Emergent Ventures Grant/Fellowship Application

We want to jumpstart high-reward ideas—moonshots in many cases—that advance prosperity, opportunity, liberty, and well-being. We welcome the unusual and the unorthodox.

Our goal is positive social change, but we do not mind if you make a profit from your project. (Indeed, a quick path to revenue self-sufficiency is a feature not a bug!)

Projects will either be fellowships or grants: fellowships involve time in residence at the Mercatus Center in Northern Virginia; grants are one-time or slightly staggered payments to support a project.

We encourage you to think big, but we also will consider very small grants or short fellowships if they might change the trajectory of your life. We encourage applications from all ages and all parts of the world.
Get Started

The first stage of the application is answering a few basic questions and attaching a brief proposal. Once we receive it, we'll follow up with you about next steps or let you know that we have declined.

The proposal should consist of a proposal no longer than 1500 words. You may also attach supplementary materials, but we will read the proposal first and it must stand on its own.

  • The first part of the proposal should be about you. Tell us your personal story, and how it relates to what you wish to do. We probably don't care much about your formal education, credentials, or awards, unless they're particularly germane to who you are or your idea. Do tell us your background briefly, but credentials are not what will impress us.
  • Second, what is one mainstream or "consensus" view that you absolutely agree with? (This is our version of a "trick" question, reversing the now-fashionable contrarianism.)
  • The third part should be about your idea. Convince us that this is a great idea worth investing in, and tell us what is new or unusual in your vision and understanding. What's the problem you intend to solve? If you have a ballpark budget (with revenue sources and expenses), let us know the bare basics now; we won't hold you to it strictly.
Also (if applicable) tell us how long you have been working on this project or idea, whether you will be working on it full time or part time, any existing formal or informal partnerships or supporters, and how you might intend to reach your users or audience.

Personal Information

Please include country code if outside of the United States.

Where are you physically located most of the time?


File types: bmp gif jpg jpeg png qtf tif doc docx key keynote numbers odp ods odt pages ppt pptx xls xlsx 

If you would like to link to a multimedia file to support your application, please add the link here.
If you would like to save your application and complete it later, please click on the “Save my progress and resume later” link at the top of the page. You will be prompted to assign a username and password in order to save the specific application.

To resume your application, click the link for the appropriate application and then click the “Resume a previously saved form” link. Once you’ve submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email. Please note that decisions will not be announced until after the application deadline. 
Legal notices
Please note that we have the right to destroy your materials and also to send them to outside referees, as well as to discuss them internally.

Emergent Ventures - a project of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University - does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to grant-making, fellowship selection, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors and clients.
By submitting this application I grant consent to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University to process and retain any personal information provided in this application for the purpose of evaluating application materials and communicating with applicants regarding their open or past applications as well as any applicable future programming opportunities. 
COVID-19 Relief Applications
Thank you for your interest in Emergent Ventures. If you wish to apply to grants for COVID-19-related projects, you must apply through Fast Grants.