News: Thiel Foundation Awards Grant to Singularity University

Singularity University (SU) — the academic institution with the goal of preparing the next generation of leaders to utilize exponential technologies in addressing “humanity’s grand challenges” — today announced that the Thiel Foundation has awarded it a $50,000 grant for curriculum development. The grant will leverage the Thiel Foundation’s vision and domain expertise to support and expand Singularity University’s Policy, Law, and Ethics (PLE) curriculum track.

Founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Thiel, the Thiel Foundation promotes personal, economic, and political freedom. Among other projects, the Foundation sponsors innovative scientific research and new technology development that empowers people to improve their lives. Its new 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship will foster the next generation of tech visionaries by awarding $100,000 grants to each of twenty innovators under twenty years old.

“Economic growth depends on innovation, and the education establishment doesn’t support innovation very well,” said Thiel. “People need to explore other ways of learning, from starting new companies while young to taking courses that stress entrepreneurship and breakthrough technologies. Singularity University is a good example of both. Policymakers should respect innovation, mostly by staying out of its way.”

The Thiel Foundation grant will support the continued development of the Policy, Law, and Ethics curriculum, led by world-renowned faculty during the Graduate Studies Program, to help students understand the implications of exponential technologies. The annual Graduate Studies Program is a 10-week graduate-level interdisciplinary curriculum, designed to facilitate understanding, collaboration, and innovation across a broad range of carefully chosen scientific and technological disciplines whose developments are accelerating exponentially. The keystone of the program, the Ten to the Ninth Plus (10^9+) Team Projects, challenge students to develop services, products, and both nonprofit and for-profit organizations that have the ability to positively affect the lives of one billion people within 10 years.

SU also offers both four-day and seven-day Exponential Technologies Executive Programs for executives, investors, and entrepreneurs on a quarterly basis. These programs focus on preparing executives for the disruptive business opportunities and challenges resulting from exponential technologies. The next program is scheduled for December 9-12, 2010.

“The exponential acceleration of science and technology makes it more important than ever for citizens, policy-makers, and business leaders to understand and approach the potential opportunities and risks of new technologies in a thoughtful and nuanced way,” said Neil Jacobstein, President of Singularity University. “We look forward to working closely with Peter Thiel and the Thiel Foundation to expand our Policy, Law, and Ethics curriculum, and further our shared vision of interdisciplinary education and entrepreneurship.”

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