Mozilla’s Fellowship Program aims to catalyze systemic change in the way technology is built, deployed, and used. Fellows share a lifelong commitment to the values of the Mozilla Manifesto, and recognize that building a more open, inclusive internet is one of the defining issues of our time. The strength of this movement is in the diversity of people and range of disciplines and geographies where we drive impact.
Senior Fellows are individuals who hold a significant body of work around a particular issue area and who - via this fellowship opportunity - partner with Mozilla to help shape and strategically advance the internet health movement.
Some previous Senior Fellows include:
Deborah Raji is a technologist and activist interested in topics on algorithmic auditing and evaluation. Her fellowship served as a platform to explore the frameworks and tools needed to increase AI accountability and reduce harms, including work on the Algorithmic Justice League’s bug bounty project.
Senior Fellows — Trustworthy AI
It is clear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to disrupt democracy, interfere with human rights, and erode the public's trust in online information. However, automated decision-making systems can also be part of the solution to many of these emerging threats. Further, current debates about algorithms tend to ignore the fact that our intelligent systems are ultimately designed and shaped by humans.
The benefits and risks associated with automated decision-making flow from the tasks we choose to give to algorithms and the data that we feed them. Algorithms can help us stumble across the perfect song, or it can manipulate and polarize us. To contribute to this effort, Mozilla is recruiting Senior Fellows to work alongside staff as we explore ways to make trustworthy AI a reality.
The work of Senior Fellows should be aligned with the goals stated below for each topic area in line with Mozilla’s Trustworthy AI three-year trajectory:
Transparency + AI
To create more transparent artificial intelligence systems, AI transparency and documentation best practices need to be created and adopted to guide those who build AI products, the policy makers who regulate them, and the consumers who use them.
To shift the dynamics of data and power, projects that have the potential to disrupt current data economies must be supported and incubated; tools, resources, and standards that can further better data governance must be shared and promoted; and policies that enable data innovation must be developed and implemented.
AI + Bias
To increase fairness and reduce bias in AI, more early bias detection tools must be created, tested and widely adopted; fairness promoting policies must be put in place at government and industry levels; and a community of practitioners studying AI through the lens of justice and equality must be nurtured and supported.
To address challenges around AI, interdisciplinary, collective, and intersectional approaches need to be supported, prototyped, and documented, particularly at the intersection of the internet health movement and other movements (e.g. community justice, climate justice, human rights, economic justice, or other social justice movements).
To create better building blocks for trustworthy AI, we need more open source tools, data and approaches that any developer can use, modify and interrogate. Open Source components, projects, and practices - through the transparency, collaboration, and community built in by design - have the potential to equitably redistribute power and fuel the movement for more trustworthy AI.
More information about these topic areas can be found in the application guidelines.
Key Dates and Deadlines
September 22: Application opens
October 25: Application deadline
Early December: notification of decisions
January: fellowship begins + public announcement
Senior Fellows - Responsible Computing
The Responsible Computer Science Challenge supports promising approaches to integrating ethics into undergraduate computer science education through curriculum and pedagogy. The objective is to empower and educate a new wave of graduating technologists who bring holistic thinking to the design of tech products, ultimately driving a culture shift in the tech industry. This requires an understanding of academia, industry, and how cross-disciplinary collaborations are critical. As the Responsible Computer Science Challenge moves into its second Phase, the Challenge aims to focus on supporting under-represented voices in computing, expand to international institutions, and amplify the role of non-computing disciplines in shaping responsible computing
These Senior Fellows contribute to Mozilla’s strategic efforts by working towards a pedagogical shift in responsible computing education.
Senior Fellows hold a unique role at Mozilla. This remote fellowship is designed as a space and a platform for driving forward a body of work and opportunity to partner with Mozilla, become part of, and help shape the work we’re already doing at Mozilla to make Trustworthy AI a reality.
Over the course of the fellowship, Senior Fellows also contribute to and help shape Mozilla’s strategic efforts by partnering with Mozilla staff, programs, and community stakeholders on their areas of expertise. Specific contributions to Mozilla’s work will vary, but might be strategic or concrete and span initiatives we're undertaking such as holding big tech accountable, helping consumers understand more about the technology they use every day, or documenting and prototyping how power can be shifted through data governance.
Examples of things Senior Fellows might partner with Mozilla staff to do:
- Support efforts to situate and guide Mozilla’s work in the ecosystem through peer outreach, documenting best practices, and/or strategic convening
- Advise organization wide working groups on bias, transparency, data governance and movement building to support the development of Mozilla’s work on these topics.
- Help to shape Mozilla’s policy positions on key topics and/or advise us on how to advance these policies
- Support the design of initiatives that will engage, fund, and grow important work on these topics
- Convene, facilitate, or curate networks as appropriate and integrate these into core programming like MozFest
- Broaden the conversation about the given topic with specific audiences (i.e., media, community, policy, etc.)
- Provide communications guidance and thought leadership as a representative of Mozilla in the given space
- Document and share learnings internally at Mozilla and externally with the broader ecosystem
In addition to the funding provided, our fellows become part of Mozilla’s community and gain access to our resources and diverse network. Supports include:
- Impact Design: Working in partnership with Mozilla, each Fellow will create a project plan — outlining a theory of change and accompanying impact metrics.
- Individual and Peer Support: All fellows have the opportunity to receive mentorship and guidance from staff and Fellows at Mozilla, with expertise ranging from AI to community management to project governance. Fellows also report to a Program Officer and will have regularly scheduled 1:1 meetings.
- Community: Connections with like-minded leaders, opportunities for collaboration with partner organizations, alumni, and Mozilla staff, and interdisciplinary connections to support their project.
- Network and Resources- From projects like Common Voice to the deep expertise — and reach — of Mozilla’s Insights and Advocacy teams, Mozilla has a wide range of programs and tools Fellows can plug into to advance their work.
- Project Promotion: Mozilla’s Communications and PR Team provides a spectrum of support for Fellows in communicating their work to a wider audience, including writing, editing, content production, pitching to media outlets, facilitating speaking engagements, and sharing with Mozilla’s website audience and email list.
- Showcasing Work: Mozilla holds an annual festival called MozFest which brings together artists, activists, thinkers, and builders working from around the world who are all working towards a healthier internet. This event provides a place and an opportunity to convene, facilitate or curate in a way that helps Fellows raise the issues that are most pressing for them and their communities.