Science Policy x Equity (SPxE) Accelerator
We’re looking for policy ideas to advance science, technology, and innovation to deliver dramatic progress and build a more inclusive America.
Racial Equity in Tech Policy Accelerator
We believe technology policy has the potential to increase opportunity and limit harms, when done through a racial equity lens. This is why the Racial Equity in Technology Policy Accelerator is a joint initiative by the Federation of American Scientists’ Day One Project and the Kapor Center. Together we want to identify, develop, and publish a set of racial justice & technology policy ideas to be implemented by the legislative and executive branches.
Wildland Fire Policy Accelerator
The future of wildland fire policy needs you. FAS is partnering with Conservation X Labs, COMPASS, and the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) to find new policy ideas that improve how we live with fire. FAS will synthesize recommendations and provide inputs to the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission, which has been tasked this year to provide recommendations to Congress on ways to better prevent, manage, suppress and recover from wildfires.
Reimagining the Future of Global Development: A moonshot accelerator to reach the SDGs
In partnership with UnlockAid, FAS is hosting a global development moonshot accelerator to generate new models to seed, scale and implement novel, catalytic solutions, modeled after “moonshots,” to tackle the effects of a changing climate and meet ambitious goals like the SDGs by 2030.
From Idea to Action
Day One Project Accelerators are six-to-nine week part-time sprints that help each participant transform their exciting proposal for progress in science and technology into an actionable policy memo.
The accelerator process connects people with ideas to training in policy entrepreneurship, and with access to the tools, mindsets, and networks that can shape ideas into reality. Much like venture-capital accelerators for products, Day One policy accelerators provide the scaffolding — the knowledge, platform, network, and sweat equity — to mobilize expertise into action. Accelerator participants, selected through periodic open calls for submissions, receive comprehensive support from the Day One team that includes:
- Virtual whiteboarding sessions to workshop ideas and engage in policy design sessions.
- One-on-one pairings with an experienced policymaker who serves as a resource and mentor during the proposal development and implementation stages.
- Access to policy toolkits, workbooks, technical editing, and other resources to ensure a compelling final written product.
- Exclusive Q&A and learning sessions with policy advisors and subject-matter experts in and outside of the federal government.
- Idea exchanges and social events to build community with members of the accelerator cohort.
Our goal is to democratize the policy process, so no prior policy expertise is required. Over 100 individuals — activists and CEOs, tenured professors and undergraduates, early-career researchers and chief technology officers, junior and senior government personnel — have completed the Accelerator process and now pursue the implementation of their ideas as a policy entrepreneur.
From public interest tech to progress studies, click below to learn more about our past accelerators.
“As a graduate student studying public policy, I found that the Day One Project did a brilliant job of concisely distilling and substantiating in 9 weeks some of the most important lessons I’d learned over the course of a year. More importantly, they took these lessons three steps further by adding practical insights on the reality of policy entrepreneurship, by having us test and refine our ideas with our cohort and seasoned policymakers, and by pushing us to publish and implement our proposals.”
“I feel I have a much clearer vision of how the government operates and how we can make things happen in the nation. The guidance helps not only to push forward new policy but also how I apply for grants at NSF and how I integrate policy discussions in my research papers (which can help me to ensure i have much better impact)”
“The Day One accelerator took me from 0 to 100 in 9 weeks: Literally from zero knowledge about policy-making to feeling very confident about what I need to do to affect it. The knowledge alone is just one part, and the hard work lies ahead, but Day One was superb at conveying the knowledge, and also in showing how within reach policy influence could be.”
“This was a fantastic experience. I teach graduate students about US information and telecommunications policy and the opportunity to share what I’ve been working on with them and to bring in some of the lessons I’ve learned about writing about policy in a concise and persuasive way was awesome. I appreciate the resources that your team has developed and the time you spent to think with me about developing a coherent proposal. I learned a great deal from the guests, too.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Our accelerators are a six- to nine-week, part-time process designed to create “policy entrepreneurs”: those with or without any prior policy experience but are highly motivated to leverage the tools, skills, and networks we provide to drive change. Selected participants will have a chance to develop their ideas with guidance from policy advisors, meet with veteran policymakers to learn more about the nuances of policy implementation, hone their ability to craft actionable policy on the federal level, and build a community with their fellow cohort
We recommend looking closely at the live accelerator application page for topical scope and our proposal library for a better sense of what we mean by “ambitious and actionable” policy ideas.
