Fellowship Details


BLUE: Not your average fellowship

Do you have an idea for a project or process that doesn't fit within conventional research domains? A radical, wild idea that crosses discipline boundaries? Or do you simply have a passionate need to explore, create and learn in unconventional ways?

The Vision

Building 21 and Student Life and Learning at McGill are proud to announce BLUE (Beautiful Limitless Unconstrained Exploration) Fellowships. Inspired by B21's core mission—to enable scholars to freely seek and pursue innovative interdisciplinary ideas and projects that don't fit into conventional research domains—BLUE are not your traditional fellowships.

Whether you have an "out-there" idea—or ideas—already ruminating in your mind, or are simply the type that has a passionate need to explore strange notions and learn in unconventional ways, we want to hear from you.

The more varied the mix, the more perspectives and possibilities.  Project completion does not need to be assured—we are much more interested in the process. Propose an idea you'd like to play with, tinker with, delve into. We can't wait to hear what you're dreaming up.

Examples of what can be done

Not sure what we mean by ideas and projects that are "different" and multi/cross-discipline? Projects can be entirely arts focused, science focused, or a mix. Here are a few examples:

  • How can we use augmented reality to teach philosophy?

  • How can we reinvent democracy?

  • Can we use bacteria’s quorum sensing to create poetry?

  • Can physics equations explain human’s need for art?

  • Can we reinvent website design to enhance intelligence?

  • Can we power the whole world without any waste products, or feed the whole world without harming any animals, plants or ecosystems?

  • Is our sense of the beautiful, and of aesthetic different when free floating in the space station?

  • How do we prepare for true General Artificial Intelligence?

  • What could we learn about medical education by looking at dancers?

Funding and scheduling

Through BLUE 15 students will receive a $3k stipend to explore ideas, projects or processes that push boundaries and comfort zones, and potentially touch on multiple disciplines. The fellowship will last two months during the summer.

$2.5k of the total $3k will be a stipend, and the remaining $500 will be reserved for the purchase of materials. The stipend ensures accessibility of the BLUE Fellowships to all McGill students, regardless of financial status.

Eligibility and requirements

Students may apply individually or in pairs, though individual applications will be given priority due to the high volume of applicants. Undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from any Faculty or level are invited to apply. Graduate students will need to confirm that they have received permission for their supervisor.

Participants will be required to work out of—and be physically present at—Building 21 over the course of the eight week Fellowship. Participants are required to devote a minimum of 20 hours per week to the project, divided among 4 days at B21. Participants are encouraged to work with partner laboratories and facilities.

While projects don't need to be completed by the end of the Fellowships, fellows will be asked to present their work to the committee at that time.

We guarantee that we will not use any idea for future projects without consent, however, please stipulate in your application if you would like your idea to remain confidential if you are not selected for the fellowships.

Submitting your application

To apply, students will be asked to ‘wow’ the selection committee in the manner they prefer. This means choosing whatever platform you feel will best highlight both your ideas and personal strengths (video, text, music, filmed performance, unusual and original research work, etc.).

Due to the expected large volume of applications, please aim for maximum impact as opposed to length for our committee members. We strongly recommend keeping videos and similar applications to be viewed within 3 minutes.

The application should highlight the originality, boldness and creativity of the applicant and/or the idea submitted. We are looking for students who are passionate, engaged, autonomous and are obsessed with knowledge, and learning.

Applications opening in Fall 2019


Building 21 would like to thank the McGill Commitment for funding this project.