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What is the Rise program?

Rise is a new talent program designed to increase opportunity for exceptional young people who need it to do more for others, together, throughout their lives.

Rise will develop and support the next generation of emerging talent by identifying and developing outstanding young people from around the world. This program—an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust—will build a network of exceptional young people who are committed to helping others throughout their lives. The program will include a residential fellowship, and we intend to provide participants with individualized support for education, careers and service.

Why did Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust create Rise?

All around the world there are brilliant and visionary people who could do so much more to help their communities and the world if they had more support and opportunity. Too often, those individuals are isolated at a very young age and don’t have access to the resources that can help them develop their ideas. Rise will find and connect these exceptional young people—and give them the individualized support they need—so they can work together to serve others.

Why is the program focused on 15- to 17-year-olds?

Research shows that the last years of high school—before college or entering the workforce—are critical in shaping what direction a young person’s life will go. As we look around the world today, we know that every community around the globe needs today’s young people to rise up in service of others. This young generation is the most at risk to suffer from climate crisis and other environmental threats.

At the same time, these young people have access to the most powerful new tools and technologies to address these problems—together. We believe that when we empower these young people to work together, we will make incredible progress—and faster than we think.

Is Rise only open to college-going teens? What about young people who don’t want to/can’t go to college?

Access to the Rise platform will be available all around the world—young people of any location, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or educational status will be invited to apply. We want to find the brightest young people with extraordinary potential, wherever they are.

Is Rise open to any discipline?

We are eager to invite youth who are excited about a wide range of problems, issues and disciplines to participate in this program.

What support will Rise provide? Is this a scholarship program?

The program, which will seek young people between the ages of 15 and 17, will be designed to encourage a lifetime of service and learning by providing support that could include scholarships, career services and funding opportunities to help these leaders serve others for decades to come.

Rise cohort members will be eligible for various types of support. They will be invited to attend a residential fellowship the summer before their final year of high school that will support them as they consider how to serve others, how to become leaders and how to transition to higher education and careers. Participants may also receive scholarships to continue their education, mentorship and other assistance tailored to their specific needs and interests and a variety of career services as part of the Rise network.

What problems are you hoping these young people will solve? What public service commitment are you expecting from the participants?

The Rise program will seek young people who demonstrate significant potential to make the world better and who would benefit from and be able to do more with additional opportunities and support. We are eager to invite youth who are excited about a wide range of problems, issues and disciplines to participate in this program.

To encourage service, Rise will invite its community members to make service commitments together and develop a platform to match network members with common interests. The exact nature of this commitment will be developed through deep engagement with young people around the world in the coming months.

How long is the program? Is the goal for these students to become members of an alumni network?

Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust hope to offer youth who advance to the final stages of the Rise competition a lifetime of opportunities for learning and individualized support.

To encourage service, Rise will invite its community members to make service commitments together and develop a platform to match network members with common interests. In addition, the network plans to support non-profits or other social enterprises that Rise network members drive together to serve others. Finalists and others in the Rise network will have the opportunity to compete for as-needed funding to launch or scale their ventures; funds are intended to be designated for these purposes in a total pooled amount equal to at least $5 million per year of the program. We also expect to offer career services support as students transition out of education and into careers in the future.

The Rise alumni community will also include other outstanding talent that applies for Rise support, even if they do not advance to the final round. It will create a lifelong community of students, teachers and institutions across sectors who seek to serve others.

What countries are you targeting?

Our goal is to identify talented young people wherever in the world they may be. This will therefore be a globally available application.

How will you reach young people who may not have access to technology?

In the early years, we will rely on a tech-enabled mobile platform to reach young people around the world. However, we are committed to exploring the ways in which we may expand access to this program over time, including considering applications pathways for young people who lack access to technology.

How will you measure the success of Rise?

Success for Rise will be measured by the caliber, strength and impact of the Rise network over time; the quality of applicants and participants; the depth of network connection among the cohort; and the scale of their impact on the world over time. The goal is not to direct these future leaders to particular pathways, but rather empower them to realize their tremendous potential in myriad ways.

How will you make sure you attract a diverse group of students—geographic, income, ethnicity, gender, experience, discipline?

Rise is committed to building a diverse and inclusive cohort that reflects a broad range of experiences, backgrounds, passions and talents.

In the coming months, we will partner with a variety of individuals and institutions to help ensure we attract applicants who reflects these values and to make sure we are considering talent in ways that are culturally sensitive and grounded in research.

Is this program related to the Schmidt Science Fellows? Will the participants interact?

The Schmidt Science Fellows program provides the world’s best emerging scientists with new skills and perspectives to develop novel solutions to society’s challenges, become scientific and societal thought leaders, and accelerate ground-breaking discoveries.

Candidates to be Schmidt Science Fellows are expected to already have a strong track record of scientific achievement from their PhD studies, combined with a clear intellectual curiosity and desire to drive future discoveries. They should have the commitment and character to engage with society and global challenges to making a lasting difference in the world. Fellows should have a collaborative spirit with the experience and desire to work with diverse teams and across scientific disciplines.

Though the Schmidt Science Fellows program and Rise target different age groups, both programs are grounded in the idea that society will benefit from the empowerment of young, talented people.