Community Grants Program Rust Foundation Fellowships

Summary #

Purpose of award:To help support and reward those individuals who, through their voluntary work, have helped make Rust what it is today, and who are key to its future success.

Award amount: A stipend of $1,000 per month plus a travel and training budget.

Application window: 1st April to 30th April 2022.

Selection decisions: By end of May 2022.

Applicants informed of the outcome: 8th June 2022.

Formal start of the Fellowship program: 1st July 2022.

Details #

The Rust Foundation Fellowship is a package of support for current and potential maintainers of the Rust Project. It is designed to financially support individuals to have freedom in directing their own work on the Project over a one-year period, and to provide those individuals with complementary resources such as training, networking and event attendance. The objective of these fellowships is to help support and reward those individuals who, through their voluntary work, have helped make Rust what it is today, and who are key to its future success.

Rust Foundation Fellows (RFFs) will be members of the Rust community to whom the Rust Foundation will award a stipend of $1,000 a month, for 12 months. There will be two different kinds of RFFs:

  • Fellows: these are experienced and active members of the Rust community, who may already be members of project teams. They will have the skills and experience to work largely independently without additional support from the project teams. It is anticipated that the majority of the first cohort of RFFs will be Fellows.
  • Associate Fellows: these are members of the community who have Rust programming experience, but less (or no) experience with the Rust project. Associate Fellows should be keen to develop their skills with a view to becoming active members of a project team, working group, or other maintainer role in the future. It is anticipated that 4-6 members of the first cohort of RFFs will be Associate Fellows, depending upon the capacity of the project teams to provide mentorship support.

The aim of the RFF grants is (a) to provide support to volunteers who are already contributing to the community, and (b) to enable people who have Rust experience to develop their ability to contribute to the community. We are not expecting RFFs to spend 20 more hours a month supporting the community, rather to reward them for the time they are already contributing to help improve their work-life balance and reduce the risk of burnout.

In addition to the monthly stipend each RFF will have a travel allowance of up to $2,000 for their fellowship year to enable them to attend RustConf or another similar Rust event. Furthermore, we will spend up to $2,000 on training and skills development for each fellow. We will work with successful applicants to identify their training needs, and fund the courses and coaching that will be most beneficial to them.

Being awarded a Fellowship will not confer any special privileges on the Fellows - those who are not already will not automatically become members of Project Teams or Working Groups. Prospective Fellows must be able to accomplish their proposed work when applying for it.

What will Fellows do? #

Prospective Fellows are free to choose what they want to work on during the course of their Fellowship year. The focus of their work must, however, be on one or more parts of the Rust Project, in the range of activities carried out by the Rust Teams and Working Groups. Fellowships won’t be limited to people who want to spend their Fellowship year writing code. Applications are also welcome from people who want to:

  • Provide organizational support
  • Carry out moderation
  • Write documentation
  • Support the expansion of the Rust community
  • Review code
  • Carry out any other work that is beneficial to the community

Applicants will be asked to describe in their application how they intend to support Rust over the course of the year. We’re not looking for a detailed list of activities – we’re looking for an overview, in broad terms, of the areas of intended focus. Priority will be given to applicants whose proposed activities align with the priorities of Project Teams and Working Groups.

RFFs will not be required to set and meet specific milestones. They will be asked to prepare a brief update each quarter and have a catch-up call with the Foundation staff. At the end of the fellowship year RFFs will be asked to write a blog post detailing their experiences of the program and reviewing their achievements for publication on the Foundation’s website.

All RFFs will be required to adhere to the Rust Foundation’s Code of Conduct, which is an extension of the Rust Project Code of Conduct. Failure to adhere to the Code of Conduct may result in the Fellowship being terminated.

Who can apply? #

The Fellowships are open to applications from anyone who will be over the age of 18 at the time of the grant award. Rust Foundation staff, officers, and directors are not eligible to apply for any Rust Foundation grants. Employees of organizations that are Members of the Rust Foundation should contact us at prior to completing an application, in order for us to assess whether a Fellowship award to them might represent a conflict of interest for the Foundation. People who are currently paid to work on the Rust Project full-time will not be eligible for Fellowships (part-time is fine).

You don’t have to speak English to be a Fellow, but you do need a reasonable understanding of written English in order to be able to interact with members of the Project Teams and Working Groups.

All Fellowship applicants must ensure that they are able to receive financial transfers from the USA. Details can be found here of the restrictions to such transactions.

