The Oxford Internet Institute Visiting Policy Fellowship Programme provides a unique means of engagement for Oxford researchers and policy makers in government, industry and civil society. Competitively evaluated applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for a two-year term of appointment.
The programme provides a customized professional development opportunity to senior policy leads from different sectors. This is not just an opportunity to attend lectures, interview experts and spend time on strategic thinking about technology and society. It is an opportunity for co-working, developing ideas together, and staying briefed on the latest research. When new ideas are needed for policy leadership, you need a trusted contact for someone who is in a position to advise. Having insight at the right time is the result of extended, deep contact with the latest research and thinking. It is difficult to model when you will be called on for your opinion on society’s grand challenges in artificial intelligence, the internet of things, or the future of work. It is difficult to anticipate when a policy crisis will hit in your domain of work. But being able to recognize high quality research on a rapid turn-around is a unique skill. Our Visiting Policy Fellows develop this skill and these contacts.
How to Apply
Applications will be competitive, and will require a 2-page resume and a 1-page statement about what the applicants want out of the program. Compliance with existing protocols on work visas is expected. We will seek good social and intellectual diversity in our Fellowship cohorts.
Before applying, it is strongly advised that you identify and reach out to your potential academic supervisor or collaborator for an informal conversation about applying. You can browse our People pages to find that person. Alternatively, feel free to get in touch with Mark Malbas, our Head of Strategic Relationships and Policy Engagement, who will be pleased to help.
Applications are particularly welcome from women, and black and minority ethnic people, who are under-represented in posts at Oxford University. To be considered, please submit the follow material.
- The application form (online).
- An up-to-date CV (not more than 4 sheets of A4), uploaded with your application.
- Your proposal (not more than 1-2 sheets of A4), uploaded with your application. This should set out:
- the programme of research or study that you propose to undertake during your visit
- the rationale for your visit and your proposed work programme
- how your proposed research or study benefits from being undertaken at Oxford
- the contribution you would expect make to the intellectual community of Oxford University during period of your visit including an outline of potential seminar(s) and publications
- how your proposed study or research relates to the work of the OII and would further the aims of the OII
- evidence of your capacity to undertake original research or independent study if you are not from academia.
About the Programme
For globally-minded foundations, technology firms, and civil society groups, the Oxford Internet Institute is the foothold for understanding a diversity of international, especially European perspectives on technology policy. The OII is unique in that 15 years have built up an extensive alumni network that now works in technology industry, policy, and civil society groups around the world. There is no similarly positioned research institute. The EU listens to the OII—many of our alumni work there. Our alumni and colleagues work for industry and regulators in massive markets like Brazil, China and India. Our faculty experts work in literally every region. We are the liveliest center for engagement on technology policy issues in the world, with an active calendar of events, visiting speakers, off the record workshops and opportunities for professional networking. A limited number of Visiting Policy Fellows each year participate in the life of the OII at a pace they can set.
Tackling Policy Challenges
This programme responds to the three most important challenges in contemporary policy making in technology and information.
First, the great danger in recent legal and policy responses to AI, blockchain technologies, and junk news over social media is overregulation. Many governments—and multilateral organizations like the EU—like to protect their political cultures but try to do so with relatively simple and clumsy policy instruments. We may be past the point where industry self-regulation is sufficient to protect democratic institutions, but what regulatory responses might strengthen those institutions?
Second, public policy makers around the world actively avoid policy ideas from Silicon Valley, US universities and American civil society groups. Small policy and research centres based at US Universities have little impact on the rest of the world, because they are seen as captured by the technology industry and encumbered by a narrow libertarianism. US-based civil liberties groups have little credibility in legal traditions where political speech is balanced with public responsibility and modest policy oversight. Nonetheless, it is that permissive environment that allowed so much innovation in technology design, so how can we craft public policy in a way that preserves public life and cultures of innovation?
Third, many multinational technology corporations are quite isolated from real-time policy research. They can easily access knowledge from paid consultants and published sources, but they often prefer to rely on academics who can aggregate the knowledge and provide accessible, smartly curated content.
The challenge for universities and the OII is to position our work as impactful to industry and government, not simply a scholarly endeavour worthy of pure philanthropy. We all want clear, balanced and sensibly composed regulatory guidance, and an extended programme of visiting fellows from the senior members of government, industry and civil society can provide a platform for composing that guidance.
