Fellowships

Mozilla Fellowships cover a range of topics and disciplines within the broader mission of Internet Health, upholding the internet as a force for good.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about the Mozilla Fellowship? See if you can find the answer to your question below. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, you can reach out to fellowships@mozillafoundation.org.

General

Who are Mozilla fellows?
Mozilla Fellows are working to stop the spread of misinformation, to put individuals in control of their data, and to keep artificial intelligence accountable. They are leaders who ensure smart cities and next-generation voice technology are diverse and equitable, and who conduct open research.

Mozilla Fellows are web activists, open-source researchers and scientists, engineers, and technology policy experts who work on the front lines of that movement. Fellows develop new thinking on how to address emerging threats and challenges facing a healthy internet. They hail from a range of disciplines and geographies: They are policymakers in Kenya, journalists in Brazil, engineers in Germany, privacy activists in the United States, and data scientists in the Netherlands. Fellows are:

  • Open web activists | Fellows who work in the realm of public interest technology, addressing issues like privacy, security, and inclusion online. These open web activists embed at leading human rights and civil society organizations around the world, lending their technical expertise, and collaborating around shared interests.
  • Scientists and researchers | Fellows who infuse open-source practices and principles into scientific research. “Science” is defined broadly; Fellows may work in the natural sciences, formal and applied sciences, or humanities, social sciences and library and information sciences. Fellows are based in the research institution with which they are currently affiliated.
  • Tech policy professionals | Fellows who examine the interplay of technology and public policy, and craft legal, academic, and governmental solutions. These tech policy professionals are not necessarily matched with a host organization or an institution.
  • Open internet engineers | Fellows will have the freedom to pursue a specific objective that is closely aligned with the aims of their host organization. Work is expected to include building internet infrastructure and influencing strategic policy decisions that connect the unconnected. Learn more

Meet the Mozilla Fellows.

What are Mozilla fellows expected to do?
During their tenure, Fellows are expected to use their skill sets — in technology, in advocacy, in research, or in law — to design products, run campaigns, influence policy and ultimately lay the groundwork for a more open and inclusive internet. Fellows work on individual projects, but also collaborate on cross-disciplinary solutions to the internet’s biggest challenges. Fellows are expected to:

  • Be engaged in carrying out the specific project(s) identified in the proposal submitted to Mozilla, to an extent generally consistent with full-time engagement
  • Champion the open Internet in collaboration with others in the Mozilla network, including other Mozilla Fellows
  • Communicate and share openly their work on an ongoing basis (e.g., blog posts)
  • Participate in Mozilla-organized events, such as conferences, learning labs, and weekly calls, and community events (MozFest, etc.)
  • Meet regularly with their Program Officer, and provide written fellowship updates as requested
  • Comply with all applicable policies and procedures of Mozilla and of host organizations (where applicable), as well as applicable U.S. and local laws
  • Release any code and non-confidential content created during the fellowship under an open license determined in consultation with Mozilla

See what Fellows and their collaborators are working on.

Does Mozilla have any priority areas of focus?
For the 2019-2020 fellowship application, we are particularly interested in applicants whose missions align with our latest impact goal: “better machine decision making,” or ensuring artificial intelligence is developed with ethics, responsibility, and accountability in mind through an internet health framework.

Applicants should be working on initiatives related to online privacy or security; openness; decentralization, digital inclusion; and/or web literacy. Making sure there is better machine decision making is especially critical to the civil society sector so that the digital tools that are slowly gaining more control over our lives can create a more equitable world, rather than enhance the inequalities and division that can result if we don’t train and empower stewards of responsible design, as well as leaders who will hold themselves and others accountable to shepherd responsible internet health practices.

What is the fellowship start/end date?

Our standard timeline for fellowships is 10 months, starting October 1, 2019 and ending July 31, 2020.

Please note: The Mozilla Fellowship for Open Internet Engineering is a 12 month commitment, starting October 1, 2019 and ending September 30, 2020.

