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?
Our applications typically open in February and close in May. For those who are selected to interview, we conduct interviews on a rolling basis throughout May, June, and July. All interviews occur virtually. We typically extend final offers in late summer. New PIF cohorts usually start in October.
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. For example, most current Fellows and all 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 have a robust portfolio of projects and, on October 19, 2020, we announced 34 new Presidential Innovation Fellows who will be working alongside 22 federal agency projects to build innovative solutions to issues of national importance, including COVID-19 response. We’re actively monitoring and prioritizing health and safety. Now, as always, Presidential Innovation Fellows are needed to modernize and build resilience in 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 nearly 60 Fellows in the program, 34 of whom are in our newest 2021 cohort, and 20+ of whom are returning Fellows. We typically recruit 20-30 Fellows for each new cohort.
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.