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Frequently asked questions

How long is the Fellowship?

The Presidential Innovation Fellowship is a 12-month program, during which a Fellow will work on innovation projects across federal agencies. Fellows and agency partners can mutually agree to extend the Fellowship for up to a total of two years.

When can I apply?

We accept applications once per year starting in February and new PIF cohorts typically start in October. Please check our apply page for the current application deadline and information. If you are interested in the PIF program or other opportunities with the Technology Transformation Services, join our mailing list.

What is the application timeline?

Applications for our next cohort of Presidential Innovation Fellows closed on May 18, 2020, at 11:59pm ET. For those who are selected to interview, we plan to conduct interviews on a rolling basis throughout May, June, July and anticipate a start date in early fall. Everyone will hear back from us by the end of July at the latest. All interviews occur virtually.

How will I be interviewed?

All interviews for Presidential Innovation Fellows occur virtually (this is always the case).

Where is the Fellowship located?

Presidential Innovation Fellows are typically based in Washington, D.C., for the duration of the Fellowship. Fellows will spend a portion of their time working at one of the federal agencies to which they are assigned, which are often in Washington, D.C. or the surrounding area. Fellows occasionally co-work and collaborate on projects in space provided by the General Services Administration. In addition to onsite work at agencies, we believe that sharing a D.C. “home base” helps foster community.

Where will I be working?

While Fellows are placed across the government, the Presidential Innovation Fellows program is administratively housed in the General Services Administration (GSA). All Fellows are hired by GSA and then detailed to agencies. All Fellows are based in D.C. for their year of Fellowship.

Will I be able to work remotely?

Employee health and safety are paramount during this time. We are actively monitoring public health guidelines and evaluating the best way to ensure our cohort works with greatest safety and community come October 2020 (our next cohort’s start date). We do not have a final decision to share at this time, but please know that Fellows’ health and safety are top-of-mind for our team. For example, all current Fellows and PIF team members are teleworking as of May 2020.

Has COVID-19 affected program structure, timeline, or projects?

Presidential Innovation Fellows have the history, opportunity, and responsibility to rally and ship human-centered solutions to our nation’s greatest challenges. Our program structure, timeline, and projects are continuing stronger than ever. We will have a robust portfolio of projects for a full class of 15-20 Fellows. Our start date for our next cohort of Presidential Innovation Fellows remains consistent: October 2020. We’re actively monitoring and prioritizing health and safety. Now, as always, Presidential Innovation Fellows are needed to modernize and build resilience into our government, and we are grateful for our Fellows’ service - as well as that of every public servant.

Are there any part-time positions available?

At this time we do not allow for part-time positions; working on some of the nation’s biggest challenges is a full-time job.

Do Fellows receive a salary?

Yes, Fellows are hired as full time federal employees qualified at the GS-15 level with locality adjustment for the Washington DC Metro area. For the 2020 year, this equiates to a salary of $142,701. For current information please see the OPM Salaries & Wages page.

Does the program provide benefits?

Yes, Fellows are considered full time employees, and are eligible to receive health coverage and other benefits (such as retirement savings account eligibility) through the General Services Administration. You can learn more on the GSA website.

Is a security clearance necessary?

Prior to receiving 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.

Where will I be working?

While Fellows are placed across the government, the Presidential Innovation Fellows program is administratively housed in the General Services Administration. All Fellows are hired by the General Services Administration (GSA) then detailed to agencies. All Fellows are based in DC for their year of Fellowship.

How many Fellows are there?

The number of Fellows throughout the year varies, depending on the needs of our partner agencies and projects we are supporting. We currently have 40 Fellows in the program (some of whom end their Fellowship this year) and are recruiting 20-25 Fellows for fall 2020.

What skills does the program look for?

The Presidential Innovation Fellows program is a competitive process that attracts thousands of interesting and capable candidates each year. Most of our Fellowship positions require ability to work in a modern technical, design and product environment. Many have significant experience and track records of delivering at a very high-level, are proven leaders, and innovative thinkers. We look at domain expertise, functional expertise, and many other factors, including how the overall group will work together.

Does the program accept recommendations?

We do not consider recommendations in the application process.

What do Fellows do after they leave the program?

Over half of our Fellows have taken roles inside the federal government after completing their Fellowship, and many continue to play important roles in improving the way our government serves the people. PIFs have gone on to become the former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer; the first-ever Chief Marketing Officer of the U.S. Census, the Chief Technology Officer and the first-ever Chief Design Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs; and many went on to establish 18F at the General Services Administration and the U.S. Digital Service. Many others have returned to the private sector or to launch exciting companies as entrepreneurs.