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Government launches No.10 Innovation Fellowship Programme


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The UK government has announced a new initiative to attract high level talent from the digital and technology sector into the Civil Service.

Named the No.10 Innovation Fellowship Programme, it will be run jointly by 10 Downing Street and the Government Digital Service (GDS).

It has been inspired by the US Presidential Fellowship Programme, developed with an advisory board of digital leaders from the public sector, and will take in around 10 people each year.

They will be offered 12-month contracts at deputy director (SCS1) level with a possible extension of a further 12 months.

Fellows will work in small teams on projects that are judged to be technologically challenging, highly impactful and deliverable within a year. These will be aimed at transforming public services through the adoption of new technologies and approaches from the private sector.

First five projects

Those in the first cohort are to work on five projects chosen from government internal bids, with which they will be matched during the application process:

  • Ministry of Defence - Serious games: using deep reinforcement learning to support planning for military operations.
  • Department for Education - Harnessing the potential of digital solutions in education.
  • Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office - Unlocking the power of data to address humanitarian crises.
  • Department of Health and Social Care - Designing high impact data solutions in the fight against Covid-19 and beyond.
  • Ministry of Justice - Using digital solutions to better manage offenders in the community.

Chair of the advisory board and executive director of the new Central Digital and Data Office Joanna Davinson said: “It’s essential that we have the right technical skills and experience within the digital, data and technology (DDaT) profession to deliver the best public services.

“We already have a wealth of talent in the Civil Service and this programme will allow us to harness external expertise in tackling some of the biggest challenges we face. I look forward to meeting our first cohort.”

Induction, coaching, networking

The programme will also reserve a fifth of fellows’ time for induction, coaching and networking events, and to pursue appropriate personal projects.

No.10 has opened the application window through a web link until 28 March but warned it may close earlier depending on the number of applications. It has also pointed applicants towards a list of desirable skills on the DDaT Capability Framework.

Image from iStock, DZarzycka


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