FULBRIGHT-NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY (NGS)
DIGITAL STORYTELLING FELLOWSHIP
Fulbright-National Geographic competition is currently on hold.
Updated information for the 2019-2020 grant year is forthcoming, please check back.
The Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship was launched in 2013 as a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. It provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in up to three countries on a globally significant theme. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society.
The wide variety of new digital media tools and platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for people from all disciplines and backgrounds to share observations and personal narratives with global audiences online. These storytelling tools are powerful resources as we seek to expand our knowledge of pressing transnational issues and build ties across cultures.
Through the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, Fulbrighters will undertake an in-depth examination of a globally relevant issue, comparing and contrasting how that issue is experienced across borders. Utilizing a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media, Fellows will tell their stories, or the stories of those they meet, publishing their work on a dedicated blog hosted on the National Geographic. Stories deemed by National Geographic to be of interest or merit may be considered for publication on other National Geographic platforms. In addition to receiving Fulbright benefits (for travel, stipend, health, etc.), Fellows will receive instruction in digital storytelling techniques, applicable to Fellows’ projects, including effective blog writing, video production, photography, and other relevant training, by National Geographic staff prior to their departure. Fellows will be paired with one or more National Geographic editors for continued training, editorial direction and mentoring throughout their Fulbright grant period. Fellows will provide material for a blog on the National Geographic website on a frequent and ongoing basis throughout their grant term, and will have the opportunity to develop additional content for use by National Geographic and the Department of State.
Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will be accepted for the following themes:
Our Human Story
Themes: Culture/Geo-politics, Contemporary Social Issues, Democracy and Human Rights, Religious Freedom
Themes: Conservation of Species, Extinction
Themes: Innovations in areas of Health, Medicine, Technology, Energy, Economic Development/Prosperity
• Eligible Countries:
Applications will be accepted for Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowships in any country to which there is an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Click here to see which countries are eligible.
• Fields and Qualifications of Applicants:
Candidates from all fields are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated experience and talent in digital storytelling. Candidates must have completed at least an undergraduate degree by the commencement of the Fulbright award.
• 2018-2019 Fellowship Themes:
Applications for the 2018-19 Fellowship will be accepted for projects focused on one or more of the general themes below. Applicants interested in the special interest areas identified for under each theme are especially encouraged to apply. Following each theme and list of special interest areas, National Geographic’s editorial staff has provided a NGS Digital Storytelling Frame, which provides further context to the theme and the types of stories that they are particularly interested in having Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows tell. While applications for any innovative project under the broad themes will be eligible to be reviewed, it is recommended that applicants review this information as they develop their proposals.
- Nature and Environment
Special Interest Areas: Biodiversity, Conservation, and Climate Change
- NGS Digital Storytelling Lens:
Humans are an integral part of the environment, depending on Earth for lifelines such as air, water, food, and a tolerable range of temperature. For the sake of ourselves and future generations, we must protect our natural resources. Stories should focus on inspiring examples of stewardship of the planet, adaptation to changing climate, restoration of healthy ecosystems, and reducing the human impact on nature.
- People and Places
Special Interest Areas: Cities, Cultures, Women, Youth, and Global Health
- NGS Digital Storytelling Lens:
Humans have successfully colonized almost every part of Earth, and over tens of thousands of years we have developed an incredible diversity of languages, cultures, and lifestyles. Stories should focus on diverse cultures, traditional knowledge, examples of empowerment and inclusion of diversity, the special role of women and youth, trans-boundary cultures emerging from a digital age, and advances in education and global health for the betterment of all of humanity.
- Sustainability and Production
Special Interest Areas: Agriculture/Food Security, Energy, Water/Oceans, the Arctic, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Green Economy
- NGS Digital Storytelling Lens:
Our greatest challenge is balancing the legitimate needs and aspirations of all people with Earth's capacity to provide in a way that can be sustained for countless generations to come. Stories should focus on inspiring examples of creating sustainable modern civilization while restoring and sharing Earth's lifelines with other species and the generations to come.
• Digital Storytelling Aspect of the Fellowship
There are many definitions of Digital Storytelling. For the purpose of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, it describes the practice of using digital tools to tell a story. Fellows may produce stories that may utilize or combine text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media for the purpose of producing content suitable for a National Geographic blog. Their stories may also be disseminated digitally through National Geographic Society and Department of State platforms and associated social networking sites. National Geographic will provide training for participants and National Geographic editors will mentor and support Fellows as they produce digital stories throughout their grant period. Applicants should highlight their experience with digital storytelling as it relates to their proposed project and need not be an expert in multiple digital mediums to be selected.
• Application Information
All application materials, including academic transcripts and letters of reference must be submitted in the Embark Online Application and Reference System by October 6, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Hard copy submissions will not be accepted.
Please review the instructions thoroughly before beginning the Embark online application as the application components are distinct from the general application. Because of grant start dates, Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows are not eligible for Critical language Enhancement Awards.
Please carefully review the following as the requirements differ from those of the traditional Fulbright grant:
Applicants must select "Academic" in the Grant Category section of the application and select “Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship in the Special Opportunity field.
Fulbright-National Geographic applicants with questions should email FBstudent.firstname.lastname@example.org
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):
• What is the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship?
The Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, launched in 2013, is a new component of the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program that will support up to five Fellowships for one academic year of travel and multi-media storytelling on globally significant topics. Fellows will focus their stories on one or more of the program’s annual themes. Digital stories produced by Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows will receive editorial support of National Geographic’s editorial team and be published on a dedicated blog hosted on the National Geographic website. Stories deemed to be of interest or merit may be considered for publication on other National Geographic and Department of State content platforms.
