Apply to 2021 Aspen Tech Policy Hub Programs

Update: We announced on February 19 the Savilla Pitt Memorial Fellowship, which awards one member of each incoming Hub cohort an expenses-paid trip to visit DC and continue their work. As a result of this new opportunity, we have extended our application deadline to March 1.

We are currently accepting applications for two training programs to occur in Summer and/or Fall 2021:

  1. Our Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellowship, which is a full-time, paid, ten-week program that teaches technology experts the policy process through an in-residence program in the Bay Area; and 
  1. Our Tech Executive Leadership Initiative (TELI), which is a part-time, unpaid, online ten-week program that provides senior technology professionals with a unique opportunity to strengthen their executive skills through real-world engagement with federal government tech policy problems.

Given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unsure exactly which programs we will offer and when in 2021. (In particular, we are unlikely to run a Hub Fellowship cohort until we can safely host at least a portion of it in-person.) To facilitate recruitment for all these possibilities, we are opening one application for both the fellowship and executive leadership program, and are enabling applicants to indicate their interest in each of these options. 

Please read more about the Hub Fellowship and Tech Executive Leadership Initiative, including this detailed comparison of which program is right for you. Please also review the below information about your eligibility for each program before filling out the application below. For more information about our programs, you are invited to attend our upcoming webinars that will review your options and answer your questions on January 28, February 9, and February 18.

Eligibility

Both Programs

For both our Fellowship and TELI programs, we are looking for applicants with the following characteristics:

1 – Applicants should have significant professional experience with technology.

For instance, applicants might work as an engineer, computer scientist, or business executive at a technology company; might be trained as a data scientist or in human-computer interaction; might work at a university or at a think tank studying cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, or the Internet of Things; or might have professional technology experience such as serving as a patent lawyer. Please note these are just illustrative examples; they are not intended to limit eligibility to these categories.

2 – Applicants should show potential to apply their technology experience to affecting policy and social change.

Applicants should be passionate about solving public sector challenges or other societal problems, and should be able to articulate creative, innovative ways in which they want to make a difference and how their experience will help them do so.

3 – Applicants have not yet significantly explored their potential to enact change through policy.

These are introductory programs to the policymaking process, and applicants with significant past policy experience are likely to be too advanced for this program. While we welcome all interested individuals to apply, we will prioritize applicants who do not have significant previous policy experience (e.g., a master’s in public policy; past experience working in a policy role).

While all technology experts and executives are welcome to apply to our programs, we are particularly interested in applicants who are passionate about problems in our five priority areas:

  • Cybersecurity;
  • The effects of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, and quantum computing;
  • Protecting democracy, combating disinformation or misinformation, and election security;
  • Using technology to help at-risk populations or encourage social justice; and
  • Tech and the environment.

Applicants need to also meet the following eligibility requirements for both programs:

  • Applicant(s) must be at least 21 years of age by the start of the program.
  • Applicant(s) must be fluent in English.

Fellowship

Applicants need to meet the additional eligibility requirements for the Fellowship program:

Tech Executive Leadership Initiative

Applicants should be senior-level technology executives.

We define a technology executive as someone who has: (1) managed large-scale technology projects within a public or private organization; (2) founded, served in a C-suite role of, or managed a business, division, or department within a public or private technology organization; (3) contributed significantly to the strategic development of a tech or tech-adjacent organization; or (4) has an equivalent track record of entrepreneurship, innovation, or technology experience. While there may be exceptions, technology executives generally have at least 10 years of professional experience.

Applicants need to meet the additional eligibility requirements for the TELI program:

  • Applicants must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or hold a visa that enables you to work for the US government.
  • Applicant(s) must be able to commit 10 hours per week to the 10-week program.

FAQ

We will update these FAQs as we receive additional questions about our programs. If your question is not answered here or in the materials above, please contact aspentechpolicyhub@aspeninstitute.org.

General

What is policy?

Great question, and one we will be exploring through much of the program. In general, policy is defined as a “course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organization or individual.” It is a set of rules that an organization or individual agrees to follow. Both governments and companies (and many other actors) set policies, and those policies have the potential to affect all of our lives. The goal of this program will be to expose you to the value of policymaking, and to teach you how to use policy mechanisms to influence outcomes.

Application Process

Should I apply for the Fellowship program or TELI program?

The diagram on our Programming page explains the key differences between the Fellowship and TELI program. You may apply to both programs at once, or just one. We encourage you to select as many programs as you are genuinely interested in.

What is the exact timing of these programs?

Given the uncertainties from COVID-19, we do not have an exact timeline for these programs in 2021. We expect to run these programs in Summer or Fall of 2021. Tentatively we are looking at running a summer program from June 3 to August 13, and a fall program from September 9 to November 19.  We will not know the exact timing of these programs until late spring 2021.

I am a student/recently graduated. Am I eligible to apply to these programs?

You are able to apply to the Fellowship program so long as you are 21 and meet all the other criteria listed in the eligibility section. The TELI program is specifically for senior-level executives or those with equivalent work experience, which we define in the eligibility criteria above.

How do I submit myself for consideration for the Savilla Pitt Memorial Fellowship?

All applicants to Hub programs are automatically considered for the Savilla Pitt Memorial Fellowship; there are no additional materials required. Applicants who hope to be strong candidates for the Memorial Fellowship on the basis of their interest in Tech and the Environment are encouraged to select that box on the application and tailor their proposed problems to that subject.

I would like to join your program to learn more about policy, but I don’t have experience in technology. Can I still apply?

Unfortunately, we are not able to accept applications from candidates without technology experience. We suggest looking at degrees and certificates from universities in public policy as an alternative to our program. In the future, we hope to expand Hub eligibility into other areas, including for projects beyond ‘tech policy.’

