PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Peter Thiel, a billionaire, is a technology entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist interested in innovation.

Recently the Thiel Foundation made 24 awards of $100,000 each, out of more than 400 applicants, as part of the “20 under 20” Fellowship — people who would spend the next two years as the next generation’s visionaries. While the intention was to award 20, outstanding candidates exceeded expectations.

Winner Laura Deming, 17, wants to extend the human lifespan for a few more centuries; Sujay Tyle, from Harvard “is passionate about hacking cellulose to create cheap biofuels” and Jim Danielson is working on building a more powerful and efficient motor for electric vehicles.

While there has been criticism of Thiel’s challenge to innovate instead of going to college, famous dropouts – Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are well known successes. So, if you have an idea or know someone who does, check out the Thiel Foundation website for the next round of fellowships.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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