GSP 2017

Frequently asked questions from applicants and participants

What are the dates of the 2017 Global Solutions Program (GSP)?

Singularity University's (SU) 2016 GSP program is scheduled for June 17 - August 17, 2017.

What is expected of me during and after attending the GSP?

As a participant in the GSP, we will expect you to maintain full attendance, participate in official activities, form a team of 2-5 people, collaborate to develop a moonshot innovation (ideally related to climate change), commit to continuing to build a viable startup post-GSP, and become part of SU’s long-term entrepreneurial journey, depending on the success of your GSP team project. 

GSP is the beginning of a long-term process. Building a moonshot startup can take several years or more, given the intended scope, scale, and impact of this type of venture. Therefore, you should enter the program with that expectation, ability, and commitment level.

What is the GSP daily experience like?

GSP is an extremely intense experience, in the best possible way! A typical day runs from 9am to 9pm, with breaks for meals and wellness. The curriculum includes lectures, interactive Q&A sessions, workshops, and visits to various companies and organizations around Silicon Valley. 

We’ll expect you to be in residence at SU and in attendance on a full-time basis throughout the entire 9-week program. Come prepared to invest 100% of your energy on the GSP experience, with no lingering obligations (e.g., pre-existing business, work commitments, etc).

This is a big commitment: you’re about to create a new company! As such, we'll expect you to remain involved well beyond the duration of this initial stage in its development.

How much does it cost to attend the GSP program?

The program itself is free of charge. Program fees, paid for either by a GIC sponsor or Google funding, include housing, scheduled meals, academic materials, and site visits.

However, program funding does not include your travel and related expenses. Participants will need to cover the following expenses independently:

  • Travel expenses to and from the program
  • Personal care items

How many participants attend GSP?

In total, there will 90 amazing people attending GSP from around the world. That’s a lot of new friends!​

Where is GSP held?

The GSP is held on Singularity University’s campus at NASA Research Park in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Learn more about NASA Research Park's facilities at  www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/home/index.html.

What are the living accommodations and provided meals like during the program?

You’ll share a double room with another participant at the NASA Exchange Lodge. We’ll match you with your roommate based on gender and living preferences. 

We’ll provide all meals on campus from a catering service. We’ll take into account your dietary needs, and we’ll always offer vegetarian and vegan options every day.

How do I apply to GSP?

There are two ways to apply to the GSP. You can submit a direct application, or you can enter a Global Impact Challenge (GIC). You're welcome to apply separately to both channels during the GSP 2017 admissions cycle.

Direct applications are now closed. Please find a GIC if you wish to apply.

How do I know if I meet the criteria for GSP?

GSP exists to foster the development of viable startups (for-profit or not-for-profit) that will positively impact the lives of a billion people in 10 years or less. If you attend GSP, you’ll have a remarkable opportunity to learn about exponential technologies and their broader societal implications; grow into global innovators and thought leaders; and build a strong, diverse community of friends for life who share your commitment to solving the world’s biggest problems.

We’re looking for people who are interested in starting a company or nonprofit addressing a global grand challenge that can create positive impact at scale. 

Whether you’re working in the climate change area as we’ve broadly defined it or are making great things happen in another impact space, we want to hear from you, particularly if we’re describing you below:

  • You’re an accomplished entrepreneur, technologist, scientist, or change agent with expertise in your chosen field(s)
  • You have a background in or a passion for addressing climate change or are working to address any of the direct or indirect effects of climate change, such as governance, security, sustainable water supplies, and alternative food or energy sources 
  • You’re already considering how to leverage exponential technologies to create positive impact in the world 
  • You’re committed to the long-term journey of launching an impact-focused startup 

What is the direct admission timetable for GSP 2017?

If you submit a direct application, we’ll do an initial evaluation based on materials you submit online, including your CV and a short personal video. We’ll invite a small group of direct admission finalists to participate in individual video interviews prior to final admission decisions for the 2017 GSP. 

Note: Letters of recommendation for GSP are blind and are requested through the application software. You may submit your application before letters are received, but please follow up independently with your recommenders to make sure you meet all deadlines. 

November 29th, 2017: Direct admissions open

March 5th, 2017: Submission deadline for direct applications​

March 12th, 2017: Submission deadline for letters of recommendation (conducted through application software)​

April 14th, 2017: Acceptance notification

June 17th, 2017: GSP participants arrive at SU

Are teams allowed to apply?

Yes. Although most of the GSP participants will not be part of an existing team, GSP17 has limited spots to allow for 2-3 person teams to enter the program together. All of your team members must apply to the program via the direct application and specify that you are part of an existing team. Your team should have a previously demonstrated capacity to work together but should not have a pre-formed company. Teams that participate in the GSP are under no obligation to continue with their initial project or even stay with their team. 