I did not do a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degree. Am I still eligible to apply to these programs?

Yes; we hope to accept a diversity of applicants in our programs, including those without university degrees in STEM fields. However, please make sure that you meet all the other criteria for the programs, including significant experience working in technology.

I already have significant policy experience. Am I eligible to apply to these programs?

These are introductory programs to the policymaking process. In the normal case, applicants who have significant previous policy experience (e.g., past experience working in a government policy role) will be too advanced for this program. However, we would still love to hear from you; we may have opportunities to engage you as a policy mentor or on future in-house projects. Please email aspentechpolicyhub@aspeninstitute.org or sign up for our listserv.

How do I write a policy memo?

While we will review ways to write a policy memo in our program, there is no one way to write such a memo. The appropriate structure depends on the problem you are trying to solve. In general, a few tips:

  • Your memo needs to define the problem, using evidence as appropriate to support your position, lay out your proposed solution, and identify major obstacles to the implementation of your solution.
  • To be effective, your memo also needs to be written extremely clearly. For some advice on clear writing, see this blog post from Y Combinator. We also recommend this post by Paul Graham.
  • While not required, many strong applications will tie the applicant’s experience in technology to the problem they identified or to the solution they are attempting to apply

We will go over more tips in our Q&A sessions, so please sign up for those for more info!

What is the application timeline?

Applications are due on Monday, February 22nd at 11:59PM PT.  We tentatively plan to notify finalists by the end of March, and make decisions by the end of April following Skype interviews.

Fellowship

I am on a visa. Am I eligible to apply to the Fellowship?

It depends. Legal Permanent Residents are definitely eligible for the fellowship, as are those on visas that have no restrictions on where they can work. H-1Bs and other visas tied to employers may be more complex. Please contact us to discuss your situation (with the caveat that we are unable to give you immigration advice.) Please note that we are unable to sponsor visas for the fellowship.

How will you keep an in-person fellowship cohort safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?

We plan to carefully track case counts and risk in order to determine whether a fellowship cohort can safely be run in person for ten weeks in mid-to-late 2021. If we determine that we cannot run the Hub fellowship safely, we will consider other options, such as running an iteration of our program in an outdoor tent or shortening the in-person component. If we decide to convene in person, we will follow all state and county-level guidance for COVID-19, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Where in the Bay Area will the fellowship program take place?

The locations for our 2021 cohorts are TBA, but likely to be in the North Bay (Marin, Sonoma, Napa counties) so that the warmer weather may allow us to convene outdoors (i.e., in a ventilated tent) if needed due to COVID-19.

Do I need to propose a project in one of your priority areas?

No. We also will accept applicants who propose projects related to other areas of tech policy! Please note that applications in the priority areas will be reviewed by experts with specific knowledge of those areas; as a result, applicants who stretch their application to fit it into a priority area may be disadvantaged by doing so. If you are not sure whether your project qualifies for a priority area, please either contact us or submit it without indicating a priority area.

What is the fellowship timeline?

Our in-residence fellowship lasts approximately 10 weeks.  Given the uncertainties from COVID-19, we do not have an exact timeline for these programs in 2021 yet, though we hope to run a cohort in the summer and/or fall of 2021.

Can I continue to work in my job as a Hub Fellow?

The Hub incubator program is full time and intensive, and the programming is similar to that required for a full time student, with in-person classes 4 days a week in the Bay Area. We expect your full attention and attendance in our facility during the residence period.

Because of the intensity of the program, accepted fellows should plan to take a leave of absence from full-time work during the length of the paid residence period. Many employers offer ‘social service’ or ‘civic service leave’ to facilitate participation in this type of program. Please contact us if you have specific questions about this process. We are also willing to help accepted applicants talk about their participation with their employers after the application process is complete.

Fellows may continue part-time activities so long as the fellowship remains their first priority, and so long as there is no conflict of interest with their fellowship project. Fellows can also continue with the Hub on a part time basis, if space and Fellow time commitments allow, after their full time residence concludes.

Do you provide health insurance during the fellowship?

We intend to make health care stipends available to participants for the fellowship. These stipends will vary depending on whether the fellow has existing employer-based insurance or needs to purchase health care during the fellowship.

How much funding do accepted fellows receive?

All fellows receive a $18,000 stipend for ten weeks in residence.   

Tech Executive Leadership Initiative (TELI)

I am on a visa. Am I eligible to apply to the TELI program?

To qualify for TELI, you must be on a visa that allows you to work for the United States government. Legal Permanent Residents are definitely eligible. Most visas (such as H1-Bs or OPTs) are ineligible. Please contact us to discuss your situation (with the caveat that we are unable to give you immigration advice.) Please note that we are unable to sponsor visas for the TELI program.

Am I considered a senior-level executive?

We define a senior technology executive as someone who has: (1) managed large-scale technology projects within a public or private organization; (2) founded, served in a C-suite, or managed a business, division, or department within a public or private technology organization (3) contributed significantly to the strategic development of a tech or tech-adjacent organization; or (4) has an equivalent track record of entrepreneurship, innovation, or technology experience. While there may be exceptions, an executive will generally have a minimum of 10 years of professional experience, and often much more.

Can I continue to work in my job during the TELI program?

Yes. We purposefully structure the TELI program so it can be completed while working a standard, full-time job. You will have three hours of class time per week, and six to eight hours of work required outside of class time. Classes are generally scheduled in the late afternoon or early evening on weekdays. There is also a weekend immersion.

Do I need to be interested in working for the federal government to participate in the TELI program?

No, though the program may be most useful for those who are interested in federal government service. This being said, the skills we provide you also apply well to state and local service, as well as to corporate executives in highly regulated fields.

Application

This form requires JavaScript to complete.
Powered by CityBase.