TED Fellows Program | Apply for TED Fellowships

Publish Date: Jun 11, 2021

Beyond TED talks | Apply for TED Fellowships

Here is one more reason to love summer!

TED organizes the open and transparent competition for its annual Fellowship each summer, enriching its community with the new bright individuals.  

If you are passionate about innovation and positive changes, and if you are ready to carry your inner potential to spread motivation to others, the community of TED fellows is waiting for you. 

Read this article for all the steps you need to become a fellow.

What is TED?

TED belongs to the nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, aiming to spread life-changing ideas through short and powerful talks, usually 18 minutes or less. You have probably watched TED talks closer to your interest areas or even participated in the real-life event in your country as a participant or a speaker. 

If not, here is an excellent time to explore more than 3700 talks on every topic that can trigger your interest. 

The first TED conference happened in 1984, where the three main topics were Technology, Entertainment, and Design. While the topics covered during TED events later became significantly more extensive, the organization put the initials of its first covered topics as its name.

The path to growing to today’s viral video phenomenon was not easy for the organization. You might be surprised, but the first TED conference, where mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot told how to map coastlines with his developing theory of fractal geometry, failed and caused financial losses to the organization. The second attempt was six years later, in 1990, which had a wide acceptance and appreciation among the public. 

Later, the event became an annual must-visit for many intellectually curious, who viewed the conferences as a powerful platform for sharing valuable ideas. Since 2006, people received the opportunity to watch the talks online (see the very first six videos), and in a short time, the views reached one mln. 

In 2008, TED went further in its support initiatives and introduced the TED fellowship program, which aimed to bring together individuals who have brilliant ideas and need professional assistance to put those ideas into action. 

The rest of the sections navigate you through the eligibility criteria, application procedure, and other essential aspects of the Fellowship.   

What does the fellowship offer?

Roughly, the TED fellowship provides the necessary training to passionate individuals needed to fulfill their mission. The specific support you will receive primarily depends on who you are and what you will achieve in the future. 

The scope of the Fellowship’s provided assistance is training fellows on public speaking, media training, educational programming, professional coaching, and similar. Also, and most importantly, you are connected to TED’s global network from more than 100 countries, which unlocks the opportunities to have effective collaborations with your peers worldwide.

TED fellows receive unlimited opportunities to make their ideas a reality and track the actual impact. Previous TED fellows successfully received prestigious prizes and grants to conduct research in their fields and be published widely. Each in their place, TED fellows move the world to where it is supposed to be: less ecological dangers, improved cultural norms, and living conditions for people. 

Explore the diversity of previous fellows

The above-mentioned positive impact of the TED fellowship is more visible through exploring what the previous fellows have already achieved. The community of fellows is rather large: 500+ fellows from more than 100 countries speaking up for the global issues in different directions. 

TED fellows for 2021 come from 14 countries, where Peru participates for the first time. Meet activists from Health Care, Filmmaking, Electric Aviation, Dermatology, Environmental Journalism, Technology, and more with their incredible stories

While you are not limited to participate in the same fields with them, exploring the stories of other community members is a great chance to help you better understand the Fellowship and construct a better application. 

The complete list of the TED fellowship alumni is available on the official source. 

What are the eligibility criteria?

  • You are above 18

  • You are engaged in any activity that makes a positive change in the world

  • You have a good heart and character

  • *non-traditional educations are welcomed

Perhaps, you have just come across the least filtered eligibility requirements for the fellowship program. If you have ever watched a TED talk, you should grasp the idea of what the ideal candidate is for TED. Any person from any field is welcomed to apply, as long as the applicant believes and can justify the support for his idea can make the world a better place!

As the requirements are not very restricted, the TED fellowship usually receives a large bunch of applications. Therefore, once you apply, the reply can make you wait for up to 8 months. The good news is that you will be notified about the status of your application both in case of approval and rejection. 

How to apply

The application procedure is quick and straightforward. The candidates simply need to fill in the online application and submit it right on the Fellowship’s official website. 

Here is the link for the application form. It is designed to help the committee know you as close as possible. The application questions consist of the following main sections:

  • Personal contact information

  • Information on current and previous working activities

  • The details of your previous participation in any of the TED programs, if applicable

  • References

The online application is the only way to inform the committee about you. You are not going to submit any complementary documents such as your CV, cover letter, etc. For that purpose, most of the application questions are open-ended, and though they all have character limits, you are invited to include as much about yourself as possible. 

The only acceptable language for application is English. 

The committee advises you to apply as early as possible after the opening of the summer application cycle. You are also encouraged to save the offline copy of your submitted answers, as the in-progress application is not saved on the platform. 

For the possible technical issues, you might face in the process, refer to the FAQ section

Similar Opportunities

Opportunity Types


Eligible Countries