Technical Fellow - Plaintext Group
New York /
Schmidt Futures /
Many of the most pressing global policy challenges today have technical problems at their core (e.g., tech competition with China, AI infrastructure investment, global internet standards, and algorithmic fairness). Yet the top policy research groups and think tanks driving new policy ideas lack technical expertise on staff or within their networks. Solving these challenges requires technical insight, which can uniquely be produced by exceptional technical talent.
We are seeking “bilingual Computer Science + policy” experts to help build a next-generation technical strategy group from the ground up. This group aims to develop cutting edge knowledge on tech strategy questions to help shape decision making for policymakers, philanthropists, and other relevant investors.
1. Identify topics and produce high quality research: Produce tech strategy analysis to inform key stakeholders in policy and philanthropy.
2. Influence key decision makers and investments: Drive impact through our grantmaking and extended network; produce analysis with actionable outcomes in mind (e.g., policy proposals / grants / investments).
3. Work with the best people: Engage leading experts at the intersection of tech and policy. Leverage the broader network to build and run working groups of subject matter experts.
This is a one-year position based in New York, NY, with full-time salary and benefits. Technical Fellows will be based in the Schmidt Futures offices in New York and must be able to travel within the U.S. and internationally on a regular basis as needed and as current health circumstances permit.
Who we are looking for
We are looking for exceptional technical people who want to solve the hardest global policy challenges. Some of the key qualities we are looking for include:
Strong technical literacy: The technical expertise required is analogous to that of a product manager. Candidates must be fluent with a variety of computing topics and need to “know what they don’t know” and whom to ask. The role will not involve coding, so detailed knowledge at the implementation-level is not necessary.
- Example: Ability to follow the latest AI research developments and understand the potential use cases they enable.
High-level problem identification and curation: Candidates must have interpersonal skills to work alongside non-technical people and understand potential problems they have in order to distill the underlying technical pieces.
- Example: Talking to a philanthropic funder about how algorithmic fairness can fit into their racial equity portfolio.
- Example: Talking to colleagues working in national security and understanding which technical tools can be used to mitigate the risks posed by Chinese consumer applications.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Comfort in ambiguous, unstructured environments: Excitement to embrace the dynamism and inevitable ambiguity that comes from building out a new working model that is network-based and at least partially virtual
- Project management: Experience turning ambiguity into concrete tasks and managing those tasks.
- Experience applying metrics and objective-driven approach to solving problems: Skills for measuring outcomes, developing and using OKRs, and using the feedback from performance measures to drive change in goal or strategy.
- Experience or strong interest working at the intersection of technology and the public interest sector.
- Strategic acumen: Ability to synthesize large amounts of raw information into actionable insights.
- Exceptional written and spoken communication ability: (Note: Writing samples will be required in the application process.)
- Entrepreneurial mindset: Experience building something from the ground up (e.g., founding a student organization, developing a new team in your job, creating and managing an event).
- 2+ years of work experience.
- Computer science degree or relevant technical experience.
- Be based in the Schmidt Futures offices in New York and be able to support onsite operations in the office on a regular basis as needed following company policy and permitting circumstances.
Who We Are
Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that finds exceptional people and helps them do more for others together. We knit talent into networks, bet on the most promising ideas through diverse forms of competition and support, and equip people to scale through partners and modern tools.