The General Services Administration has named its 2021 cohort of Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) who will embark on year-long stints with the Federal government with the mission of jumpstarting technology solutions across data science, design, engineering, product, and systems disciplines.

The GSA program, which launched in 2012, identifies innovation opportunities in government, and then matches those with innovation fellows who function as entrepreneurs in residence at government agencies.

The 2021 crop of innovation fellows totals 34 people, who GSA said will work on 26 projects across 22 Federal agencies. GSA said the innovation fellows will begin their work on a virtual basis in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Presidential Innovation Fellows has united the best talent between the Federal government and the private sector to drive the next generation of modern, human-centered solutions for the public,” said Bob De Luca, GSA’s Acting FAS Deputy Commissioner and Technology Transformation Services Director.

Projects on tap for the 2021 innovation fellows include: work with the National Institutes of Health to develop digital health platforms and diagnostic technologies to address the pandemic; work with the Energy Department to develop technical infrastructure to combat adversarial AI; and a project with the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumer rights in the digital advertising ecosystem.

Joshua Di Frances, the PIF program’s Executive Director, said in an October 19 blog post the 2021 cohort features experience with AI, data science, product management, digital marketing, health innovation, and customer experience and design.

Of the 26 projects selected for the innovation fellows, 12 will focus on AI. “The impact of AI in government is profound,” Di Frances said. “With this new cohort, PIF’s AI work will help combat hiring biases, protect human health and the environment, advance COVID-19 diagnostics, and more. These exceptional individuals will work in close cooperation with agency leaders across the Federal government on the strategic, operational, and tactical use of AI in order to help agencies evaluate, design, develop, and implement this technology.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.