No fellowships awarded for September 2017

by SF Team, 4 July 2017

Featured Image
Created by Christopher Sessums (CC BY 2.0)

We have decided not to award any Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowships for the September 2017 round.

While it was a difficult conclusion to come to, we have always been prepared not to offer fellowships if we did not find any applications we felt truly met our criteria. In communicating the decision, we want to be honest, open and transparent in order to find future Fellows we do feel we can support and would benefit from our help.

We would like to live in an open knowledge society with limitless possibilities for all. That means a social context in which everyone has the opportunity and ability to freely access the information, knowledge, communities and resources they need to make and enact the best decisions, for themselves and those around them. Our Fellowship programme is designed to support this, and we know it is most beneficial when we work with those who think differently, question conventional wisdom, and see a clear pathway through or around existing systems to apply this thinking.

When we review applications, we ask ourselves:

  • What is the problem statement, and does it resonate with us?
  • What is the big vision for social change?
  • What is the fresh thinking being applied?
  • What role does open play, and does it actually make a substantive difference?
  • What is the time frame for making progress?
  • What difference is our support likely to make?
  • Do we believe in them as the person to make it happen?

Even if all of these questions could be answered positively, the applications in this round did not truly demonstrate that to us. In no way do we see this as a failure on our part or the applicants’. It is an opportunity for us all to do better, think broader, be bolder.

So what comes next? We have critically reviewed our theory of change, our criteria and our selection processes, and found that for now, they still hold. We are pushing ourselves to express our message more clearly, especially to people, spaces and ideas we are not yet connected with. We also encourage readers to spread the word to individuals and ideas they believe to be exceptional.

We want to commend everyone who put themselves forward to apply. You have dedicated yourselves to making the world a better place and are doing inspiring work. Just because we could not find a good fit this time, it does not mean your work is not good or valuable in the world.

As we prepare for the next intake and beyond, Sunil Abraham has agreed to stay on as honorary steward for the March 2018 fellowship round. We greatly value his support, input and commitment to this process.

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