Digital Thriving Fellowship Program

  • Are you a researcher, educator, podcaster, artist, or practitioner driven by a passion for empowering youth and society to thrive in our digital world? The Center for Digital Thriving wants to hear from you!
  • We are now accepting applications for our inaugural Digital Thriving Fellows program for the 2024 – 2025 academic year. As a Fellow, you’ll join a supportive community of collaborators from a range of disciplines, backgrounds, and creative pursuits. Together, we’ll be exploring ways to foster digital agency through youth-centered, equity-focused, critically optimistic work.
  • If you’re actively working on ideas, research, or projects that can help young people — and all of us — thrive in a world of tech, we strongly encourage you to apply. Your unique perspective and contributions could play a crucial role in shaping a future where young people thrive, however technology fits into their lives.


We love our work AND we know that it’s just one piece of a bigger puzzle. Getting to the future we want requires an “all hands on deck” approach. The Center for Digital Thriving — and this Fellows program — is catalyzed by generous founding grants from the Susan Crown Exchange and Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates Company.

We’re launching this program in order to:

  • Build a community of practice and mutual support
  • Incubate new ideas, practices, and tools
  • Support relevant work on emerging topics of relevance to thriving in a tech-rich world
Who should apply?

We warmly welcome applications from U.S.-based researchers, K-12 educators, designers, policymakers, artists, community leaders, creators, and other relevant experts who have a demonstrated history, interest, and passion for advancing thriving in a technology-filled world. 

What kind of support?

We are offering two kinds of fellowships:

  • Funded fellowships: Funded Fellows will each receive $25k to support expenses directly related to their fellowship project (e.g., time on your project, supplies, travel and registration fees for conferences/events, etc.)  
  • Externally-funded fellowships: Applicants for these fellowships have their own funding for direct project support; these fellowships provide an opportunity to be part of a supportive intellectual community as you carry out your project. 
  • We acknowledge that these fellowships are not a full-time role; rather, we anticipate that most Fellows will maintain other employment while doing the fellowship.
What will it look like?

Fellows will carry out their projects as part of the Center for Digital Thriving community of research and innovation. Fellows will share and receive support from other Fellows (fellow Fellows, if you will 😉) and from Center team members. Specific support structures and benefits include: 

  • Periodic (monthly or quarterly) participation in Center-wide meetings about ongoing strands of research and resource development 
  • Quarterly Fellows seminars to incubate ideas and discuss projects in progress with fellows cohort, the Center research team, and guests with relevant expertise
  • Opportunities to contribute relevant expertise to the Center’s ongoing research and resource development work 
  • Communications support: As desired, the work of the Fellows will be featured in Center communications (social media, e-newsletters, website) 
  • Project Zero engagement: All Fellows are Invited to engage in PZ Community meetings and other PZ staff events (participation is optional)
  • Access to shared office space at Project Zero when in Cambridge
  • Harvard Libraries access 
What values and principles will guide my experience?
  • “Together we are more” is a foundational principle for the Center’s team. This principle captures our belief that our work is strengthened when we share it with others, collaborate, welcome feedback, and bring diverse perspectives to bear.  Virtual convenings with the Fellows cohort and Center team members will be a regular venue for such shared experiences. Fellows will also be expected to participate in in-person events via two trips to Harvard during their fellowship year. 
  • “Making our thinking visible” is a part of how we work — and aspire to work.  To that end, Fellows are expected to make their work-in-progress visible to others via at least one public presentation to a key audience at a relevant venue (e.g., K12 school, university, professional conference, tech company) during their fellowship term.
  • Creating content and resources that are “actually helpful” is one of our strategic pillars. Fellows are expected to develop at least one translational, public-facing resource or “product” (e.g., publishable report/paper, curriculum/course, publication, podcast, campaign, design framework, app, convening, curriculum/course module, youth-centered program) based on their project.
  • “Be accountable. Give grace” is another Center guiding principle. Fellows will share a brief progress report roughly at the midpoint and conclusion of their fellowship, as well as one year later. We know that projects evolve and ideas change as the world and technologies continue to evolve. Our vision is to give grace with whatever you initially propose: our fellowships are an investment in you as a changemaker for digital thriving.
When and where?

Fellowships will run from Sept 1, 2024 – May 31, 2025. Fellows can carry out their projects remotely, but will be required to attend 1 – 2 in-person convenings in Cambridge, MA during their fellowship term (travel to Harvard will be funded by the Center). Additionally, Fellows will be encouraged to participate in future convenings beyond their fellowship term.


  • Applications due May 30
  • Decisions June 30
  • Fellowship begins Sept 1, 2024

How To Apply

Applications will be accepted until Wednesday, May 30 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. Materials should be sent by email to

  • Applicant’s work aligns with the Center’s guiding values and approaches: youth-centered, equity-focused, and/or embodies critical optimism about tech
  • Areas of expertise and interests complement and extend beyond those of the Center’s current research and resources (see
  • Engaged with emerging topics of relevance for thriving in a tech-filled world (e.g., generative AI, violent content exposure, social comparison, grief, play, joy, belonging, connection, agency)
  • Fellows’ individual identities enrich diversity of perspectives at the Center and/or represent identities beyond those of the Center’s core team


  1. A current resume or C.V.
  2. A personal statement that responds to the following three questions. Your statement can take the form of a written statement OR a short video. Regardless of format, responses to each question should be approximately 200-500 (text or spoken) words; the personal statement should not exceed 2000 words total.
    • Describe your professional background and expertise. Tell us about how your personal background and identities inform your work.
    • Describe the project you propose to carry out during a fellowship year.
      • Outline the approach you will take or methods you will use to complete the proposed project. 
      • Explain who your work serves or will serve.
      • Describe your hoped-for impact and what success might look like.
    • Why is the Center for Digital Thriving the right place for you to do this work? Please share thoughts on how your work connects with the Center for Digital Thriving’s mission, guiding values, and/or approaches.
  3. Please attach 1 – 3 work samples that are relevant to the proposed project and demonstrate your strengths, values, and the essence of your work. Samples might include written work (e.g., articles, op-eds), a podcast, a public presentation, art work, resource or tool.

First, it’s important to note that we are a very new Center and that this is a brand new Fellows program! We expect to learn a lot across our inaugural year. There’s definitely a spirit of building the ship as we sail it and leaning into learning. We anticipate that the Fellows program scope and eligibility criteria will evolve in new directions after this inaugural year. Thank you for your patience as we learn and grow.

Without further ado, here are our current responses to frequently asked questions:

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