Programme Structure and Offering
Many Universities have policy fellows who are tasked with crafting policy papers. This is a more ambitious program of engagement on urgent issues, and is unique because
- participating Fellows will be deliberately chosen from across sectors so that there is a balance of participants from different academic, industry, journalism, and government career paths;
- programme revenue will be used to support collaborations between participating fellows and Oxford researchers;
- while the Visiting Policy Fellows will conduct policy-relevant research, they will be expected to engage with contemporary debates in law, policy and regulation through public speaking, writing public commentary, and driving policy conversations forward.
Appointment as a Visiting Policy Fellow recognizes policy leadership from across sectors unique opportunities to be exposed to the latest research, engage with the world’s leading thinkers, and develop their own professional networks. The goal of the Visiting Policy Fellow program is to enhance the OII’s academic, industry, and public profile by hosting a mixture of 4-6 Visiting Policy Fellows each year and providing Visiting Policy Fellows with an enticing and multi-tiered package of engagements and privileges when they come to Oxford or attend our events in London.
The priority policy domains likely to be supported include 1) the Internet of Things, (2) applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence (3) cybersecurity, (4) content curation, management, censorship, and distribution, (5) applications of blockchain technologies, (6) global gig economy trends, and (7) differential privacy and data de-identification. We already have some of the world’s leading faculty-led research teams working in these domains. This Visiting Policy Fellowship program will capitalize on our existing research strengths, share the latest research with industry and government, and advance policy conversations. Ultimately, this program will help shape the global agenda for information policy.
Programme fees take into account “desk fee” rates across the University and the OII’s wider range of activities and broader range of resources designed for the leadership of contemporary policy-making organizations. These fees are also calibrated to be within the budgets that many organizations have set aside for leadership development and professional training opportunities:
- £18,000 for two year appointment from industry
- £15,000 for two year appointment from government and employees of trade associations or membership bodies
- £12,000 for two year appointment from civil society or higher education
There may be additional fees for optional administrative or secretarial services, research assistance, and admission to particular cost-bearing special events and programmes. Fellows bear the costs of any additional accommodation, transport to and from Oxford, and other charges related to the Programme. The ideal applicant is a mid-career professional whose employer supports the cost of educational programs and professional development.
Benefits for Fellows
Appointed fellows will receive the following benefits of association with the OII:
- Visitor status within the university and a University Card.
- A member of the OII’s staff to act as host, introducing the visitor to the OII and available for discussion of research interests or coordinating a more intensive programme tailored to the needs of the Visitor.
- Inclusion in staff mailing lists inviting to department talks, seminars and non-course lectures, plus a wide range of University seminars and lectures.
- Provision of an @oii.ox.ac.uk email address, if required.
- Access to the University and department’s IT network, and use of PCs in the library. Access to defined areas of the OII’s server.
- Use of a hot desk with PC or Mac.
- General access to the department’s communal facilities and common room areas.
- Limited free photocopying (with an additional charge for larger requirements)
Appointed fellows will be entitled to the following services and attributions:
- The right to be listed on the OII website with a brief biography;
- Access to the OII’s premises in central Oxford during the period of the visit;
- Use of the OII’s library, the Bodleian Library, and other services with the University Card.
- Two nights in college per term, covered by the fees, depending on availability and requiring advanced booking.
Appointed fellows will have several responsibilities during the period of their appointment:
- To play an active role in the intellectual community of the OII during period of the visit.
- To give a seminar and to participate in the OII’s programme of seminars and events.
- To contribute to OII publications by writing a briefing or other piece of work deriving from the visit which may, at the OII’s discretion, be published on the OII’s web site.
- To ensure that any research or policy work undertaken during the visit will be undertaken in the public interest and that any reports or publications arising from it will be freely available to scholars and other interested parties.
- To engage in general discussion about OII research, teaching initiatives, events or policy publications, as appropriate.
- To provide biographical details for the OII’s web site and regular reports on relevant activities for the OII Profile.
- To acknowledge the OII in research or other publications deriving from the visit.
- To abide by University and OII policies – as per the University’s Academic Visitor declaration.
Appointed fellows will have several professional development and networking opportunities over the course of the appointment.
- Possible invitation to the black tie Internet Awards Dinner.
- Possible invitation to the Internet Leadership Academy.
- Possible invitation to lecture to graduate students during a regular course, as part of the summer leadership academy, or informal mentoring.
Head of Strategic Relationships and Policy Engagement, Oxford Internet Institute
1 St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Direct Line +44 (0) 1865 287220
Main Line +44 (0) 1865 287210
Professor Phil Howard
Director, Oxford Internet Institute
1 St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Direct Line +44 (0) 1865 287016
Main Line +44 (0) 1865 287210
Dr. Victoria Nash
Deputy Director, Policy and Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
1 St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS
Direct Line +44 (0) 1865 287231
Main Line +44 (0) 1865 287210