Click here to apply to Breakthrough Generation 2015. 

Each summer, Breakthrough seeks five to ten outstanding young analysts, writers, and thought leaders for a paid fellowship as part of our young scholars initiative, Breakthrough Generation. Fellows will contribute writing and research to one of three policy programs at the Breakthrough Institute: Energy and Climate, Conservation and Development, or Economic Growth and Innovation. Fellowships are highly competitive — only 5-10 percent of applicants are generally accepted — and involve cutting-edge writing, research, and public policy analysis. See below for more information on how to apply. For more information about the fellowship, click here.

Since its inception in 2008, Breakthrough Generation has trained over 60 top young policy analysts and thinkers.

The fellowship runs for ten weeks between June and August and pays $500 per week. The exact dates will be set in March. Fellows work 40 hours per week, and may be considered for full-time employment at the end of the fellowship. Breakthrough does not provide housing.

Who can apply?

Final-year undergraduates, college graduates, and postgraduates are eligible to apply for the fellowship. Fellowships are open to applicants from any country.

How do I apply?

Apply using the online application form. You will need to provide your basic information, a cover letter, resume or CV, and three writing samples (see details about these below). All uploaded documents must be in PDF format. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

When is the application deadline?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015. 

When will I hear back?

We review applications as they come in, but we do not make final decisions about acceptances until after the final deadline. You will hear back from us via email within two weeks after the deadline if you have been selected for a phone interview. There are three rounds of phone interviews before final decisions are made. 

When does Breakthrough Generation take place?

Breakthrough Generation 2015 will take place between June 8 and August 15. The first two weeks will be dedicated to Breakthrough Bootcamp, an integral intellectual crash course in Breakthrough's history and research. If you have a scheduling conflict with these dates, please do not be discouraged from applying. Contact Breakthrough staff with any questions and concerns: generation [at] 

Cover Letter

Please indicate at the top of your cover letter which of the three research areas you wish to be considered for: Energy and Climate, Conservation and Development, or Economic Growth and Innovation. An excellent cover letter will display a thorough understanding of Breakthrough's work and ideas, and discuss at least one of our publications and/or Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus's book Break Through. Please limit your cover letter to one page maximum.


Please limit your resume or CV to two pages maximum. 

Three Writing Samples

1) A 500-1000 word argumentative essay or op-ed (does not have to be published) on a subject of your choice that demonstrates an ability to make a focused argument in a clear, convincing, and accessible way. This writing sample is evaluated for evidence of critical thinking and general writing skills. For examples of opinion pieces written by Breakthrough staff, see here, here, and here.

2) A research paper of up to approximately 15 pages. This does not need to have been published, but should demonstrate an ability to research and analyze a subject in more depth. It is recommended, but not required, that the topic of the research paper be relevant to the program area you are applying to.

3) An additional writing sample of your choosing — this can be an opinion piece, a research paper, a policy memo, or any other piece of writing that complements the first two samples.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are welcome but not required. Recommendations will only be accepted if the author of the letter, not the applicant, sends the letter directly to Breakthrough.

Any other questions or concerns?

Please email generation [at]

Breakthrough Institute is an equal opportunity employer.