We are excited to announce that the applications for the 2018 Congressional Innovation Fellowship is now live! Between now and September 28, you can apply on our website or on Screendoor, our online application platform.
Two years ago, we were raising money for an idea we hoped to pilot: placing individuals with technical skills— like engineers or computer scientists, or people that just really understood tech— to work with Members of Congress, modeled on a number of longstanding Congressional fellowships.
Thanks to some great funders who took a chance on us— Reid Hoffman, the Knight Foundation (through its Netgain partnership) and Google, who helped us recruit two fellows in 2016, and the Ford Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and Reid Hoffman, who helped us recruit four fellows in 2017—TechCongress has placed six technologists in Congress, with great results. Our fellows have served front and center on tech policy in Congress, working on issues as varied as autonomous vehicle regulation, encryption, health IT, biometric privacy, drones, government hacking, and open data standards.
We’re seeing results. The media is reporting on the lack of technical capacity on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress are increasingly willing to admit that this knowledge gap makes it harder and harder to govern effectively. And Congressional staffers are getting smarter. Groups like the Wilson Center and Hoover Institution are organizing cybersecurity bootcamps. And staff are self-organizing to help improve their own technical knowledge, with the Congressional Tech Staff Association (cofounded by 2015 fellow John Costello) bringing in subject matter experts to help staff get up to speed on issues.
The 2018 fellowship will build on all this work. We’re recruiting for up to six fellows this time around. TechCongress is now well established in Congress, and demand for fellows on the Hill far outstrips supply.
If you think you might be interested in applying for the program, join us at one of our in-person events in Washington, D.C. or San Francisco, or on one of our weekly UberConference calls. Visit our FAQs page, or check out our blog, where we’ve been documenting our work and what we’ve learned along the way.
Even if you’re not interested in applying yourself, you can help us build our 2018 class! Each of our first six fellows found out about the program from a friend or colleague who shared information—through an email forward, retweet or being nominated for the program. You can help us find our next class of fellows by:
Retweeting our application announcement
Nominating a friend, family member, colleague for the program
Sending our fellowship description to like minded groups or networks
And be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop about updates and events!