Consumer Reports (CR) offers paid, non-resident fellowships to researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to design and scale solutions to the problems facing consumers today.
About the CR Fellowship: This is an 8 month, non-residential fellowship that includes a generous $50,000 stipend and numerous resources to help fellows bring their research and ideas to reality. Fellows may leverage CR’s data and testing infrastructure, work with our reporters, advocates and product teams, and tap into the collective intelligence of our growing community of public interest technologists. CR gives preference to Fellows whose work makes substantial contributions to the field of public interest tech and/or results in open source libraries, reference implementations, and/or other public goods.
The application is currently closed. We invite prospective fellows to share a bit of information about themselves via our interest form here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is CR Offering Fellowships?
Consumer Reports is an independent nonprofit organization that operates the world’s largest consumer educational and product testing center. Today, we are building tools and methods to better evaluate and report on connected products and services—examining everything from the behavior of connected appliances to the data practices of major internet platforms to the harms and benefits of generative AI. Through this fellowship program, we seek to support new work in the field, and develop new tooling and infrastructure to empower consumers.
How does the fellowship work?
The fellowship is a 8 month collaboration. Each fellow’s time commitment will be based on the fellow’s focus area and project plan. We offer a generous stipend, project and technical support, a travel budget, and networking opportunities across the CR contributor network.
What is the expectation for fellows?
Fellows will attend an onboarding meeting in New York, participate in bi-weekly calls with the fellowship director, provide regular updates on their research progress and participate in an end of program Demo Day. Fellows can work from anywhere. They will have the opportunity to collaborate with technologists and technicians who are part of the Innovation Lab, leverage CR’s data and testing infrastructure, and tap into the collective intelligence of our growing community of public interest technologists. Beyond advancing original research, we’re looking for fellows that will help build innovative tools, protocols and systems that can be deployed for public benefit.
Who can apply?
Anyone interested in the mission of Consumer Reports is welcome to apply. The fellowship may be of particular interest to researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs who want to use code and data to re-shape the digital market to better serve consumers’ interests. There is no specific educational or experience prerequisite required for the fellowship. We have previously awarded fellowships to outstanding graduate students, PhDs, post-docs, established researchers, professors, and entrepreneurs. We welcome applications from independent technologists and professionals based within for-profit commercial organizations, though these applicants must undergo a conflict-of-interest review.
Do I need to have a project idea?
We award fellowships to people, not ideas—but applicants with a well-articulated project proposal will be more competitive.
How specific does a project idea need to be?
A good project proposal will include a problem/solution statement—or alternatively, a research question—and a detailed work plan. The proposal will also explain how resulting knowledge, findings or solutions might advance the public interest. An especially strong proposal might outline anticipated contributions in data, open source repositories, or publications. We are therefore particularly interested in applicants who understand how to leverage their proposed projects to drive change at a systems or policy level.
Do I own my work?
Yes! We encourage collaboration with Consumer Reports researchers, reporters and various industry experts, but you’ll own the work you do as part of your fellowship. However, CR gives preference to Fellows whose work makes substantial contributions to the field of public interest tech and/or results in open source libraries, reference implementations, and/or other public goods. We therefore encourage fellows, to the extent practical, to consider making code and data available through an open license.
How will applications be reviewed?
CR staff and advisors will review the applications and evaluate for alignment with CR’s mission and commitment to advancing the interests of consumers and the general public. Semi-finalists will be invited for interviews; finalists will work with CR to further articulate the scope of collaboration and identify any additional support needed.
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