The folks over at the Foresight Institute made note of a competition for visionaries under the age of 20 in a Dec. 16, 2011 posting,
The future will not take care of itself. Global prosperity is not inevitable. The world will only get better if visionary people are creative and relentless about solving hard problems.
The 2011 class of Thiel Fellows includes 24 people who are tackling breakthroughs in hardware and robotics, making energy plentiful, making markets more effective, challenging the notion that there is only one way to get an education, and extending the human lifespan. Several of them have already launched companies, secured financing, and won prestigious awards. As they’re demonstrating, you don’t need college to invent the future (you can read about their progress in a recent article in TechCrunch).
If you’re under twenty and love science or technology, we hope you’ll consider joining the 2012 class of fellows. Go to ThielFellowship.org and apply to change the world. There’s no cost to apply, and they’re accepting applications through December 31. Fellows will be appointed this spring and begin two-year fellowships this summer.
The Thiel Foundation does invite foreign candidates to apply (from the FAQ page)
May foreign candidates apply?
Yes. We encourage candidates from around the world to apply. Foreign candidates are responsible for obtaining their own visa into the United States. If you receive a fellowship you must be up for navigating this challenge.
Here’s a bit more about the current crop of fellows. From Rip Emerson’s Dec. 8, 2011 article for TechCrunch,
In May, Thiel [Peter Thiel], along with his Foundation, put their money where their mouth is, announcing the “20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship”, a program that offers talented independent thinkers under the age of 20 $100,000 and two years free of school to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors. The program launched with 24 Thiel Fellows, each of these wiz kids pursuing their own inspiring scientific and technical projects. …
I did a writeup about another of Peter Thiel’s (founder of Paypal), an entrepreneurial fund for scientists in my April 26, 2011 posting.
Thiel certainly seems to be interested in stimulating new prospects for the future.