New America’s Public Interest Technology Fellowship Program is an ambitious new initiative designed to support an emerging public interest technology sector in America—the application of technology knowledge skills in policy-making and public service to help solve public problems. Just as public interest law became an esteemed public service career path a generation ago, we believe public interest technologists are critical to our future prosperity as a nation.
What do we mean by public interest technologists? We cast a wide net. Our goal with the Public Interest Technology fellowship is to find bold thinkers that want to join the work of building an ecosystem of engineers, data scientists, software developers, lawyers, economists, and organizers that are all engaged in the common work of harnessing the power of technology to solve public problems. Public interest technology is not simply about building digital systems and services. It is about tackling policy challenges that are directly about technology or shaped by technological change. And it is about making the types of innovative approaches to management, organization, and problem solving that are emblematic of the technology community available to those seeking to make or influence policy at every level.
The next round of applications is due by March 15, 2017.
Through this initiative, fellows will advance big ideas in public interest technology in a variety of ways. Proposals can be for a short-term or part-time project (3-9 months). Or they can be for longer term, full-time and in depth programmatic work (12-18 months). We envision a broad typology of projects that includes (but is not limited to) these examples:
Exit Fellowship – a project for technologists leaving public service designed to document lessons learned, analyze challenges, articulate aspirations, and offer training for the next cohort of public interest technologists.
Parallel Public Service – a project designed to work in parallel on a technology issue (policy, systems, or services) that is currently before government—working with the relevant institutions to test ideas, develop new thinking, organizing partners, and help deliver better outcomes.
Community Technology – a project that experiments with leveraging technology to address a particular community need at the local level by convening discussion and planning, documenting a proposal, and working with community stakeholders to design and implement a pilot project.
Data-Driven Policy – a project designed to build new (or leverage existing) data sets to apply new methods of data science to public policy problems.
Innovation and Management – a project that looks at how to change management practices in public institutions to better attract, retain, and empower technologists and innovative thinkers.
With these projects and fellowships, we seek to establish an ecosystem of public interest technology practice, to grow its capacity, to document its learnings (both inside and outside government), and to test different forms of implementing technology-driven solutions to public problems at the local, state, and national levels.
Fellows benefit from a financial stipend, engagement with each other and with New America’s various policy programs, and the expanded audience and exposure from New America and its media partners. Fellows are encouraged to work with New America’s National Network—including our teams in New York, Chicago and the Bay Area—though a residency in D.C. is preferred. Precise terms and stipend levels of fellowships vary widely according to project type, duration, and level of experience.
The application process is highly competitive. To be considered in the first round of review for a Public Interest Technology Fellowship, you must submit your application no later than February 15, 2017. To be considered in the second round, you must submit your application no later than March 15, 2017.
In addition entering basic contact and background information, we also require that candidates submit the two central application components that will be considered by our Fellows Selection Committee:
Resume: Your professional resume or biography. Please include at the end of resume short descriptions (1 paragraph or less) and links (if available) to previous projects you have worked on that are related to public interest technology.
Statement of Interest: The core of the application in which you explain your proposal for the fellowship--your line of inquiry, how you plan to develop it, why you feel this project will enrich the public interest technology ecosystem. This statement should not exceed 1500 words.
As a matter of commitment, policy, and law, New America is an equal opportunity employer.