Interested parties begin by completing our official submission form, which can be found on the live application website. Each submission requires prospective authors to submit information on who they are, as well as a summary of their idea to help our team understand and evaluate each submission. We recommend reviewing the form in advance and thinking through each answer to the questions before officially submitting your proposal. We also suggest reviewing existing papers on our website for examples of previous work. Once an idea is submitted, the Day One Project will review and accept a set of ideas.
If competitiveness is defined by the number of applicants and the amount selected, then generally we run a competitive process. Usually we receive over 100 applications and select about 10-12 ideas to continue with formal accelerator programming. We are a small team so based on our capacity we select the ideas based on the general criteria listed below. However, we also frequently work with contributors outside of the Accelerator model, asynchronously providing support to those ideas we accept via our open submission form.
Ideas will be evaluated across two primary dimensions:
- Potential for impact
- Feasibility to implement
Within these categories, we consider various factors as we evaluate submissions. Your idea does not need to address each and every question. We offer the below categories and questions as a guide to help authors as they consider their proposal:
Understanding of the problem
Does the author articulate an understanding of the issue and experience working on this particular problem within or outside of government?
Novelty of solution
Is the idea new? Does the idea impact a new area of policy, or present an opportunity for an agency or department to apply an idea in a new way? Does the idea have potential to grow and scale as a result of the federal government taking action?
Urgency and need
Does the proposal aim to take on a burning issue on a national stage lacking creative ideas for how to solve it? Does the idea draw attention to an issue that is an emerging opportunity or potential threat? Does the idea propose an action that would otherwise not happen if the government failed to act?
Potential for implementation
Is the proposal aligned with any ongoing or existing actions? Is there any historical precedent from previous/current administrations taking on the issue, and are there current ongoing efforts to address it? Does the idea have potential to appeal to a bipartisan audience? Does it already have a champion or sponsor within the government working on the issue?
What financial resources might be required to move the idea forward? Does it require new investment? Is there a way to utilize existing funds in a new way to provide financial support?
Does the idea have a clear policy platform and audience to act on it? Is it something that can be executed on by the executive branch, or is it better suited for a specific agency or congress to work on? Is it something appropriately scoped or scaled for a particular high-level policymaker?
We seek a wide range of ideas covering diverse topics and plan to select the best ideas that are submitted.
If your idea is accepted, the Day One Project will work with you to help define and refine your initial idea, converting it into a short, actionable policy memo over the course of six- to nine-weeks. Our team will work with each individual author(s) to curate and craft your idea into an actionable policy. The Day One team will provide writing resources, phone consultation, editorial support, and connections to domain experts (when applicable) to help authors advance their idea into a full proposal. Following the completion of the accelerator, we aim to invite authors to engage policymakers. We will work with authors to drive traction on their proposal with the goal of pushing for the implementation of recommendations outlined.
We hope that invited accelerator participants will benefit from working with the Day One Project team in three key ways:
- Mentorship: You will have access to mentorship and training on government policy levers, technical assistance on proposal development, guidance on engaging policymakers, and other dedicated resources for you to become an empowered advocate for change, regardless of your starting point.
- Networking: Not only will you work hand-in-hand with the Day One team, but you will collaborate with our network of experts, your impressive cohort peers, and a group of current and former policymakers.
- Impact: By the end of the accelerator, you will have developed an actionable policy proposal and have the skillset to champion this policy in the Federal Government.
On completion of the Accelerator, you will be invited to join the Day One Community — a network of over 400 science and technology policy contributors — as a fully-fledged policy entrepreneur. We believe the tools provided to you during the Accelerator will empower you to carry forward your ideas and will provide 1:1 consultations as needed to develop strategies and facilitate movement.