What travel is expected as part of the fellowship?
To fully participate in the fellowship experience, Mozilla Fellows are expected to travel to Mozilla-hosted events as well as other meetings, conferences, and/or events related to their project(s). Here are some travel dates expected for 2019-2020 Mozilla Fellows:

  • Onboarding + Mozfest: Oct 21 - 27, 2019 (London)
  • Mozilla All Hands: Jan 27 - Feb 1, 2020 (Berlin)
  • Mozilla All Hands: June 15 - 20, 2020 (Toronto)

What is the role of host organizations?

Some Mozilla Fellows are embedded in civil society organizations - “host organizations” - that are dedicated to building stronger internet health related resources and systems. A host organization supports each open web activist in our program, and we match fellows with host organizations with synchronous interests, where they will find mentorship and work alongside each other fighting for digital rights.

Open web activists

Fellows embed with the host organization for their 10-month tenure in the program, and build programs and projects that further their personal interests and align with the organization's mission or related issues.

Host organizations build connections with fellows and with each other in the cohort to be able to deepen impact together and build connections across the public interest technology field.

Host organizations 2019-2020

Open internet engineers

Fellows will be associated with host organizations throughout their 12-month fellowship, and will build technical expertise and leadership skills, and become change agents for building the internet in their respective regions. Fellows will have the freedom to pursue a specific objective of their choice that is closely aligned with the aims of their host organization.

The host organizations for 2019-2020 are Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) and the Internet Society.

How are Mozilla Fellows matched with host organizations?

We match fellows with host organizations with synchronous interests, where they will find mentorship and work alongside each other fighting for digital rights. We do this by soliciting applications from potential fellows, and trying to match them to the organization in our current application cycle that we think might best support and complement their work, and inspire their projects as fellows.

The application for the 2019-2020 Mozilla fellowship is a two part process. Applicants interested in embedding with a host organization should indicate that option in their LOI (part one). Host organizations will be announced by the time the full application opens on April 18. Applicants with successful LOIs who are pursuing the opportunity to embed with a NGO will have the opportunity to indicate the organization(s) with whom they’re most interested in collaborating in that part of the application.

What types of projects do Mozilla Fellows typically work on?

Fellows use their skill sets — in technology, in activism, in science, in policy — to design products, run campaigns, influence policy, develop tools, and ultimately lay the groundwork for a more open and inclusive internet.

  • Tech policy proposals | Projects could include a focus on legal, academic, and/or governmental solutions to issues at the intersection of technology and public policy. Please note: Mozilla Fellows cannot participate in ‘lobbying’ activities (directly advocating the adoption or repeal of legislation) as part of their fellowship.
  • Science and research proposals | Projects could include the development of tools and/or the creation of learning resources that help to foster more open practice in science. Please note: The Mozilla Fellowship program does not fund research projects.
  • Open web activist proposals | Projects are focused on public interest technology and could include building and deploying software and tools, designing and launching public awareness campaigns, and/or advising on policy issues.
  • Open internet engineers | Fellows will have the freedom to pursue a specific objective that is closely aligned with the aims of their host organization. Work is expected to include building internet infrastructure and influencing strategic policy decisions that connect the unconnected.

For the 2019-2020 cohort of Mozilla Fellows, we are particularly interested in projects focused on our impact goal of ‘better machine decision making.’

For inspiration, learn more about projects led by current and previous Mozilla Fellows.

Eligibility

Is the fellowship full time, or can I do the fellowship while I’m working or in an educational program?
Mozilla fellows are expected to engage in carrying out the specific project(s) identified in their proposal submitted to Mozilla, to an extent generally consistent with full-time engagement. Mozilla is comfortable with fellows having minimal outside activity (i.e., teaching a class as an adjunct professor, or consulting with another organization or company) so long as it is not in conflict with a fellow’s ability to carry out the project(s) included in their fellowship contract.

Please note: Mozilla Fellows focused on science and research are encouraged to continue to conduct research related to their specialization for up to 20% of their time.

Can undergraduate college students apply for the Fellowship Program?
Applications will not be declined on the basis of educational completion, and exceptional undergraduates would definitely be considered. However, we do want to stress that it is important to consider the considerable time-commitment required for participation in the fellowship (equivalent to a full-time engagement), so undergraduates with a full course-load and responsibilities might find it challenging to meet these requirements.

Do I need to have a university or post-graduate degree?
There is no educational or experience prerequisite required for a Mozilla Fellowship. The fellowship is generally considered to be a full-time commitment for the fellows' 10-month tenure, so some of the application questions will ask applicants to explain their time commitments and potential to invest in fellowship work during the 10 months of the fellowship.

Please note: For scientist/researcher applicants, Masters graduates, PhDs, post-docs, and early-career researchers or professors with academic institutional affiliation are preferred for selection.

Do fellows focused on science/research need to be affiliated with a research institution?
Yes. Affiliation with an institution or organization is required for applicants interested in pursuing a fellowship project related to scientific research and/or open science. However, that institution need not be an academic institution. We also welcome early-career scientists and researchers who are still completing their studies, working on a post-doc, or considered visiting researchers at their institutions.

The reasoning for this is that a focus of the fellowship is on catalyzing change. Institutional affiliation for fellows working on scientific/research projects is helpful for driving impact and empowering leadership in the academic or institutional space.

What disciplines are included in the eligible sciences?
All scientific disciplines are eligible and encouraged to apply, including, but not limited to, social and library sciences, biomedicine, physical and natural sciences: biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, astronomy, ecology, etc.

For the 2019-2020 fellowship application, we are particularly interested in projects related to:

  • open practices in the field of biomedicine. (For example, projects might relate to molecular biology, biochemistry, toxicology, genetics, biological engineering, or immunology.)
  • Mozilla’s impact goal of “better machine decision making.” Artificial intelligence plays an outsized role in the future of science and research—especially in the biomedicine community, from research to diagnoses — and Mozilla will give heightened consideration to projects that address this.

Does the fellowship require special work authorization/ residency?

In general, Mozilla Fellows are required to have work authorization in the location where they will be carrying out their fellowship.

Applicants interested in pursuing a Mozilla Fellowship for Open Internet Engineering must come from and be resident in a country with low internet penetration.

Fellows embedding with a host organizations are not required to physically relocate.

Application Process

What is the application process?

The application for a 2019-2020 Mozilla Fellowship is a two part process. Application part one is an LOI. If your LOI is successful, you will be invited to submit a full application (part two of the application process).

Open web activists | Scientists and researchers | Tech policy professionals

The deadline for the LOI is Monday, April 8, 2019 at 5:00pm EDT. Invitations for a full application will be sent via email no later than April 18, 2019. The full application deadline is Monday May 6, 2019 at 5:00pm EDT.

Open internet engineers

The deadline for the LOI is Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:00pm PDT. The full application deadline is Monday, June 10, 2019 at 12:00pm PDT.

All applications must be submitted using Mozilla’s Fluxx portal.

Please note: We recommend starting your application early, so our team has adequate time to respond to any questions you may have.

How do I create an account in Fluxx to submit my application?
You will not need a username or password to complete the LOI (part one). If your LOI is successful, you will receive an email from Fluxx notifying you to create a password. Once you receive that email, you will have 7 days to use the link provided to set up your login for Fluxx. If you have any difficulties with this process, please email grants@mozillafoundation.org.

How should I describe the project I would like to pursue as a fellow?

We recommend framing your proposed project in terms of how it contributes to the broader change you’d like to see in the world, and how it supports your mission and vision to advance that change. You might start by identifying a problem statement your project aims to address. Your project description could also include: information on the potential outcome(s) of your project; who you will collaborate with to achieve the intended impact and outcomes; how you will engage others in your work; and how your project impact could be communicated and socialized. We are particularly interested in applicants who understand how to leverage their proposed projects to drive change at a wide level.

Please note: Impact is defined as ‘a demonstrable effect, change or benefit, beyond academia’. It includes, but is not exclusive to, influences on, or changes to: people, society, industry/business, culture, the economy, public policy, professional practice, and/or the environment.

Will I have an opportunity to indicate a host organization preference?

Yes. Applicants pursuing an experience to embed with an NGO to work on advancing internet health issues (Open web activists and Open internet engineers) will have an opportunity to indicate the specific organization(s) with whom they’re most interested in working with in the full application.

Please note: Host organization preferences are not needed for applicants interested in applying with projects to advance tech policy issues or projects that advance open scientific research. However, it is expected that applicants interested in pursuing a fellowship project related to scientific research and/or open science will have an institutional affiliation when applying.

