FIU has received a $180,000 “Network Challenge” grant from the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) to grow the field of public interest technology (PIT) through a new initiative – PantherX Fellows.PIT is a broadly defined and emerging area of study that combines digital innovation and public policy. FIU was one of 27 recipients of the PIT-UN’s inaugural “Network Challenge” grants, which support the development of new PIT initiatives and institutions in academia and foster collaboration among the network’s partner institutions, which include FIU.
FIU will train and certify interdisciplinary teams of students and match them with local governments to engage in research and problem-solving around PIT application opportunities and challenges.
The PantherX Fellows program will publish findings to assist other schools in building local talent pipelines through strategic partnerships focused on PIT and the creation of new curriculum, offerings, and means of credentialing students in this emerging field.
“The PantherX Fellows Program embodies the mission of our FIU to create inter-disciplinary and experiential learning opportunities for our students that prepare them for careers of the 21st century,” said Saif Y. Ishoof, vice president for Engagement and PantherX Fellows principal investigator. “Students will gain experience in real-world locations at several of our municipal and public institutional partners and learn more about the public interest technology field from scholars and practitioners in our Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and other academic units around FIU.”
The PIT-UN, which was created earlier this year by the Ford Foundation, New America and the Hewlett Foundation, is a partnership of 21 colleges and universities dedicated to building the field of PIT, as well as growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally-fluent policy leaders.
The “Network Challenge” is funded through support from the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Mastercard Impact Fund, Siegel Family Endowment, Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Schmidt Futures and Raikes Foundation.