Skip to content
Jan 24 / BARD CEP

Program Fellowship with The Buckminster Fuller Institute-New York, NY

Organization: The Buckminster Fuller Institute

Position Title: Program Fellow

Location: NEW York, NY.

Hours and Compensation: paid, 15 hours per week.

Application Deadline: February 14, 2014

Start Date: April 30, 2014


The Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge Program

Each year, The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) invites scientists, students, designers, architects, activists, entrepreneurs, artists and planners from all over the world to submit their solutions for addressing humanity’s most pressing problems.

Named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”, the Fuller Challenge attracts bold, visionary initiatives focused on critically important, well-defined social and environmental needs. Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approaches to solving complex problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

The Fellowship

THE BFI Program Fellowship is designed to attract engaged early career practitioners and graduate students from diverse backgrounds and sectors. The Fellowship is constructed as an interdisciplinary collaborative, and participants will work closely with BFI staff, advisors and entrants to the Fuller Challenge.

This highly competitive Fellowship (the Institute has hosted seven fellows in the past four years) provides the opportunity for hands-on experience assessing projects and engaging with the selection process of the Fuller Challenge award cycle. Fellows will perform independent research, participate in a weekly workshop component with senior review team members, and aid in a range of other Challenge-related tasks, including interviews, material development and public events.

The Fellowship Program has a dual purpose:

1) To enhance the rigorous discourse in the Fuller Challenge review process;

2) To provide the next generation of thought leaders an in-depth experience evaluating whole system design solutions.

What You Gain:

1) Training and resources to exercise and apply critical thinking and decision-making skills using the Fuller Challenge entries as context for hands-on pedagogical experience;

2) A rare opportunity to contextualize and un-pack systemic problems and innovative solutions;

3) A unique forum for dialog, discussion and debate interactivity that leads to a more meaningful understanding of the content;

4) A method to inform academic and professional writing and activities;

5) The opportunity to work intimately with members of BFI’s network through Program components and public events.


  • Recently or currently enrolled in a graduate program or have a minimum of 2-3 years working experience in sustainability, social entrepreneurship, design, public health, policy, food systems, international development or any other program that might have a role in shaping social and environmental behavior
  • Have a deep interest in whole-systems design theory and practice
  • English fluency (written and spoken)
  • Availability to commit to 10-15 hours workload per week from late-April 2014 to early-September 2014, including semi-finalist Skype interviews in August 2014 and an in-person deliberation, date tbd, in September 2014. (There will be two offline breaks, one each in July and August)
  • Availability to be present in the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Brooklyn office for Wednesday review sessions on the following dates: April 30; May 7, 14, 21, 28; June 4, 11, 18, 25; July 9

About The Fuller Challenge

Buckminster Fuller led a prolific life of research, invention, writing and teaching. He developed a comprehensive systems approach to understanding complex global problems. By rigorously adhering to his unique set of “design science” principles, Fuller’s work embodies a deeply attuned ecological aesthetic. Fuller conceived and prototyped new strategies intended to enable all of humanity to live lives characterized by freedom, comfort and dignity without negatively impacting the earth’s ecosystems or regenerative ability. He emphasized that the technology and knowhow already exist to successfully surmount our global challenges and advocated “doing more with less” by increasing the overall performance of every resource invested in a system.

Fuller issued an urgent call for a creative revolution to “make the world work for all of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” Answering this call is what the Fuller Challenge is all about.


  • Accepting resumes: until February 14, 2014 (position open until filled, early application encouraged)
  • Candidate selection: by March 1, 2014
  • Fellowship dates: late-April to early-September 2014

To Apply

Please send resume, cover letter and an additional essay with answers to the questions below tos(dot)skenazy(@)bfi(dot)org. The cover letter should tell us why you are interested in working with the Buckminster Fuller Institute and your availability between April and September 2014. No phone calls please.

In no more than one page, please address the following:

1) What academic or professional experiences have you had in socially and economically sustainable systems, and/or what has led you to your interest in whole systems thinking?

2) Extrapolate on your skills and what you might bring to the review team.

This is a paid fellowship—BFI will offer an honorary stipend in the range of one to two thousand dollars after an evaluation has been conducted at the end of the fellowship and is contingent on satisfactory completion of the required scope of work.

Leave a comment