What We Look For

What We Look For

To be eligible, you…

  • Must have a bachelor’s degree and four+ years post-baccalaureate scientific research, engineering, or technology development experience.

  • Must be the leader of a technical project or company that is relevant to our target industries and is based in the physical or biological sciences, or related engineering disciplines.

  • Must be leading the commercial development of a hardware-based technology innovation for the first time i.e. not a repeat hard-tech founder. You may apply as a solo applicant or with one co-applicant.

  • Must not have raised more than $2,000,000 in debt or equity funding from non-governmental sources for the proposed project at the time of the application deadline.

  • Project or company must still be in development and not yet ready for full-scale product sales at the time of the application deadline.

  • Must be able to work in the U.S. for the duration of the fellowship, and have access to a qualified host laboratory.

Entrepreneurial Potential

Does the applicant have the ability to mobilize the physical, financial, and intellectual resources needed to advance the proposed project; the ability to identify and prioritize project milestones to create value and reduce risk; and the ability to operate in situations with a high degree of ambiguity and incomplete information?


Does the applicant have the ability to lead toward productive and responsible outcomes, e.g. to engage with diverse technical and non-technical stakeholders, and to persuade and inspire others through written and spoken communication; to identify professional strengths and weaknesses, productively respond to constructive criticism, and grow professionally; to manage conflict, conduct themselves with integrity, and demonstrate a willingness to take responsibility for their actions?

Technical Excellence

Does the applicant have comprehensive knowledge in the field of the proposed project; the ability to quickly learn new concepts, develop new skills, and adapt to new technical information; and the ability to independently and safely lead the technical work involved in the proposed project?


Does the applicant have a history of being a positive contributor to teams, supporting others, and participating in professional communities? How willing is the applicant to relocate to, or spend substantial time at, the partner laboratory?


Is the proposed project rooted in sound scientific principles and feasible within the proposed time frame? Does it have a clear and organized plan with well-reasoned technical milestones and a risk mitigation plan? Does it present a credible path to scale, including viable entry markets or the potential to pivot?

Impact Potential and Sponsor Alignment

Does the proposed project have potential for impact in one or more Activate Areas? Is it reasonably differentiated from existing solutions and commercial efforts? Is the project aligned with the mission of one of fellowship sponsors?

Highest and Best Use of Fellowship

Will the fellowship and access to partner laboratories meaningfully alter the trajectory of the project? Will participation improve the timeline or probability of success?