Wanted: Top-notch techies to take a short-term stab at government's problems


New innovation fellows will work on tools for natural disasters and federal accounting.

This story has been updated.

The White House is seeking a new slate of external entrepreneurs and technologists to serve short-term tours tackling thorny government problems.

The second round of Presidential Innovation Fellows will focus on developing:

  • Technological tools to mitigate damage and save lives during natural disasters and other emergencies;
  • Standards for the next generation of Internet-connected industrial machines and sensors;
  • More nimble, scalable and standardized systems for federal agency accounting systems;
  • An “innovation toolkit” to help the federal workforce respond quickly and efficiently to citizen needs; and
  • A system to help the government identify, test and scale technological solutions to international health and development problems.

The innovation fellows program, developed by federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, is based loosely on the private sector’s Entrepreneur in Residence model, which brings in outside experts to streamline a large organization’s bureaucratic processes.

The innovation fellows have six to 12 months to tackle a single government problem and produce a solution that government officials can rely on after their service concludes. The second round of innovation fellows will start work in late April or early May depending on the project, Park said via Twitter

The first round of innovation fellows began their fellowships in August. Some of the teams are concluding their projects now.

Those fellows have produced:

  • A “discovery toolbar” that crawls the federal Web to offer recommendations to government websites' visitors about related sites, regardless of what agency hosts them;
  • Alpha.data.gov, a Web tool that surfaces the most used and useful open government data so interested developers can find it without starting from square one;
  • RFP-EZ, a simplified government contracting platform for small businesses; and
  • Blue Button+, a blueprint for a standardized personal health record that doctors, pharmacists and patients can access online.

Application information for the fellowships is available here. The application period will close March 17.

(Image via Muemoon/Shutterstock.com)