Presidential Innovation Fellows
"The Presidential Innovation Fellows Program gives our country a powerful mechanism to ensure that the most current cross-functional innovative thinking can be part of our governance. That technology innovation and design talent can join expert colleagues already in government and together address the greatest challenges our leaders are facing" -President Barack Obama
The Presidential Innovation Fellows program brings the principles, values, and practices of the innovation economy into government throught the most effective agents of change we know: our people.
This highly-competitive program pairs talented, diverse technologists and innovators with top civil-servants and change-makers working at the highest levels of the federal government to tackle some of out nation's biggest challenges. These teams of entrepreneurs-in-residence and government experts take a user-centric approach to issues at the intersection of people, processes, products, and policy to achieve lasting impact at startup speed.
To bring entrepreneurs, executives, technologists, designers, and other innovators into government, and to team up with Federal employees to improve programs that serve more than 150 million Americans
Distinct Differences From Other Offerings
Presidential Innovation Fellows work on a wide variety of projects during their twelve month tenure, resulting in multiple opportunities to serve citizens through far reaching or hyper-focused efforts. Projects can be solely focused on supporting agencies, delivering on Presidential priorities, and/or delivering technology that has a cross-agency impact on the federal government.
Impact Achieved For Students and Campus
This program is beneficial to both the student fellows and their respective universities. The fellows participate in a paid 12-month program where they work on innovation projects within various government agencies at their Washington D.C. headquarters. Upon completion of the program, most of the fellows (over half) take jobs within the federal government. Notable roles of former PIFs include U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, the first-ever Chief Marketing Officer of the U.S. Census and many more. Still others have gone on to start their own businesses.
As for impact for the students' campuses, these projects don't necessarily directly impact the universities. Instead, these projects have the potential to serve the citizens of the country in a variety of ways, ranging from increased efficiency and access in government run programs, an open data effort to improve economic mobility for all, to even reimagining cancer clinical trials in order to increase awareness and access for patients.
Most Fellowship positions require an ability to work in a modern techinical, design and product environment. Many have significant experience and track records of delivering at a very high-level, are proven leaders, and innovative thinkers. Recommendations are not considered in the application process. Applications are accepted twice a year, once in the Spring, and once in the Fall. Please check apply.pif.gov for the current application deadline. Prior to recieving a final offer from the program, candidates under consideration will be asked to complete a credit check and Moderate Background Investigation. In some cases, Fellows may have to complete higher levels of clearance in order to work at certain agencies or prior to being deployed on certain projects.
You can get in contact with and learn more about the program via:
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- University Innovation Fellows Spring 2018: