Population Health

Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship

Image of student engaged with a virtual reality headsetThe Population Health Initiative, in partnership with the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, CoMotion and the Evans School, has launched a Social Entrepreneurship Fellows Program in which students will explore how best to deploy social enterprise models for innovations that are developed by University of Washington researchers.

The program will support three graduate fellows from different disciplines to work on three different projects. Students from a range of disciplines are encouraged to apply, including business, engineering, social work, law, public policy and public health.

Each fellow will have primary responsibility for one of the projects, but fellows will work as a team, with each fellow contributing their disciplinary expertise to all three projects. Fellows will be guided through a structured workplan by program faculty and staff, and will also have access to mentors and subject matter experts.

Meet the 2019 cohort of fellows and learn about the results of the summer projects.

Summer 2019 projects

The projects for the summer 2019 program are all based on the use of mobile and digital technologies to improve population health. All innovations are seeking novel ideas for how they can be financially sustainable while at the same time ensuring that the social impact of the work remains as important as revenue generation. The projects are:

Communities that Care Plus – (Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, Kevin Haggerty)

Communities that Care (CTC) provides coaching and training for communities through an evidence-based, prevention science process to reduce levels of risky behavior in youth, including smoking, substance abuse, violence and criminal behavior. CTC has now developed digital content to enhance training, together with tools to track results and progress over time. A student will analyze how CTC can grow and scale up the use of the digital content. Specific questions of interest are how to price content/services, how to measure impact, and exploring options for operational models.

FOCUS – A mobile health intervention for people with serious mental illness (mHealth for Mental Health, Psychiatry, Dror Ben Zeev)

FOCUS is an app to treat individuals with severe mental illness, targeting conditions such as hearing voices, depression, sleep, social functioning and medication use. Clinical studies have shown that the app is successful in engaging high-risk patients and has similar outcomes to clinic-based care. Currently, the project has grant funding to test two different implementation models for how the app can be most effectively delivered to patients. The project team would like to explore social entrepreneurship models for sustainability. A particular concern is how to ensure that the social impact of the intervention remains as important as revenue generation, as the primary goal for the work is to benefit a vulnerable and marginalized patient population.

Project EMAR – A social robot to measure and reduce stress in teens (Elin Bjorling, Human Centered Design and Engineering)

There is a growing mental health crisis in adolescents, and teens experience stress at higher rates than any other age group. The project team has therefore designed a robot that can interact and engage with teens at schools to collect self-reported stress and mood data. Early findings indicate that engagement with the robot may also lead to some alleviation of stress. Due to the failure of many commercially-developed social robots as well as a desire to ensure that any final use of the robot is ethically driven, the EMAR team is looking for socially driven entrepreneurship models for dissemination and sustainability of the robot.

Student eligibility

One fellowship is designated for a Foster MBA student, or a graduate student who has completed entrepreneurial core coursework (e.g., Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate).

For the other two fellowships, graduate students at the master’s and doctoral levels and professional students from all UW schools and colleges are eligible to apply. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at any UW campus (Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell) and not graduating in June.

Students will be expected to work at a location on the UW’s Seattle campus for the duration of the fellowship


Fellows will be compensated up to $10,000 over a 10-week period.


  • Applications are due by Friday, April 12, 2019
  • Applicants will be notified about fellowship interviews by April 17, 2019
  • Interviews will be scheduled for the week of April 22, 2019
  • Candidates will be notified about fellowship offers by April 26, 2019
  • Fellowships are for a 10-week period over the summer, starting June 24, 2019 and ending August 30, 2019

Application instructions

All applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Recent CV or resume.
  • Unofficial transcript.
  • One- to two-page cover letter outlining why you are interested in the fellowship program and how your skills will enable you to contribute to the success of the project. The application should indicate if there is a specific project that you are particularly interested in.

Please combine the CV/resume, transcript and cover letter into a single .pdf file and submit this file via email to pophlth@uw.edu. The subject line of the email should be, “Social Entrepreneurship Application.”

Review criteria

Applications will initially be reviewed by representatives of the Population Health Initiative, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, CoMotion and the Evans School. Select candidates will then be invited to interview for the fellowship positions. Candidates will be notified whether they have been selected for interviews according to the published timeline.

Interviews will last for 30-minutes and will be with a panel consisting of the faculty and staff who reviewed the applications.

Applicants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated the analytical skills necessary to complete the project
  • Demonstrated interest in social entrepreneurship
  • Academic performance to date
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Demonstrated experience working within in a team environment


Please contact pophlth@uw.edu with questions regarding this fellowship program.