If you’re lost in the recession or are looking for a job with more social impact, one of the coolest jobs in tech has opened up a second round of hiring: the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows. First launched at TechCrunch’s own Disrupt NYC conference, Fellows work to find creative technological solutions to ongoing federal problems, from theft in foreign aid money transfers to making government contracts more small business-friendly.
The fellows program is part of a signature Obama initiative to leverage open data and technological solutions to government problems. One of Obama’s first orders was to create a special advisory position, the Chief Technology Officer, who functions as a free-floating entrepreneur-in-residence interacting with various agencies to explore how tech might save them money or make them more innovative. Interestingly enough, it’s quite possibly the only major presidential action that hasn’t been caught up in the hyper-partisan political infighting of the last four years.
The first fellows worked on five initiatives:
- A PayPal for foreign aid, the “20% Campaign,” to streamline money transfers and prevent the barrels of cash that were disappearing during payouts to non-American contractors.
- Improving open access to veteran health records, the so-called “Blue Button” program.
- Expanding open data sets on energy, safety, and education.
- Project RFP-EZ, making the federal procurement process more small-business friendly
- MyGov, which reorganizes federal websites by citizen needs rather than the complicated organizational chart of the federal beurcracy (i.e. there should only be one website for student loans).
Now, according to the new website, there are nine projects for potential fellows to tackle:
- Disaster Response & Recovery- Collaboratively building and “pre-positioning” needed tech tools ahead of future emergencies or natural disasters in order to mitigate economic damage and save lives.
- MyUSA - Simplifying the process of finding and accessing information and government services that are right for you. Helping American businesses access the information and services that will help them grow, hire American workers, and export to foreign markets.
- RFP-EZ and Innovative Contracting Tools - Making it easier for the government to do business with small, high-growth tech companies and enabling the government to buy better, lower-cost tech solutions from the full range of American businesses.
- Cyber-Physical Systems -Working with government and industry to create standards for a new generation of interoperable, dynamic, and efficient “smart systems” – an “industrial Internet” – that combines distributed sensing, control, and data analytics to help grow new high-value American jobs and the economy.
- Open Data Initiatives - Accelerating and expanding efforts to make government information resources more publicly accessible in “computer-readable” form and spurring the use of those data by entrepreneurs as fuel for the creation of new products, services, and jobs.
- MyData Initiatives - Empowering the American people with secure access to their own personal health, energy, and education data.
- Innovation Toolkit - Developing an innovation toolkit that empowers our Federal workforce to respond to national priorities more quickly and more efficiently.
- 21st Century Financial Systems - Moving financial accounting systems of Federal agencies out of the era of unwieldy agency-specific implementations to one that favors more nimble, modular, scalable, and cost-effective approaches.
- Development Innovation Ventures - Enabling the U.S. government to identify, test, and scale breakthrough solutions to the world’s toughest problems.”
What are you waiting for? Apply here.