of fields such as network security, app development, neural networks, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, crypto currency, 3D printing, mobile health, alternative energy, public health, education, finance, gaming, data streaming and cloud storage.

Timeline for the 2015 applications
Apply by November 20, 2014 for mentors from the Thiel network to be considered for a winter break externship
For a spring internship or a job opportunity, candidates must apply by December 15, 2014
Final deadline for application submission is January 15, 2015
Visit here www.thielfellowship.org/apply/ to apply for the fellowship

Innovation has stagnated over the past several decades. We need more technological innovation in areas such as agriculture, transportation. --- Danielle Strachman, programme director, thiel fellowship