Apply to be a TED Fellow, 2021
The TED Fellows Program convenes young world-changers, academics and trailblazers who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage in their respective disciplines, selected through an intensive application, interview and research process. The program provides transformational support to a global network of 490+ visionaries – scientists, academic researchers, artists, activists, entrepreneurs, doctors, journalists and inventors – who collaborate and share new ideas and research across disciplines to create positive change around the world.
The TED Fellows program provides transformational support to a global community of over 490+ remarkable individuals who are collaborating across disciplines to spark positive change around the world.
Every year the TED Fellows program selects a new group of extraordinary, multidisciplinary individuals by open application. We look for innovators on the rise in their respective fields who are doing bold, original work.
How it works
Every year, through a rigorous open application process, TED selects a group of rising stars to participate in one of the most competitive and highly selective fellowship programs in the world. When reviewing applicants and nominees, TED deploys a dedicated staff of onsite researchers and analysts as well as a team of external fact-checkers, thought leaders and experts to collectively determine each submission’s level of innovation, expertise and potential for impact. We choose Fellows based on their remarkable achievements, their strength of character and their innovative approach to studying and solving the world’s tough problems. Fellows are invited to attend a TED conference, where they meet, exchange ideas and connect with the larger TED community. They also give their own TED Talk – an unprecedented opportunity to disseminate their unique ideas and innovative research outcomes to the world. Every talk by a Fellow goes through the same rigorous coaching, fact-checking and vetting process as a mainstage TED talk.
Once selected, Fellows receive transformational support. Fellows participate in professional coaching and mentoring and work with a public relations expert dedicated to sharing their latest projects with the world. TED Fellows participate in an active online network and attend regional meet-ups and retreats for an explosion of conversation and ideas. All TED Fellows also have the opportunity to apply for a Senior Fellowship and grow their leadership in the Fellows community. The TED Fellows program has been designed specifically to help participants advance their research – and to help them connect with and educate the world at large.
Who should apply
We look for different applicants than many other leadership-oriented programs. Instead of business people, policy wonks and government officials, the TED Fellows program focuses on doers, makers, inventors, advocates, filmmakers and photographers, musicians and artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, NGO heads, and human rights activists.
In addition to impressive accomplishment, fine character and a good heart are also important traits we look for in TED Fellows. More than anything, this focus on character has defined the success of the TED Fellows program.
- An idea worth spreading!
- A completed online application consisting of general biographical information, short paragraphs on your work and three references. (It’s fun, and it’ll make you think…)
- You must be at least 18 years old to apply.
- You must be fluent in English.
- You must be excited to participate in a collaborative, interdisciplinary global community.
- You must be available May 29–June 4, 2021.
- You become part of a diverse, collaborative and global community of more than 500 emerging and established experts.
- You receive professional development through virtual workshops and webinars.
- You gain valuable feedback from TED’s expert coaches on how to hone, express and communicate your work and your ideas.
- You will give a TED Talk (at a virtual or live event, depending on the state of the global pandemic).
- You’ll receive career coaching and mentorship from our team of professional coaches.
- You’ll get public relations guidance and media training.
- You’ll participate in virtual programming for TED Fellows.
- You will have the opportunity to participate in and contribute to a thriving and connected global community.
- You will get a possible invitation to attend the special TEDMonterey conference in Monterey, California. (Note: while we are currently planning on an in-person conference in Monterey [May 29–June 4, 2021], given the global pandemic this conference may be cancelled and the TED Fellowship may become entirely virtual. This will depend on expert advice and local health safety protocols.)
- TED are currently planning to invite our next class to an in-person conference in Monterey (May 29- June 4, 2021), given the global pandemic this conference may be canceled and the TED Fellowship may become entirely virtual, depending on expert advice and local health safety protocols. As always, the process of Fellows preparing their TED Talks with the TED Fellows team will be done virtually through online meetings, as well as additional Fellows programming.
The selection process
TED Fellows are selected by the program staff, with extensive reference checking and consultation with experts across all fields.
There is no algorithm for how we select our TED Fellows. We select Fellows based on their accomplishments in their respective fields, the potential impact of their work and also their character. The ideal applicant is multidisciplinary and collaborative in their pursuits and is at a moment in their career to maximize the support of the TED community.