Full Eligibility and Selection Criteria


Application questions and context #

To help you better understand if the Fellowship program might be suitable for you and to help you prepare for the application, the questions asked on the application, and the context for them, are as follows:

Name, pronoun(s), email address #

Essential information for us to stay in touch with you.

This will enable us to better understand your technical expertise and experience, and contributions to Rust.

This will enable us to learn a little bit more about you and any public posting you may have made relating to Rust. We understand that some people choose not to have publicly available social media profiles (or social media accounts at all) nor other public sites. If this is true for you, don’t worry, it won’t count against you in the assessment process.

Location and languages spoken #

We are keen to reflect the global diversity of the Rust community in our grant awards and this information will help us achieve that.

Are you part of a group that is affected by systemic bias, particularly in technology? #

We are keen for our grants program, at the very least, to not increase systemic bias, and hopefully go some way to reducing it. We will not ask you for details of how you are affected by systemic bias (if you are), we will take your response on trust.

Are you currently paid (either by an organization, or through personal sponsorship) to work on the Rust Project? If so can you please provide details #

We are keen to ensure that our financial support goes to those members of the community who are most in need of it. For that reason we won’t make an award to someone who is already paid on a full time basis to work on the Rust Project. People who are only paid on a part-time basis to work on the Rust Project or who currently receive no financial support to do so can apply.

Please give us a little bit of background about yourself and your experience with Rust #

As indicated in the full question, we're looking for things like:

  • How long you have been involved with Rust
  • Details of any teams/working groups you may be member of (where applicable)
  • Links to example pull requests you have submitted (where applicable)
  • Links to examples of code reviews you have carried out (where applicable)
  • Any Rust-related materials/public writing you have done (where applicable)
  • Details of any Rust-related events you have been involved with (where applicable)
  • Details of how you participate in the Rust community (virtually or in person)

The responses to this question should help explain to someone who has never heard of you before what your involvement in the community has been. For Rust Fellows we expect you to be able to demonstrate considerable understanding of, and working within, the Rust Community.

We are not expecting the same level of past engagement from prospective Associate Fellows. If you apply to be an Associate Fellow your response should demonstrate that you have some understanding of and experience with Rust, and the potential to increase your skills and engagement over the course of the year.

Please tell us about how you propose supporting the Rust project during your Fellowship year and what the benefit of your work will be for the Rust project and the wider community of users #

This is the most important question in the application, and is essential for us to assess the impact of your proposed work. We know that it is impossible to commit now to specifically what you are going to do over the course of the year but please try and make your answer as detailed as possible. Additionally within your response try to demonstrate, as far as possible, why you are confident that you will be able to achieve your proposed goals.

We are looking for applications that clearly demonstrate both that the work that they are proposing to do is important for the Rust Project, and that it will clearly benefit the wider Rust community.

To help, here are some examples of the kinds of things that would make good and bad responses to this question (though we would expect your response to be more comprehensive than these examples).

Bad response: I will spend the year growing the Rust Community in Country X.

Good response: I will spend the year growing the Rust Community in Country X. I will achieve this through running a weekly Rust newsletter, arranging monthly virtual events, and quarterly in-person events. I will help new Rustaceans with problems that they might encounter by answering questions directly and signposting them to existing materials online. Over the last two years I have helped grow the Rust community in Country X, and already run a newsletter with over 1,000 subscribers along with X social media accounts. I will work to bring this sub community into closer contact with the rust project and encourage project participation from community members. The Fellowship will enable me to dedicate more time to developing the Rust community here.

Bad response: I will carry out moderation for Rust.

Good response: I will carry out an average of five hours a week of moderation for Rust. My focus areas will particularly be the Rust community channels as described on the official Rust project website. I have been volunteering as a Rust moderator for the last year, and this Fellowship will enable me to increase the number of hours I dedicate to moderation.

Bad response: I will work on Crates.

Good response: I will maintain Rust Project developed Crates, specifically this crate that is maintained by the library team: I have been maintaining this crate as a volunteer for more than a year, however the demands of my paid job mean that I am frequently overworked and stressed. This fellowship will enable me to reduce my contracted hours and improve my work-life balance.

Bad response: I will fix bugs.

Good response: I will work on bug fixes in X Team. Over the course of the year I hope to close Y high priority bugs and Z medium priority bugs. I will work with the Rust compiler team and leverage existing priority tags to focus my efforts on bugs that have the greatest impact. I have been working on the Rust project for three years, you can see examples of my work in the response to the background section.