New West Coast Initiative from the Aspen Institute Will Engage Technologists in Policymaking
Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Associate
The Aspen Institute
Jon.Purves@aspeninstitute.org | 202 736 2111
San Francisco, CA, January 18, 2019 – The recently formed Aspen Tech Policy Hub is now accepting applications for its inaugural cohort of Incubator Fellows. The San Francisco-based policy incubator, which is part of the Aspen Institute Cybersecurity & Technology Program, seeks to teach tech experts about the policy process and help them to formulate and advance solutions that address society’s problems.
The program is the first to use the model of a startup incubator, such as Y Combinator or 500 Startups, to train technologists to better engage in policymaking. The ultimate objective is to build bridges between Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley, with policymakers that better understand today’s technologies and challenges, and technologists who recognize the important role of public policy.
Incubator Fellows will be in residence full time from June to mid-August 2019. During their residence, fellows will produce at least one practical policy output—for instance, mock legislation, toolkits for policymakers, white papers, op-eds, or an app—and will ‘exit’ the incubator by presenting their ideas to a stakeholder with decision-making authority over that issue. The Hub is seeking applicants with significant professional experience with technology, and fellows will publicly present their proposals in the fall of 2019 at events in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
More information about the fellowship and the link to apply is available here: www.aspentechpolicyhub.org.
Seed support for the initiative comes through a $1.6M donation from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the organization of craigslist founder Craig Newmark. “This initiative comes at a critical juncture, when the relationship between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. is struggling to find its footing,” said Newmark. “The Hub will enable diverse engagements among technical experts and policymakers that are much needed in the current environment.”
The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is led by Dr. Betsy Cooper, a respected cybersecurity policy leader who served as the founding Executive Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. “Silicon Valley and Washington need to work together to do more than just debate the effects of technologies on our lives,” Cooper explained. “They need to explore new models for innovating policy ideas that can work for both sides. The Hub is a first step in enabling that conversation.”
About the Application Process:
The window to apply runs until midnight PST on Wednesday, February 27. Decisions will be announced in May, and Incubator Fellows will then start their residence at the Hub in June.
Press in San Francisco who would like to learn more are invited to attend a happy hour with prospective applicants and friends of the fellowship on February 6. Please sign up for the happy hour here.
The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is a West Coast policy incubator, training a new generation of tech policy entrepreneurs. Its mission is to take tech experts, teach them the policy process through a fellowship program in the Bay Area, and encourage them to develop outside-the-box solutions to society’s problems. The Hub models itself after tech incubators like Y Combinator, but trains new policy thinkers and focuses the impact of their ideas.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit aspeninstitute.org.
Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. The organization works to advance people and grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans and military families. For more information, please visit: CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org.