Mozilla Network Tech Policy Fellowship

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Summary

Over the past decade, a growing number of tech and policy experts have been actively creating a policy and regulatory environment in government that has contributed to the health and openness of the Internet. The leaders of this work need support to consolidate and document what has been learned -- and also need avenues to collectively shape the policy agenda going forward. With this in mind, Mozilla is launching a fellowship focused on technology policy inside its Mozilla Network. The fellowship program will bring together tech policy experts to research, publish, teach, convene stakeholders, and participate in events.

Background

Tech policy plays an increasingly important role in the development of the Internet and the nature of online life. The last decade has seen a number of policy victories for the health of the Internet: (1) progress on net neutrality in the US, Europe and India; (2) increased government attention to digital literacy and coding in countries like the UK and Estonia; (3) the Marco Civil in Brazil. There are also some defeats and challenges on the horizon, especially in areas such as encryption or as changing political climates may lead to backsliding. There are also opportunities to engage in policy discussions around emerging technologies such as the Internet of things.

A growing number of tech policy professionals with experience in policy design, legislation and regulatory implementation -- including individuals focused on Internet health-related issues who have been at the forefront of securing many of these victories -- have left or are leaving government service. As these individuals leave, we can help them to consolidate and document what they’ve learned, as well as help to create opportunities for them to build upon this learning and participate in policy efforts to improve the health of the Internet. We can help create avenues for these people to stay connected, collaborate, learn from each other, and continue their work.

Program

To achieve the objectives outlined above, Mozilla is launching a fellowship program focused on technology policy. Mozilla Network Fellowships present unique opportunities for professionals who believe in the mission of a healthier Internet. This fellowship will give tech policy professionals the opportunity to collaborate and connect with one another, with Mozilla’s own policy leaders, and with other tech policy experts within the Mozilla Network and the field. Fellows will have the support to accelerate their work and its impact, including documenting their learning, publishing and speaking, developing policy recommendations, and staying connected to each other.

The program will be global by design, ensuring that the analysis, reporting and documentation of lessons learned have global relevance and speak to a worldwide audience. The fellowship cohort will consist of a mix of individuals who have recent government experience in the United States and in other parts of the world.

Goals and Objectives

Our aim is to grow the field of people developing policy that will keep the Internet healthy. More specifically, these fellowships will help:

  • Enhance the ability of the Mozilla Network to anticipate, understand, and analyze policy developments.
  • Establish an active and vibrant community of tech policy professionals with interest in and commitment to Internet health.
  • Participate in thought leadership work and actively communicate around internet health issues.
  • Position Mozilla as a partner and support of other organizations working on similar open internet issues.

This initiative is also designed to help fellows advance more specific project and career goals that each defines for themselves. These projects should focus on an aspect of tech policy that supports Internet health.

Fellowship Details

In general, the Mozilla Network helps drive the mission through common operating methods, which are reflected in and across each area of focus [see strategy]. Those methods include

  • Training. We provide free and open curricula and training programs to help leaders develop the skills they need to ensure the next wave of access, inclusion and opportunity online. Example: Web Literacy Training Module
  • Convening. We bring members of the Mozilla Network together, to learn from one another, exchange ideas and join forces. Example: MozFest
  • Membership. Members join because they share Mozilla’s vision, and stay because of the strong, diverse community and unique professional development opportunities the network provides. Example: Fellowships

The Tech Policy Fellowship program will establish a cohort of approximately 12 fellows actively engaged for one year. The program will provide fellows with the intellectual freedom to define their own work focus within tech policy and fellows will define their own deliverables, including research, policy recommendations, convenings and workshops, public speaking, and publishing written pieces.

Events and convenings are a key method for the success of the program, allowing fellows to communicate their research and findings into the network, and collaborate with network members. Fellows will leverage existing programs, for example by working with the MozFest team to bring deep policy expertise into the event through organizing policy-focused sessions and building the agency of the network to understand and influence developments at the policy level.

Publications are another important avenue to disseminate learnings, and connect within the network. Fellows are expected to be key contributors to the Internet Health report and other Mozilla publications. Additionally, they may write blog posts, opinion pieces and thought-leadership articles, helping to enhance the understanding of the broader audiences of emerging tech policy challenges.