Call for Applications

Please note: We are no longer accepting applications for this year's Transatlantic Digital Debates. We will have a new round next year  check back in February 2021. 


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The Transatlantic Digital Debates (TDD) is a joint initiative of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) and New America’s Open Technology Institute that brings together young professionals from Germany and the United States to work on key challenges at the intersection of technology and policy. We are seeking 18 participants from civil society, academia, politics, media, and business who are willing to engage with and challenge each other’s ideas concerning the societal implications of technological change.

The fellows will have the opportunity to discuss their thoughts with leading experts and practitioners from different sectors. By the end of the program, they will have gained a broader understanding of the issues that will define tech policy and transatlantic relations in the coming years as well as new ideas for how to tackle the respective challenges. We hope that they will form a strong network of future decision-makers in the US and Germany.

Over the course of 2020, the fellows will meet for two dialogue sessions – first in Berlin and Munich (June 21 to 26, 2020), followed by Washington, DC, and Seattle (November 15 to 20, 2020). Their discussions will tackle two main issue areas:

  • Industrial and Innovation Policy: Developments like artificial intelligence, platform services, the Internet of Things, automation, digital commerce, and next-generation wireless networks (such as 5G) are fundamentally changing the global economy. This digital transformation, often called Industry 4.0, brings with it massive opportunities – but also comes with huge challenges. While transatlantic cooperation on industrial policy can play a role in building a rights-based, secure and thriving global internet economy, there is also a need for a critical discussion on the limits of industrial policy when it comes to shaping the future of the technology industry.

  • The Global Internet: Democracy depends on citizens’ access to ideas and information. For the better part of three decades, many believed that the internet offered such an open information flow that democracy would inevitably follow in its wake. With hindsight, we know that this was a false hope – even though popular culture is still ripe with remnants of this visionary (and highly unrealistic) rhetoric. Not only are autocrats using the internet as a tool for monitoring and surveillance, they are increasingly asserting control over the internet itself to curtail access to outside information. How can the transatlantic community formulate better policies that preserve the global and open internet in the face of rising digital authoritarianism?

Application Requirements

Interested applicants must:

  • Be a citizen of Germany or the United States;
  • Have at least three years of professional experience;
  • Be 35 or younger as of June 21, 2020;
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in internet and technology policy as well as in addressing emerging global challenges;
  • Have an outstanding academic record and excellent command of English;
  • Demonstrate commitment, motivation and leadership;
  • Be able to attend both sessions of the program (successful candidates will be asked to provide written confirmation from their employers agreeing to the time commitment).

Please submit your application package as a single PDF file. It must include:

  • Your curriculum vitae (maximum three pages; including date of birth, nationality, professional experience, academic background, language skills, and extracurricular activities);

  • A letter of motivation (maximum one page) explaining why you want to join the Transatlantic Digital Debates. Please refer to instances in which you have demonstrated an interest in and/or examples of your professional experience in the program’s topics, and state how your participation in the program would further your professional and personal development.

Please send your application materials in a single PDF file to by Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 23:59 Central European Time (CET). Interested applicants (and their employers) are welcome to contact the program team with questions at the email address stated above.

The selection process will be administered by GPPi in close consultation with New America’s Open Technology Institute and the project steering committee. Telephone interviews will be held between March 16 and March 20, 2020, and applications of short-listed candidates will be sent to the steering committee for final selection. Successful candidates will be notified by Friday, April 17, 2020.

Please note that we are not able to discuss unsuccessful applications.

The program covers costs for travel, accommodation and meals during the duration of the sessions. Each fellow must pay a one-time participation fee of €200. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to a carbon offset pool for emissions incurred as a result of travel to and from the locations where the sessions take place.

The Transatlantic Digital Debates are generously supported by the Transatlantic Program of the German Federal Government, with funding from the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.