MIT D-Lab Innovation Ecosystem Builders Fellowship

Using a systems approach to advance community-driven solutions for equity & prosperity

MIT D-Lab's newest fellowship convenes and equips local leaders in low-income communities who are building innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems to address local and global challenges. 

These innovation ecosystem builders will spend a year learning, connecting, and experimenting, using D-Lab's participatory design methodology to devise and refine collaborative initiatives.

Are you working to support grassroots innovators improving the lives of people living in poverty?
Are there persistent gaps in your local innovation ecosystem that you want to fill?
Would you like to be innovative and collaborative in your program design?
Apply to join our first cohort of fellows! 

LEARN: We provide training in our participatory design methodologies and exposure to strategies from around the world for supporting innovators and entrepreneurs and creating systems change.

CONNECT: We bring clusters of fellows from a few innovation ecosystems together through both in-person and online events, creating a community of support among them while connecting them to other potential collaborators, mentors, researchers, student interns, service providers, and funders.

EXPERIMENT: We offer guidance and funding to help fellows test their new collaborative programs and initiative ideas, and we adjust our own programming to meet fellows' needs.

Apply to be a Fellow
Fill out the online Request for Information by 9 A.M. EST, Monday, December 18, 2017, and encourage others who are supporting innovators and entrepreneurs in your community to do the same. Clusters of applicants from a few well-represented emerging ecosystems will be invited to submit full applications in February, 2018. A final cohort of fellows from three to five ecosystems will be chosen that month. More information about the application process and eligibility requirements available here!

Engage with the Fellows 
As community leaders serving local innovators, our Innovation Ecosystem Builder Fellows will be excellent partners for researchers, case studies for classes, and hosts for student group trips, internships, and independent studies. They will be visiting Cambridge in April. If you are interested in learning from or working with our fellows, leave some information here and we will connect with you!

We are eager to engage individuals and institutions with expertise in systems thinking, ecosystem building, and supporting innovators and entrepreneurs in the development of this pilot. If you are interested in contributing your time, knowledge, or services to the fellows or our program, we want to hear from you
If you are interested in helping to fund this work, or want to sponsor a team, please email New Partnerships & Initiatives Officer Lauren McKown at

For any other questions about the program, email Innovation Ecosystem Fellowship Manager Molly W. Rubenstein at