Deadline: 15 August 2022
Open to: practitioners with at least 5-10 years of experience and a proven track record in areas like: policy making, public health, libraries, education, communications, design, fact checking, journalism, healthcare, community leadership, research or government
Benefits: salary of $35,000 for the six-month fellowship period
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront how misinformation poisons public discourse, disrupts efforts to respond effectively in a crisis, and interferes with people’s ability to live healthy lives. As earlier work on elections has shown, however, misinformation is just one part of the challenge. Technological advances and designs have enabled rapidly changing information ecosystems that are vulnerable to misuse and abuse — and ill understood by most people who rely on these information ecosystems every day to engage with friends, colleagues, constituencies and communities. The result is an erosion of trust in institutions and others in society, and many downstream effects such as a lack of trust in vaccines or elections, leading to preventable deaths and suffering, and political instability.
The Information Futures Fellowship is built to empower practitioners who lead investigations into any aspect of these intersecting information challenges and how they can be addressed — to start building a better future for our information spaces, habits, institutions and culture. As leaders in their fields and communities, those on the front lines are most familiar with concrete information challenges and closest to potential solutions. The Fellowship provides access to skill sets and research expertise of other disciplines and industries (in the form of partnerships and mentorship) as well as the resources and freedom to innovate.
Fellows and their projects will be selected based on their proximity to real-world settings, creativity, multidisciplinarity, fit for the six-month rapid-piloting model, and potential to fill gaps in our understanding of effective solutions. The first cohort of Information Futures Fellows will start in January 2023. Program alumni will return to their work with new competencies and skills in information challenges, intervention design and evaluation; they will join a growing, global community of practice of Information Futures fellows.
The Information Futures fellowship is designed for practitioners with at least 5-10 years of experience and a proven track record in areas including, but not limited to: policy making, public health, libraries, education, communications, design, fact checking, journalism, healthcare, community leadership, research or government. There is a particular interest in applicants working with communities that are underrepresented in efforts to improve information. Applicants who, without this fellowship, might not be able to dedicate space and resources to design and implement a program with their community in mind, will be prioritized.
During their fellowship, IF Fellows will develop, implement and evaluate pilots quickly, as they iterate with an urgency that matches the magnitude of the challenge. Proposed projects should be innovative, evidence-based and designed to push forward our understanding of what successful approaches should be replicated and scaled. Topic areas of interest for 2023 include but are not limited to pandemics and epidemics, climate change and gun violence. Applicants can propose entirely new projects, or those that are already under way but need new insights, iteration and evaluation.
IF Fellows are part of the Brown University Information Futures Lab, and over the course of the fellowship will connect with a broad network of global researchers, technologists, community leaders, journalists, policy makers, librarians and educators.
Fellows will participate in the Information Futures Academy, which will provide unique training in cutting-edge tools and techniques such as information monitoring, misinformation mitigation, effective communication, community listening, intervention and research design, and program evaluation. Fellows will also participate in at least one Sandpit, a three- to four-day design sprint during which a diverse group of problem solvers works on one or more ideas to address an information challenge.
Throughout the fellowship, fellows will share their expertise and learn alongside others as they network with and take inspiration from some of the most impactful change-makers in the field.
Whether they are in residence at Brown or working remotely from within their community, fellows will connect weekly with their cohort to share project updates and solicit and provide feedback. Fellows will also have access to Brown University libraries and other shared resources.
Fellows will use the training, resources and network to refine and execute their pilots.
A salary of $35,000 for the six-month fellowship period is available for fellows. If an employer keeps the fellow on salary during the fellowship because the project benefits the organization, a fellowship stipend will not be provided; That unused stipend will then be extended to an additional fellow who will join the cohort.
All fellows are eligible for project/program support of up to $10,000 and travel expenses of up to $2,000 (domestic) and $5,000 (international). In addition, projects are eligible for an honorarium of up to $5,000 to compensate thought partners and collaborators.
HOW TO APPLY
For more information, visit the official website.