Global Solutions Program

Frequently asked questions from applicants and participants

What are the dates of the Global Solutions Program (GSP)?

Singularity University's (SU) 2017 GSP program has concluded. You can sign up to be notified when you can apply for future cohorts.

What is expected of me during and after attending the GSP?

As a participant in the GSP, we will expect you to maintain full attendance, participate in official activities, form a team of 2-5 people, collaborate to develop a moonshot innovation (ideally related to climate change), commit to continuing to build a viable startup post-GSP, and become part of SU’s long-term entrepreneurial journey, depending on the success of your GSP team project. 

GSP is the beginning of a long-term process. Building a moonshot startup can take several years or more, given the intended scope, scale, and impact of this type of venture. Therefore, you should enter the program with that expectation, ability, and commitment level.

What is the GSP daily experience like?

GSP is an extremely intense experience, in the best possible way! A typical day runs from 9am to 9pm, with breaks for meals and wellness. The curriculum includes lectures, interactive Q&A sessions, workshops, and visits to various companies and organizations around Silicon Valley. 

We’ll expect you to be in residence at SU and in attendance on a full-time basis throughout the entire 9-week program. Come prepared to invest 100% of your energy on the GSP experience, with no lingering obligations (e.g., pre-existing business, work commitments, etc).

This is a big commitment: you’re about to create a new company! As such, we'll expect you to remain involved well beyond the duration of this initial stage in its development.

How much does it cost to attend the GSP program?

The program itself is free of charge. Program fees, paid for either by a GIC sponsor or Google funding, include housing, scheduled meals, academic materials, and site visits.

However, program funding does not include your travel and related expenses. Participants will need to cover the following expenses independently:

  • Travel expenses to and from the program
  • Personal care items

How many participants attend GSP?

In total, there will 90 amazing people attending GSP from around the world. That’s a lot of new friends!​

Where is GSP held?

The GSP is held on Singularity University’s campus at NASA Research Park in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Learn more about NASA Research Park's facilities at  www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/home/index.html.

What are the living accommodations and provided meals like during the program?

You’ll share a double room with another participant at the NASA Exchange Lodge. We’ll match you with your roommate based on gender and living preferences. 

We’ll provide all meals on campus from a catering service. We’ll take into account your dietary needs, and we’ll always offer vegetarian and vegan options every day.

How do I apply to GSP?

There are two ways to apply to the GSP. You can submit a direct application, or you can enter a Global Impact Challenge (GIC). You're welcome to apply separately to both channels during the GSP admissions cycle.

How do I know if I meet the criteria for GSP?

GSP exists to foster the development of viable startups (for-profit or not-for-profit) that will positively impact the lives of a billion people in 10 years or less. If you attend GSP, you’ll have a remarkable opportunity to learn about exponential technologies and their broader societal implications; grow into global innovators and thought leaders; and build a strong, diverse community of friends for life who share your commitment to solving the world’s biggest problems.

We’re looking for people who are interested in starting a company or nonprofit addressing a global grand challenge that can create positive impact at scale. 

If you're making great things happen in an impact space, we want to hear from you, particularly if we’re describing you below. We look for people from all professional backgrounds but will be really thrilled to find you if:

  • You’re an accomplished entrepreneur, technologist, scientist, or change agent with expertise in your chosen field(s)
  • You have a background in or a passion for addressing humanity's grand challenges
  • You’re already considering how to leverage exponential technologies to create positive impact in the world
  • You’re committed to the long-term journey of launching an impact-focused startup  

What is the direct admission timetable for GSP?

The 2017 program has concluded, but here is an overview of the process. You can sign up to be notified when you can apply for future cohorts. 

If you submit a direct application, we’ll do an initial evaluation based on materials you submit online, including your CV and a short personal video. We’ll invite a small group of direct admission finalists to participate in individual video interviews prior to final admission decisions for the GSP. 

Note: Letters of recommendation for GSP are blind and are requested through the application software. You may submit your application before letters are received, but please follow up independently with your recommenders to make sure you meet all deadlines. 

Are teams allowed to apply?

Yes. Although most of the GSP participants will not be part of an existing team, GSP17 has limited spots to allow for 2-3 person teams to enter the program together. All of your team members must apply to the program via the direct application and specify that you are part of an existing team. Your team should have a previously demonstrated capacity to work together but should not have a pre-formed company. Teams that participate in the GSP are under no obligation to continue with their initial project or even stay with their team. 

Should I apply directly or through a Global Impact Challenge (GIC)?

Both, actually! In addition to your direct application, we strongly recommended that you apply for a GIC if eligible. 

GICs are held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and organized by geography and theme. If you apply by entering a GIC, you must meet the eligibility requirements of that particular GIC as well as the direct admission requirements. All GIC winners receive conditional acceptance to the GSP free of charge. Learn more about Global Impact Challenges at https://su.org/gic/.

Participating in a GIC can only increase your chances of being selected into the GSP. Additionally, when you enter a GIC, you will get opportunities to meet and work with your local innovation ecosystem, regardless of your place in the competition.

Will I automatically be accepted into SU Ventures?

No. Although SU Ventures features programming designed to help GSP team projects transition into viable startup companies, acceptance is not guaranteed, and all GSP teams will be required to submit an application during the final weeks of GSP. Selection will be based on the viability of each team’s moonshot innovation and the commitment of that team to build a startup company. 

Similarly, GSP-derived companies are welcome to apply to SU Ventures which will also require a separate application.

Does SU take equity in the GSP team projects?

Yes, any company which is formed from the GSP team project idea is subject to allocating 5% equity to Singularity University. The equity is allocated once a company is formed and becomes part of SU Ventures.

What is the attendance policy for GSP?

If you have a scheduling conflict that will prevent you from meeting SU's GSP attendance standards described below, please do not submit an application until such time as your schedule permits.

Daily attendance is required of all GSP participants. Your regular participation in the GSP is a critical component for a successful learning experience. 

Excused Absences

We permit only a few absences without adversely affecting your privilege to continue in the program or your receipt of a final certificate. You must notify the GSP Managing Director of any absence in advance. Excused absences include:

  • Death or serious illness of an immediate family member
  • Personal illness
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Illness or medical needs of a child for whom you are a primary caretaker
  • Your own wedding day or that of an immediate family member
  • Required military service, court summons, or jury duty that cannot be postponed
  • Religious observance of high holy days
  • Event honoring you with significant award or recognition

Where can I get more information about the GSP, the direct admission application channel, and/or the Global Impact Challenge application channel?

For direct admissions questions, contact gsp@su.org.

For GIC questions, contact gic@su.org.  

Program overviews are available at https://su.org/programs/global-solutions-program/ for the Global Solutions Program, and https://su.org/impact/gic/ for Global Impact Challenges.

Once I’m selected, how do I confirm my spot in GSP?

Along with your acceptance email, you will receive a link to our formal student agreement and e-signature form. You will have 1 week to accept the offer to attend before the seat will be offered to someone else.