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Does the foundation have a fellows program?

Yes. The foundation has a fellows program. Fellows are placed across program areas for a term of two years. Fellows have the opportunity to work on crosscutting projects and are likely to rotate among foundation teams. Fellows can be placed in Global Development, Global Health, Global Policy and Advocacy and US Program.

What are the objectives of the fellows program?

The fellows program has two primary objectives:

  1. Promote programmatic innovation and support the foundation’s ability to solve complex problems by accessing exceptional, global talent with diverse backgrounds and experience
  2. Develop fellows who become future leaders in sectors and regions that align with our missions by enhancing their capabilities and skills and their understanding of the foundation, our objectives and partner organizations

What sort of work is done by fellows?

Fellows will be assigned to work on specific teams or projects for a fixed duration. They may rotate among two or more teams during their fellowship and may have the opportunity to work out of two foundation office locations during their assignment. Fellows will be afforded the opportunity to apply their professional and academic experience to think about new and existing challenges, sometimes outside of their area of expertise, with the goal of bringing new perspectives to our work. Fellows’ learning and impact will be supported by identifying projects that cut across teams, divisions, and/or geographies.

What are some examples of potential fellowship projects?

  • Conceptualize and launch a Grand Challenge initiative in support of program strategies
  • Assist in understanding a student’s pre-school to post-secondary educational experience and where students are lost in our current public education system
  • Collaborate with program staff and partners to support new drug and therapeutic development efforts
  • Create a data sharing platform for global health problems in partnership with major technology companies
  • Identify new ways to create and maintain digital dashboards that enhance cross-foundational information and knowledge sharing
  • Help establish a Leadership Institute for Public Health with an expansive group of academic institution partners
  • Provide technical or policy analysis of specific issues of relevance to foundation program strategies as well as development and dissemination of position papers to guide and advise the foundation's position and to influence the field
  • Provide decision support on cross-programmatic/cross-divisional issues by developing data and analytics to inform the decision making processes

Are there fellows in the foundation's offices outside of the US?

To date the foundation has hosted fellows in Seattle. However, our current call for applicants includes opportunities in the China Country Office. Based on demand and opportunity for impact, we may continue the expansion of the fellows program to other regional offices.

What happens when a fellow leaves the foundation?

To realize the objectives of the program, it will be important that fellows' transition successfully out of the foundation to roles of influence in the fields in which we work—thus, the fellowship is not intended to be an entry point for other foundation roles. It is our aspiration that fellows will leverage the learning and networks they have built during their fellowship to move into roles that they are uniquely qualified for as a result of their fellowship experience.

What are some of the key features of the fellows program?

  • Significant opportunities to learn about the foundation's approach to investments, grant-making and partnerships by working closely with program staff and external partners.
  • Deep engagement on strategic issues being pursued by the foundation, with opportunities to make a tangible impact
  • May rotate within and/or across program divisions and/or regional offices
  • Coaching and mentorship by foundation staff who are leaders in their respective fields
  • Bilateral learning sessions involving the fellows and senior leadership across the foundation
  • Cohort experience to develop fellows' professional and support network with peers
  • Leadership development programming and transition support to help the fellows identify their next professional opportunity
  • Membership to the foundation's alumni network

When can I apply to the fellows program?

We are currently evaluating and realigning the program to ensure it meets our strategic objectives and provides a very impactful experience for future Fellows. Please check back in September 2019 for more updates.

What is required to apply to the fellows program?

All materials should be uploaded to the career posting on

  • In one PDF or Word document please include in the following order; Resume and then a Professional statement, no longer than 500 words in length, that highlights:
    • How your academic and professional background support innovation and the foundation’s ability to solve complex problems
    • How a fellowship with the Gates Foundation will help you reach your professional goals and contribute to a world where more people can lead healthy, productive lives