Carroll L. Wilson Award

The Carroll L. Wilson Award provides an opportunity for one or more MIT graduating seniors to pursue a challenging international activity aimed at making a tangible and transformative impact in society. The Award particularly, but not exclusively, supports topics that will address challenges in energy, health, technology, the environment, sustainability, and/or science.

The Award honors the legacy of the late MIT professor Carroll L. Wilson who throughout his career sought solutions to important global problems through the application of scientific, engineering, economic, and political analysis to programs of action. The underlying goal of his work was the improvement of relations among countries and the strengthening of their institutions and people. The Carroll L. Wilson Award embraces and celebrates these principles.

Quick Facts

  • Field of Study: Any
  • Type: International Project
  • Place of Study: Anywhere
  • Award: $25,000+ depending on project and location
  • MIT Application Deadline: October 20 
  • Finalist Notification: November 27
  • Interview and Award Notification: December 2

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be an MIT senior
  • Apply in the fall of your graduating year
  • Demonstrate superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement, and personal promise druing your undergraduate career.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be judged based on their academic accomplishments and commitment to solving problems related to global sustainability. The Selection Committee includes members who personally worked with and were mentored by Carroll L. Wilson.

The Selection Committee will consider projects that address pressing global concerns, including:

  • New projects that will occupy most of an academic year to develop
  • Projects that continue or expand upon work already initiated during undergraduate study
  • Preference may be given to projects carried out in developing world nations


Download the application to apply for the Carroll L. Wilson Award (Microsoft Word Document)

The application includes:

  • Personal statement detailing how the student’s proposal matches the aims of the Wilson Award
  • Executive summary
  • Project proposal
  • Budget
  • CV
  • Letters of support from the faculty advisor and an individual outside of MIT who knows the applicant well.
  • A letter of support from an affiliate in the host country is not required but will lend strength to the application.

Application materials should be submitted directly to Kimberly Benard:


Interested students should schedule an appointment to meet with Kim Benard.

October: Application due (Friday, October 20, 2017 by 5:00 pm)

November: Finalists notified (Monday, November 27, 2017)

December: Interviews will be conducted during the day (Saturday, December 2, 2017). Winner(s) will be announced and invited to attend the Carroll L. Wilson Circle reunion dinner that evening.

About Carroll L. Wilson

Carroll L. Wilson '32, Humanitarian Entrepreneur

Carroll L. Wilson ('32) was a Professor of Management at the Sloan School and the first Mitsui Professor in Problems of Contemporary Technology at MIT. His career encompassed a number of academic, government, and industrial positions ranging from Assistant to the President of MIT to first General Manager of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Among Wilson’s many accomplishments was the establishment of the MIT African Fellows Program (1960-1967) and the MIT Fellows in Latin America Program (1965-1967), which allowed talented MIT graduates to partner with and assist emerging independent nations by working directly in their governmental agencies.

The Carroll L. Wilson Award has been funded by corporate contributions and by colleagues and friends of the late Professor Wilson from all over the world. Visit MIT’s giving site to make a gift to the Carroll L. Wilson (1932) Prize Fund.

More information on Carroll L. Wilson can be found in two archival documents: a MIT Technology Review article and the Carroll L. Wilson Report (pdf). Please note that users may access the manuscript for scholarly purposes only and may only copy portions of the manuscript to the extent that such copying is consistent with the principles of fair use as set forth in Title 17, Section 107 of the United States Code.

Carroll L. Wilson Fellows

As awardees of a Fellowship of the Carroll L. Wilson Circle, Fellows enter an inter-generational community of exceptional scholars, intellectuals and business entrepreneurs united around the concerns for global sustainability, as espoused by the late Carroll L. Wilson. Fellows engage in regular activities of the Circle, including sitting on the Fellowship awards committee, being present at the annual recognition dinner, attending periodic interdisciplinary conferences organized by the Circle and collaborating with peer Fellows to advance concern for issues of global sustainability. As Fellows of the Circle, awardees are encouraged to establish enduring relationships with peer Fellows in order to advance their work and to bring knowledge, experience and resources to bear on issues of pressing global concern.