Design, Education, Social Impact

2016 Fuller Challenge Fellowship Program


The Fuller Challenge Program

Each year, The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) invites scientists, planners, designers, architects, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and students from all over the world to submit solutions for addressing humanity’s most pressing problems. Named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”, the Fuller Challenge attracts bold, visionary initiatives focused on critically important, well-defined social and environmental needs. Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approaches to solving complex problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

The Fellowship Program

The Fellowship Program is meant to enhance rigorous discourse in the Fuller Challenge review process by bringing additional voices and perspectives into the discussion.

The Fuller Challenge Fellowship is designed to attract engaged students and recent graduates from diverse backgrounds and sectors for hands-on experience assessing whole-system design projects. The Fellowship presents an interdisciplinary, collaborative opportunity, as participants will work closely with BFI Staff and the Fuller Challenge Review Team to review hundreds of diverse entries to the Challenge. Fellows will deeply engage with the Challenge criteria and learn how to evaluate proposals using the same rigorous framework across disciplines.

Fellows will perform independent research, participate in weekly meetings, and aid in tasks related to the Fuller Challenge Interview and Deliberation processes.

The Fuller Challenge Fellowship provides:

1) Orientation and resources to apply critical thinking and decision-making skills using the Fuller Challenge entries;

2) A rare opportunity to contextualize and unpack systemic problems and innovative solutions;

3) The opportunity to work intimately with members of BFI’s network in a unique forum for dialog and consensus-building

4) The inspiration that comes with reading hundreds of proposals from across the world, all reflecting active efforts to make the world work for 100% of humanity!


  • Minimum of 2-3 years experience studying or working in the fields of sustainability, social entrepreneurship, design, architecture, planning, public health, policy, food systems, international development, or a related field;
  • Deep interest in whole-system design theory and practice;
  • Availability to commit approximately 15 hours per week for reviewing projects remotely and attending Wednesday afternoon review sessions in the BFI office from April-June 2016
  • Optional: Availability to participate in phone interviews during the month of June and to be present at Deliberation at the end of July

    To Apply please send your resume and a cover letter that includes answers to the questions below to [email protected]. The cover letter should tell us why you are interested in working with BFI and confirm your availability during the duration of the Fellowship.

    1) What academic or professional experiences have you had in socially and economically sustainable systems and/or problem-solving frameworks?
    2) What has led you to your interest in whole systems thinking?
    3) Extrapolate on the skills or perspective that you can bring to the review team.

    Please apply by March 12th, 2016.

    For more information on BFI and the Fuller Challenge visit