The Metcalf Innovation Fellowship program provides critical thinkers with opportunities to address complex ecological, social, economic, and cultural issues. We are interested in the exploration of ideas that challenge the root causes of unsustainable practices related to topics such as labour market inequalities, conditions of climate change, or resource scarcity within the cultural landscape. We want to support new approaches that make us reconsider the ways in which society sets priorities.
The Innovation Fellowship provides creative individuals, who have passion and intellectual rigour for their issue, with the freedom to be able to ask hard questions and propose innovative and practical ideas, models, and practices. We want to create opportunities for fresh thinking and meaningful research to be conducted, disseminated, and heard. This work helps the Foundation advance policy thinking and open conversations to a wider community. It also informs and strengthens our various granting programs.
Application Process +
The Innovation Fellowship program is currently by invitation-only. As opportunity and need arise, Metcalf releases Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Each RFP has its own criteria, submission process, and application deadline. If you would like to be on the mailing list to receive notice of RFPs, please contact the Foundation and speak with the Program Director in the field most closely aligned with your work.
Applications can be received either directly from a prospective Fellow who, upon receipt of an Innovation Fellowship, would enter into a contract for services with the Foundation, or from the registered charitable organization with which the individual is associated.
Applicants must have:
- a significant record of achievement and be recognized within their field; and
- worked in an area related to their proposed exploration for a minimum of ten years.
There are currently no active RFPs.
What are the project parameters of an Innovation Fellowship?
Most Metcalf Innovation Fellowships result in the publication of formal papers, which are expected to be approximately 20 to 35 pages in length (up to 15,000 words).
What doesn’t the Innovation Fellowship fund?
Typically, the Foundation does not consider requests:
- for the production of books;
- for the creation of curricula or toolkits;
- for research that does not address policy issues directly related to the sectors in which the Foundation works.
What is the first step to obtaining support from the Foundation?
Please review all information on the website regarding the Innovation Fellowship program and the particular RFP to which you would like to apply. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact the Program Director in the field most closely aligned with their work.
Would Foundation staff be willing to review my proposal in advance of the deadline?
Foundation staff is happy to discuss potential applications and to help organizations craft a more focused argument for funding, but they do not read drafts of applications prior to their submission.
Can more than one person work on an individual Fellowship?
Although most Fellowships are granted to single individuals, the Foundation does welcome collaborative submissions from individuals whose experience and expertise are complementary and combine to create a strong proposal.
What is the maximum/minimum size of an Innovation Fellowship grant?
Funding can be used to support costs associated with project activities. Awards of up to $30,000 will be granted; average awards are in the range of $15,000.
How are applications assessed?
Applications are reviewed by the Metcalf Board and staff, assisted by external advisors as appropriate. Applications are assessed according to the:
- background and qualifications of the applicant(s);
- applicability of the proposed work to the issue identified in the RFP;
- proposed methodology for the study/work;
- scope of the project, its creativity, originality, and rigour, and its potential contribution to longstanding or systemic challenges;
- likelihood that the ideas expressed could gain traction in the context of current practice and policy; and
- quality of the submitted written materials.
How does the Foundation make funding decisions?
Funding decisions are made by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and decisions are final.
How long will it take to receive a decision regarding my application?
Where deadlines are stated in the RFP, it also mentions when you can expect to hear from the Foundation.