The MacArthur Fellowship
What is the MacArthur Fellowship?
What are the selection criteria?
The Fellows Program deplores harassment and discrimination of any kind, as well as conduct that misuses positions of trust or power. We seek to recognize individuals who act with integrity and respect toward members of the communities with which they work.
What do the recipients receive?
Why are no strings attached?
What fields are generally represented among the recipients?
How does the program define "creativity"?
Why does the Fellows Program recognize only individuals?
What do you know about the impact of the Fellows Program?
How do Fellows spend their stipend?
Is this the same thing as the "genius grant"? Why does the program not use the term "genius" regarding its Fellows?
The Nomination Process
How are candidates brought to MacArthur's attention?
Who are the nominators?
How do nominators nominate?
How many nominations are received during the course of a year? How long does it take for a nomination to move through the selection process?
Do some people know that they have been nominated?
The Selection Process
What is the Selection Committee?
What information does the Selection Committee use to make its recommendations?
What is the selection process?
Why all the confidentiality?
The Board of Directors
What role does the Board of Directors play in the MacArthur Fellows Program?
How are recipients notified of the Fellowship, and what are their responses?
How many people receive the fellowship and when are they announced?
Program History and Background
Who were John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur?
Why is the Foundation interested in issues relating to individuals and creativity? Whose idea was the Fellows Program?
The Burch article, and others like it, prompted John MacArthur’s son, J. Roderick MacArthur, who was also a member of the Foundation’s Board, to propose the formation of the MacArthur Fellows Program. He, along with other Board members, met with representatives of other foundations and with scientists, humanists, and others to test this innovative idea. There were meetings held in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere, all devoted to exploring the idea, shaping it, testing it, and seeing how it might develop into a program.
The Board envisioned a program that would: (a) identify creative individuals with extraordinary promise for significant accomplishment; (b) select these individuals from across a broad range of fields and professions; (c) give them enough money to live decently, so that they would not be required to take other work; (d) pay out this money over a long enough time period to allow them the freedom to set their own agenda; and (e) leave them alone to work on whatever they might choose, without any strings attached to the use of the funds or any reporting requirements.