Should I apply directly or through a Global Impact Challenge (GIC)?

Both, actually! In addition to your direct application, we strongly recommended that you apply for a GIC if eligible. 

GICs are held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and organized by geography and theme. If you apply by entering a GIC, you must meet the eligibility requirements of that particular GIC as well as the direct admission requirements. All GIC winners receive conditional acceptance to the GSP free of charge. Learn more about Global Impact Challenges at https://su.org/gic/.

Participating in a GIC can only increase your chances of being selected into the GSP. Additionally, when you enter a GIC, you will get opportunities to meet and work with your local innovation ecosystem, regardless of your place in the competition.

What is the incubator program?

Our incubator is an intensive 8-week program designed to further solidify the transformation of the strongest team ideas from SU’s Global Solutions Program (GSP) into viable startups. Teams are selected based on their powerful idea, the effectiveness of their pitch, and the strength and commitment of the founding team members. Each founding team is expected to bring diverse skills, including deep domain expertise and proven business acumen. 

Our incubator provides the platform, network, structure, and guidance to empower these leaders to validate their ideas, gel as a team, experiment and prototype their MVP, and help them deliver exponential impact. The teams are challenged and held accountable with practical milestones and deliverables, with the majority of their time being spent leveraging Singularity University’s ecosystem to build their companies. The program culminates with a Demo Day showcasing the companies and their innovative impact solutions. To learn more, visit: https://su.org/programs/incubator/.

Will I automatically be accepted into the incubator?

No. Although our incubator is specifically designed to help GSP team projects transition into viable startup companies, acceptance is not guaranteed, and all GSP teams will be required to submit an application during the final weeks of GSP. Selection will be based on the viability of each team’s moonshot innovation and the commitment of that team to build a startup company. 

Similarly, GSP-derived companies are welcome to apply to our startup accelerator, which will also require a separate application.

Does SU take equity in the GSP team projects?

Yes, any company which is formed from the GSP team project idea is subject to allocating 5% equity to Singularity University. The equity is allocated once a company is formed and becomes part of SU’s Startup Network (typically during the incubator phase).

What is the attendance policy for GSP?

If you have a scheduling conflict next summer that will prevent you from meeting SU's GSP attendance standards described below, please do not submit an application for the 2017 GSP.

Daily attendance is required of all GSP participants. Your regular participation in the GSP is a critical component for a successful learning experience. 

Excused Absences

We permit only a few absences without adversely affecting your privilege to continue in the program or your receipt of a final certificate. You must notify the GSP Managing Director of any absence in advance. Excused absences include:

  • Death or serious illness of an immediate family member
  • Personal illness
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Illness or medical needs of a child for whom you are a primary caretaker
  • Your own wedding day or that of an immediate family member
  • Required military service, court summons, or jury duty that cannot be postponed
  • Religious observance of high holy days
  • Event honoring you with significant award or recognition

Once I’m selected, how do I confirm my spot in GSP 2017?

Along with your acceptance email, you will receive a link to our formal student agreement and e-signature form. You will have 1 week to accept the offer to attend before the seat will be offered to someone else.

Why is climate change the overall theme for GSP?

For the first time, GSP will have an overall theme to guide admissions, curriculum, and mentoring. We selected climate change as this year’s theme because it’s:

  • Critically urgent (in 2016, we broke records and are on a steady increase for both CO2 & methane emissions and global temperature rise) 
  • Truly a global challenge with far-reaching and devastating consequences
  • Ripe for technological innovation with bountiful possibilities for moonshot startups
  • A galvanizing theme that touches all of humanity

What topics are included in the climate change theme? What if I’m focused on something else? Can I still apply?

We encourage (but won't require) you to develop moonshot innovations that address climate change. There are many areas of focus that we consider part of this theme, and it may be that your efforts and interests already fall within the climate change realm as we are defining it. For example:

  • Prevention: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including renewable energy innovations and other reducing other key GHG sources (e.g., methane from livestock)
  • Remediation: Removing greenhouse gas pollutants (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane) from the environment
  • Mitigation and adaptation: Reducing negative effects of climate change, including: 
    • Environment: Reversing coral bleaching, reforestation, sea level rise mitigation, and more
    • Food: Developing new and sustainable food supplies 
    • Water: Developing new and sustainable water supplies 
  • Action: Increasing empathy and enabling long-term decision making or new governance models, new incentives and market forces, and more

We encourage innovation in these and other areas related to climate change, but you are not required to innovate within this thematic focus. You can choose to innovate outside of the theme, but note that the curriculum will be heavily guided by this theme.