Emerging technology issues occupy a significant share of the Congressional agenda; every day, staff advise Members on digital policy. It is critically important that both lawmakers and aides be well-versed in the complex subjects at hand. The core of the Wilson Center's Technology Labs is to provide the knowledge foundation for core science and technology policy topics through a six-week seminar themes series. Each seminar session is led by top technologists and scholars drawn from the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Unless otherwise noted, sessions are held at the Wilson Center.
Who Should Apply
The Wilson Center invites mid- to senior-level Congressional staff to participate in the Lab; the program is also open to exceptional rising leaders with a demonstrated interest in the subject area who staff other U.S. policymakers. Applicants should possess a strong understanding of the legislative process and aspire to a career shaping national security policy. For more, see our FAQ below.
Artificial Intelligence Lab Series
The core of the AI Lab is a six-week seminar series that introduces participants to topics in AI: what is machine learning; how do neural networks work; what are the current and future applications of autonomous intelligent systems; who are currently the main players in AI; and what will AI mean for the nation’s national security.
Applications for the AI are currently closed.
Cybersecurity Lab 1.0 Series
The Cybersecurity Lab 1.0 focuses on core, fundamental concepts necessary to understanding cybersecurity: how networks work and what defends them, key bad actors and their tools, the roles of different sectors in preventing or responding to threats. Each seminar is led by top technologists and scholars drawn from the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Each week's seminar also includes a tabletop exercise--in which participants are divided into groups and given scenarios to roleplay that emphasize the role of the legislative branch--as well as a social component.
Applications for the Cybersecurity Lab 1.0 are currently closed.
Cybersecurity Lab 2.0 Series
The Cybersecurity Lab 2.0 is an advanced seminar series covering in-depth security technologies and policy issues, and builds on the curriculum of the Wilson Center's introductory Cybersecurity Lab 1.0 series. Each session is thematically organized into core issue areas. In this second level of the lab, we will offer an unparalleled opportunity to dive into the advanced topics of encryption, spectrum security, active defense and more, in addition to exploring future policy challenges posed by improvements in technology.
APPLY NOW: Applications for the Cybersecurity Lab 2.0 are currently open until February 28 at 11:59 PM EDT. Dates for the spring 2020 lab are: March 6, March 13, March 20, March 27, April 3, and April 24. Please do not apply unless you are confident you can meet the attendance requirement.
Beyond the Labs: Alumni Program
Fellows who attend at least 5 out of 6 sessions of a lab series join the Wilson Center Technology Labs Alumni Network. Alumni are invited to take part in exclusive Wilson Center events and programs, including exclusive master classes with experts, private briefings, workshops, study trips, and high-level roundtables. During the seminar series, participants will also be in a position to draw on the expertise of the 150 resident scholars the Wilson Center hosts each year, a global network of academics and policymakers.
How many applicants do you accept each session?
We plan to accept no more than 25 applicants for each session.
Can individuals other than Congressional staff apply?
We welcome applications from other exceptional rising leaders who staff U.S. policymakers; however, strong preference will be given to those currently working on the Hill (including fellows and those on detail to Congressional offices from executive branch agencies).
I don’t handle the technology portfolio in my office. Can I still apply?
Yes. We welcome applications from staff who aspire to work on emerging technology issues but have limited experience in that area.
If I’m not offered a space—or I’m accepted but can’t meet the attendance requirements—can I apply for a future session?
Yes. Applicants are welcome to re-apply for future Lab sessions.
If my Member doesn’t have the time to write the optional letter of recommendation, will you accept a letter from a chief-of-staff (or other supervisor)?
Yes. We understand the constraints on Members’ time and will happily accept letters from other recommenders.
I submitted a letter from my Member/supervisor when I applied for the Foreign Policy Fellowship Program. Do I need to request a new one for this application?
No. Please mark that you previously applied for the Fellowship Program so that we know to check for a previous letter.