• Who is eligible to apply? Who is the ideal candidate?
U.S. citizens of all ages and from all backgrounds are eligible to apply. Applicants may come from a broad range of fields, a variety of academic and processional backgrounds, and have diverse storytelling experiences. Candidates must have completed at least an undergraduate degree by the commencement of the program but may not hold a Ph.D. at the time of application. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated talent for storytelling (including but not limited to publications in print, online or multimedia platforms) and an academic or professional background relevant to their proposed project.
• Who is ineligible?
Non- U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not eligible. Please refer to the Eligibility/Ineligibility section for more specific requirements.
Current State Department and National Geographic staff, or persons currently on assignment or who are currently working with grants funded by either organization, are ineligible to apply.
Former National Geographic staff, explorers and grantees are eligible to apply. Applicants with a previous association with National Geographic, State Department, or Fulbright, will be judged strictly on the merit of their projects. No special consideration will be given to applicants with previous ties to either organization.
Candidates may not apply to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and the Fulbright Senior Scholar Program in the same competition cycle.
Candidates may not apply for more than one type of Fulbright U.S. Student grant in a given competition cycle.
• Will applications for projects in the U.S. be accepted?
No. According to the Fulbright-Hays Act, U.S. citizens and nationals cannot study in the United States through the Fulbright Program. Applications from U.S. citizens will only be accepted for projects outside the U.S. and its territories.
• Are Fulbright-National Geographic applicants eligible for Critical language Enhancement Awards?
No. The timing, length and multi-country nature of Fulbright-National Geographic grants do not allow sufficient lead time for participation in the Critical Language Enhancement Award Program.
• How long will the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship last?
Consistent with other components of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Fellowships will be awarded for a nine-month academic year, beginning in the Fall and finishing in the late Spring or early Summer.
• How many countries can I apply to travel to while on this Fellowship?
Applicants may submit proposals for grants to one, two, or three foreign countries. Applicants may not submit proposals for more than three countries.
For the nine month program, you must spend a minimum of three consecutive months in a country. Therefore, if proposing a multiple-country grant, you may split your time in one of the following ways:
1 country – 9 months
2 countries – 3 months or more must be spent in each country
3 countries – 3 months must be spent in each country
• Are there any countries that I cannot apply to travel to?
Yes. Applications will not be accepted for travel, for any length of time during the Fellowship, to countries where there is not an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program.Click here for eligible countries.
• Are dependents supported by the Fellowship?
No. Dependent support is not available for Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows
• May I submit a project as part of a team?
No. The Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship was created for individuals, not teams or tandem couples. However, if individuals apply to the same country(ies) as other applicants to this or to other Fulbright programs, and if selected, wish to collaborate on a project, they may do so. However, each application will be judged on its individual merit and must stand on its own in terms of feasibility.
• Will my work be published by National Geographic?
Yes. Fellows will be instructed in digital storytelling techniques, including effective news story/blog writing, video production, and photography, by National Geographic staff prior to their departure and will be paired with one or more National Geographic editors for continued training, editorial direction and mentorship throughout their Fulbright grant period. Fellows will be required to provide material for a blog on the National Geographic website, on a frequent and ongoing basis throughout their grant term. In addition to the blog, National Geographic will determine how the submitted material is used on its platforms. Stories deemed by National Geographic to be of interest or merit may be considered for all National Geographic platforms. In addition, Fellows will have the opportunity to develop further content for use by National Geographic and the Department of State.
• Will I be permitted to publish in other media outlets while on my Fellowship?
National Geographic will retain the “Right of First Refusal” on all materials produced by Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows during the period of the award. Fellows will be required to first propose all stories to National Geographic, including those outside of the topic area of the Fellowship. If National Geographic declines to publish a story, Fellows may request approval to propose stories to other media outlets.
• Who funds this Fellowship and what level of financial and in-kind support will be provided?
Funding for this Fellowship is provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, through the cooperating partner organization implementing the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Institute of International Education (IIE). All fellows will receive standard Fulbright Program benefits, including funds for travel, a living stipend, and health benefits as well as a modest professional stipend. Living stipends will be calculated based on host-country cost-of-living indices. In addition, Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows will be paired with National Geographic editors who will offer training, mentoring, and guidance. Fellows will receive instruction in digital storytelling techniques, including effective blog writing, video production, and photography, by National Geographic editorial staff prior to their departure. Over the course of the grant, Fellows will engage with National Geographic editors and other mentors on story assignments and submissions.
• What does the application process consist of?
All applicants for the Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship are required to submit an application to the Institute of International Education.
• When will decisions on awards be finalized and announced for this Fellowship?
Finalists will be notified of finalist status in Spring 2018. Fellows are required to participate in an interview as well as a mandatory pre-departure orientation, both of which will be held in Washington, DC. The dates for the interview and the pre-departure orientation will be provided in early 2018. Fellows depart for their overseas programs in Summer or Fall 2018.
• Why did the U.S. Department of State and National Geographic create this program?
The Department and National Geographic created this award in recognition of the growing importance of digital storytelling and their organizations’ related goals for international exploration and understanding. This award gives U.S. Fulbrighters a unique opportunity to examine pressing global issues and share insights with a broader public around the world.
• How is the Institute of International Education (IIE) involved with this Fellowship?
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the U.S. State Department’s implementing partner for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. IIE will publish the application materials and receive all applications for this Fellowship, administer the selection process in partnership with the U.S. State Department and the National Geographic Society, and provide planning and administrative support to Fellows before and throughout the duration of their fellowship.