For more information on fellowship experiences, see ‘Who are Mozilla Fellows?’ above.

How will applications be reviewed?
All applications are reviewed by a restricted panel of reviewers made up of Mozilla staff, organizational partners, and other experts in the discipline(s) of the application. Following this review process, Mozilla team will select candidates for interviews, which, depending on the focus area, might involve reference checks, advisor interviews, or applicant matching interviews with host organizations (where relevant).

All applicants should be contacted with the status of their applications in July 2019.

What are the selection criteria for Mozilla Fellows?
Fellows are selected on the basis of a rigorous review process. We will be looking for the following criteria in reviewing all applications:

  • Mission Driven. We’re looking for individuals with a track record of success in the space of their proposed project, and a dedication to continuing to work in that space after their fellowship year. In addition to having a long term commitment to working on the issue(s) proposed in their application, fellows should align with Mozilla’s interests and focus, and be able to easily leverage Mozilla’s strengths as an organization, i.e. open source ethos, large network of contributors.
  • Collaboration. An ideal candidate for a Mozilla Fellowship should enter the program with a project that would benefit from feedback and input from Mozilla’s interdisciplinary community. We’re looking for fellows with an eagerness to share and learn new skills, and to work in the open.
  • Impact. We’re looking for individuals working on a project where they will make - or be the catalyst for - significant change, with tangible, measurable results. Fellows should also be able to articulate how the impact of their project will advance the change they’d like to see in the world.
  • Leverage. Ideal candidates for a Mozilla fellowship will understand how to leverage their proposed projects to drive change at a wide level. We’re looking for individuals who are able to think about changing systems, and understand levers of change.
  • Initiative. An ideal candidate for a Mozilla Fellowship is someone who shows a lot of initiative, and will take charge of the experiences and opportunities given to them. Fellows are expected to manage their time and resources, and must be comfortable working with a high level of autonomy.
  • Communication. We’re looking for individuals with an interest in advocating for change and/or popularizing new ideas and approaches, and be comfortable using their voice - whether through written media or public speaking - to do so. Fellows should also have the ability to explain technology to a broad audience.

Are there application guidelines?
Yes. You will find them here:

  • Application Guidelines LOI (Open web activists, Scientists and researchers, Tech policy professionals)
  • Application Guidelines LOI (Open internet engineers)

Application Guidelines full application (all)

Fellowship Benefits

What supports will Mozilla Fellows receive?

Mozilla Fellows receive competitive compensation and benefits. Fellows also become part of a vibrant community of practice working to ensure the internet remains a force for good. Fellows will have the opportunity to meet regularly with each other and with Mozilla staff both online and in person to share their work and learn together. Mozilla staff will also work with Fellows to create, execute, and report back on project impact plans, share ideas for potential collaborators, and help to share their work more widely.

This network of support won’t conclude at the end of the Mozilla Fellowship. In fact, it is hoped that all Mozilla Fellows will continue to be part of the community of practice and larger movement fighting for a healthier internet over the long term.

How much are fellows paid?
The funding for each fellow is based on the fellowship focus area (i.e. science, policy, open web). The stipend for researchers and technology activists is $60,000 USD.

What benefits are fellows provided?
In addition to a monthly stipend, fellows may be eligible for additional benefits, such as funding to support health care costs, childcare, fellowship-related travel, equipment, continued learning, and project costs. Health insurance is not provided by Mozilla for fellows. Supplements for health care and child care will depend on family situations.

If you have more specific questions, please reach out to us directly at fellowships@mozillafoundation.org.

What are the tax considerations of participating in this fellowship?
Proposed fellowship amounts are gross amounts and may be reduced by applicable taxes. Fellows are responsible to pay all applicable taxes, whether in their home jurisdictions, the jurisdiction where the fellowship occurs, or any other jurisdiction. In some cases, Mozilla may be required to withhold taxes at the time of payment, and reduce the amount of fellows’ payments accordingly. For instance, Mozilla may have to withhold up to 30% of any stipend payments attributable to fellowship activities taking place in the U.S., although fellows may be able to claim reduced rates of withholding or refund of a portion of these taxes. It is fellows’ responsibility to communicate in advance with Mozilla about where they will be located throughout the fellowship.