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Studio Y Fellowship

What is the Studio Y fellowship?

Designed for young professionals, the Studio Y Fellowship is a residency-based leadership program that also offers a full-time placement option.

Our flexible eight-month program develops leaders through intensive workshops, project work, coaching and mentorship.

Our 25 Fellows come from across Ontario to receive guidance from leading experts at MaRS, as they address complex challenges in four cluster areas.

Applications for the 2017/18 cohort are now closed.

The Fellowship curriculum

Our core curriculum teaches Fellows the foundations of systems leadership, by employing lateral thinking, drawing from different disciplines and bridging theory with practice. Flexible programming and experiential learning are applied.

Course Stream 1: Understand Systems Change

This course lays the foundation for the program, with a focus on examining complex problems using a whole-system lens to understand how change happens.

Course Stream 2: Lead Systems Change Work

When engaging across industries and promoting cooperation among multiple organizations, successful leaders promote change by demonstrating influence rather than exercising control. This course deals with developing strategies for change, empowering others to lead, and leading ourselves.

Course Stream 3: Cross-Sector Connectivity

Strong networks underpin the work that our leaders do and the impact that they have. This course teaches the skills required to build these networks, convene diverse groups, and facilitate effective collaboration.

Course Stream 4: Innovation to Solve Problems

Addressing complex problems often requires disrupting the status quo. This course teaches entrepreneurial thinking and design thinking, which our Fellows apply to developing solutions that are innovative, entrepreneurial, creative and responsive to the needs of various stakeholders.

Course Stream 5: Anti-Oppressive Practices

Anti-Oppressive Practices (AOP) address the social and economic inequalities that are built into our society.  This course teaches Fellows to analyze how power and privilege intersect within systems. Fellows are then guided in applying AOP in their careers.

Experiential learning

The Studio Y fellowship runs part-time September through May. Fellows divide their time between:

In-class residencies

A mix of classroom work, facilitated dialogues, coaching, pitches and presentations.

Time commitment: A 10-day introductory session followed by five 5-day sessions held approximately every five weeks. Program closes with a showcase and graduation.

Team challenges

Fellows work in industry-specific teams of four to six to apply their learning through real-world challenges. They develop innovative prototypes and scalable solutions.

Time commitment: Approximately six hours per week over 35 weeks. Fellows complete this work in parallel to their other commitments.

Offsite workplace/placement

Fellows put their learning into practice by working or running their own business full time. Alternately, they can complete challenging work placements within MaRS.

Time commitment: Full-time in the weeks between sessions.

Support and coaching will be available to Studio Y fellows throughout their training.

Networking & mentorship

A network of organizations and leaders from across Ontario’s sectors and industries will be available for collaboration. Each Fellow will be matched with a mentor who’ll provide them with career insights, coaching and feedback.

Leadership coaching

Supported by specialized coaching and workshops, Fellows will develop a ‘Professional Leadership Plan’ that will help them assess their current performance, plus areas for growth and learning.

The MaRS ecosystem

Staff and partners at MaRS will act as faculty members, mentors, coaches and collaborators for Fellows.

Financial support and funding

A personal stipend is provided to all Fellows. Fellows who complete a placement at MaRS will receive additional funding.

Living stipend options

Fellows who are working or running their own venture will receive a $8,000 living and travelling stipend for the duration of the fellowship. Alternatively, Fellows may apply for a placement within MaRS and receive an additional $22,000 living stipend (for a total stipend of $30,000).

Access fund

Assistance with travel and accommodations is available to those travelling from outside Toronto who face financial barriers. Access funding may also be requested if a Fellow experiences a financial barrier to accessing all or part of the program.

The Theme Areas

Fellows work in MaRS’ four theme areas:


Supporting a range of projects and health startups that span the full industry spectrum, from health monitoring and disease treatment to information storage & sharing.
Initiatives include MaRS Excellence in Clinical Innovation Technology Evaluation (EXCITE) and MyHealth.

Energy & the Environment

Developing Canadian solutions to some of society’s most significant challenges
in the areas of agri-tech, energy, smart cities and water.
Initiatives include the MaRS Cleantech venture services group and the Advanced Energy Centre.

Finance & Commerce

Supporting projects and ventures in the areas of financial technology and impact investing.
Initiatives include MaRS FinTech and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.

Work & Learning

Helping high-impact startups and projects that revolutionize both how we acquire knowledge and how we put it to good use.

Current Cohort