The Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship

Ellen MacArthur Foundation & Schmidt Family Foundation join forces with leading, global universities to support the next generation of global business leaders.

Global fellowship equips next generation to accelerate the circular economy.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and The Schmidt Family Foundation today launch the Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship. This global programme is set to develop the skills and innovative thinking required to map out the next economy.

Imperial College London, Cranfield University & The London Business School will form the core team, which in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, will provide expert input for an intensive summer school in London and the associated online learning platform. These institutions will be joined by Yale University, University of California Berkeley & Stanford University in the United States, Euromed Management, Delft University of Technology and MIP Politecnico di Milano in Continental Europe, and India’s National Institute of Design.

The fellowship, open to postgraduate students from our Partner Universities, has been created in response to growing global interest around the circular economy. The circular economy is a model that works to decouple growth from resource constraints through creating regenerative material flows by design. The launch follows a new report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, released during the World Economic Forum in Davos, outlining a multi-billion dollar opportunity for businesses adopting the circular economy as an innovation framework.

Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Left.) & Wendy Schmidt, President of the Schmidt Family Foundation (Right.) The fellowship programme will foster innovation through the conference of design, engineering and business disciplines from a number of the world’s leading schools. Students and academic mentors from universities in the US, Europe and India will take part in a London summer school before returning home to focus on a postgraduate, business innovation project. Participants in the programme will also have the opportunity to explore new concepts and discuss their implementation with the Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 business alliance. The alliance brings together 100 global business leaders and emerging innovators looking to share best practice and unlock the commercial opportunities of the circular economy.

Wendy Schmidt, President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, said “Eric and I have long been advocates for innovative technology that has a crucial role to play in the transition towards an increasingly intelligent relationship between human activity and the use of the world’s resources. In an era of higher energy costs and diminishing resources- including precious metals and fresh water- we need programs to encourage students to break out of the models established by the first Industrial Revolution and develop new tools, materials and techniques that shift the way we deliver progress and prosperity. The model of the circular economy shows how this systemic approach can enrich our industrial base and broadly share the benefits of a manufacturing and distribution structure that eliminates waste by design.”

Ellen MacArthur explains, “Teaming up with the Schmidt Family Foundation gives our higher education work a truly international dimension, which is crucial when it comes to accelerating the transition towards a circular economy. This partnership is built on creativity, innovation, opportunities and will involve the world's most forward thinking universities. We are thrilled to launch this fellowship programme together, and are convinced it will play a key role in helping rethink the future.”

Professor Peter Childs, Professional lead in Engineering Design at Imperial College London, said, "The transition to a circular economy presents some of the biggest engineering and innovation opportunities of the 21st century. As a university that prides itself on equipping students to become leaders in their field, we are delighted to be partnering with the Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship to tackle rethinking the global economy. We will be helping to deliver the first summer school at Imperial and look forward to contributing to this extremely relevant event."