Impact Scholars FAQ

Ready to dive deeper into the world of Impact Scholars? Here are answers to some common questions.

What is the selection process for the Impact Scholars program?

Applications are due by the date posted on the application website. Our selection committee, consisting of Singularity University staff and faculty, reviews applications as they are received. Once you’ve submitted an application, you’ll be notified of our decision by email at least fourteen calendar days prior to the date of the SU Global Summit. You will then be asked to submit online forms signifying your formal acceptance of the Engagement and the program’s terms and conditions.

What are you looking for in potential Impact Scholars?

We’re looking for visionary leaders who intend to use exponentially advancing technologies is solve what we call global grand challenges (GGCs). If you’re a battle-tested, dedicated leader and are equipped to make meaningful and sustained impact in your chosen field, we want to hear from you!

You’re a strong candidate if one or more of the following describe you:

  • Social impact rockstar in a nonprofit, NGO, or government agency
  • Tech-domain expert or innovation leader focused on social impact
  • Academic leader who’s training the next generation in entrepreneurship and technology
  • Global citizen, especially from a developing or emerging market
  • Innovative entrepreneur or investor leveraging cutting-edge tech for social good

You’re an excellent candidate if you possess the above expertise in social impact and also have:

  • Potential to create impact using technology, as demonstrated by ideas presented in your work plan
  • Excellent professional performance and a demonstrated record of achievement

What are the selection criteria for the program?

Specifically, we evaluate Impact Scholar candidates according to the following selection criteria:

  • Demonstrated potential to contribute to community diversity
  • Ability to create exponential impact
  • Professional performance and achievements
  • Expertise focused on social impact

What benefits do Impact Scholars receive?

If you’re selected as an Impact Scholar, you will receive:

  • Program fees to cover entrance into the SU Global Summit
  • Recognition on our website 
  • Connection to the global SU network
  • Speaking opportunities at SU programs or events, as requested
  • Recognition of project outcomes as an SU Impact Initiative

What expenses are not covered by the program?

The Impact Scholars program does not provide funding for the following:

  • Travel expenses to/from Global Summit
  • Lodging expenses for participation in Global Summit
  • Stipends for living expenses, seed funding for their Impact Initiative, or other funding
  • Leisure and entertainment expenses while attending the selected program
  • Travel visa fees, if required

What are the preconditions to final acceptance?

In order to be considered for the Impact Scholars program, you must:

  • Be age 21 or older on the first day of the SU Global Summit
  • Meet all application requirements for SU Global Summit
  • Have a valid US passport or be able to promptly secure a visa that permits travel to/from the United States and permission to stay in the United States to attend the SU Global Summit
  • Agree to applicable SU Global Summit agreements, terms and conditions, and policies

What are the Impact Scholar requirements?

To complete the program, you will be expected to:

  • Attend the SU Global Summit in person - Impact Scholars are neither expected nor encouraged to remain at SU after the SU Global Summit 
  • Prepare, and submit to Impact Scholars Program Manager for approval, a detailed work plan targeting achievements, milestones, and success metrics for the program period to include (as applicable):
    • Interviews, written articles or posts
    • Featured video describing your experience at Singularity University
    • Presentation or facilitation of an SU program following the SU Global Summit, as requested by SU (travel and lodging expenses will be reimbursed by SU, however no speaking honorarium or other speaking fee will be provided)
  • Attend required program meetings (e.g., regularly scheduled check-ins, one-on-one meetings, project presentations, etc.)

All of this sounds amazing. Can SU alumni apply?

Unfortunately, no. Singularity University Impact Scholars is open to those who have not previously attended an SU program. It is our intention to expose new global changemakers to SU programming who have not yet had the opportunity, especially those who do not have the ability to pay. We do invite our alumni to recommend leaders in their regions as we search for social impact and innovation rockstars from all corners of the globe.

What expenses would I need to cover in order to be an Impact Scholar?

In our programs, we aim to convene an inclusive and collaborative community of innovators from around the globe. We’re especially interested in broadening the SU community beyond the artificial barriers of gender, sector, and geography. And we want to ensure that participants don’t have to worry about the ability to pay.

As a result, if you are accepted to the Impact Scholars program, SU will completely waive the program fee so you can join us—free of charge—at the SU Global Summit. However, SU does not cover travel expenses to/from the program or lodging.

Does my application need to discuss a new idea or venture? Or can I apply with a startup I've already founded?

You can apply with either a new idea/venture or an existing one. However, keep in mind that one of the key purposes of the Impact Scholars program is to create new social Impact Initiatives all around the world. To fulfill the requirements of the program, your Impact Initiative has to be something new that you create. If you already have a startup, your work plan can be based on that existing organization if desired—however, your Impact Initiative would need to be an organizational innovation such as a new business model or a new product.

Can I attend this program if I am part of a similar program?

Yes. Selection into the Singularity University Impact Scholars program is independent of participation in an outside or similar program. However, we expect your full engagement, and you should ensure you’ll be able to manage all of your commitments if you’re accepted and choose to join the program.

What are the start and end dates of the program?

Once accepted, the program will begin with your learning experience at the SU Global Summit, where you will gain an exponential mindset before returning to your community to implement your Impact Initiative. The program start date is dependent on when the selected program begins. 

For the idea presented in my work plan, am I completing the project alone or I am pulling together a team to apply with me?

The Impact Scholars program is for individual applicants. However, you may require a team (or start a company) in order to launch a major project or initiative. We do not limit who you work with on your Impact Initiative. Your application will not be evaluated based on how many people you do or do not plan to work with. However, we provide sponsored program fees only for the selected Impact Scholar.

Does participation in the program require quitting my current job? If so, is there some sort of stipend to help make ends meet?

We do not require you to quit your job to participate as an Impact Scholar. However, all Impact Scholars are required to attend their selected program before returning home to implement their Impact Initiatives. Depending on your employer, you may need to request time off to attend the educational program for which you are selected. How much time you dedicate to your Impact Initiative thereafter, and whether or not that requires you to discontinue employment or take a leave of absence, is completely up to you. Some Impact Scholars will quit their jobs to start a new company, while others will continue working while they implement an internal project within their current company. Either way, we do not provide stipends.

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