NYU Institute for Public Interest Technology

A 2-week virtual conference for early and mid-career faculty who seek to accelerate their work in public interest technology

IPIT supports scholars through technology training sessions and writing collaboratives. Join us to plan and execute new public interest technology work.

The NYU Institute for Public Interest Technology gives scholars skills and networks to help build and develop new research collaborations in public interest technology. We build bridges between critical scholars and those trained in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

We seek participants from the social sciences and humanities who want to level up their tech skills and make substantial progress on their own scholarly projects. We support new or in-progress projects involving public interest technology.

Application Process

For early and mid-career scholars

Applicants should submit:

Tell us about your interest in public interest technology and any relevant experience. We also want to know more about a potential project you will bring to the workshop. We welcome work at all stages. Some questions to guide you:

Our application for the 2021 cycle has been closed. 


Week 1

The first week of the program will focus on technology training. Scholars will enhance their digital methods skills in order to create new scholarship, advance existing scholarship, and engage in PIT academic & policy work.

Topic: Grounding Research in Critical Race & Technology Studies.

Readings: Data Science as Political Action: Grounding Data Science in a Politics of Justice, “Over the Next Week You Are Going to Become Data Scientists… Here’s What You Should Know.”

Topic: Introduction to Python

Readings: Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World, “Hello AI.” 

Topic: Data Visualization

Readings: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.

Topic: Data Cleaning

Readings: Gender Shades

Topic: Mini-Project

Readings: How the Racism Baked Into Technology Hurts Teens. 

Week 2

The second week of the session will focus on putting new skills into practice. Scholars will refine their own work; create project plans; forge research collaborations; and meet with senior scholars for mentorship.

Topic: Project Introduction

Readings: Socio-technical Change from the Alt-Right to Alt-Tech

Topic: Working Session

Readings: Case Study: Recommendation Engines

Topic: Working Session

Readings: Case Study: Facial Recognition

Topic: Working Session

Readings: Case Study: Use of Pretrial Risk Assessments

Topic: Reflection

Readings: Data Science as Political Action: Grounding Data Science in a Politics of Justice “You Now Have the Tools… Here’s How to Use Them.” 

Yeshimabeit Milner, “Abolition Means Creating Something New.”

IPIT is more than just a workshop. Virtual check-ins throughout the year will maintain and establish connections after the summer intensive.

Important Dates

January 15, 2021 – March 21, 2021: Application submission

April 9, 2021: Application deadline

April 26, 2021: Accepted applicants notified

June 21 – July 2: IPIT virtual sessions daily

July 2021 – July 2022: Periodic virtual check-ins and project coaching

Frequently Asked Questions

IPIT is open to early and mid-career scholars. That includes graduate students, post-docs, tenure-track professors, non-tenure-track professors, and tenured professors. 

Yes, you do need an idea that you want to work on. IPIT is designed to accelerate your work. That said, your project can be in the very early stages; you don’t need to have gathered data, for example. We’ll help you refine your project idea, choose the right digital methods, and create a plan for finishing the analysis and publishing your work.

Public interest technology is just what it sounds like: technology in the public interest. PIT scholars are interdisciplinary. Some work on policy, some work with data, some look at computational ethics, some design more-responsible technology systems, some work with archives, some bring together critical race and digital studies, and some come to PIT from civic tech or digital humanities. For more on PIT, check out New America’s 2020 convening or read about the PIT University Network, which IPIT belongs to.

Yes. The original plan was to bring scholars to New York City, but… pandemic. We’ll be virtual and we’ll use every pedagogical best practice to make sure it’s a meaningful but not exhausting experience.

The program runs from June 21-July 2, 2021. Plan to clear your schedule between 9 AM and 5 PM EST on those days. An exact schedule will be published soon.

Python or R, because those are the most popular languages among scholars right now. For methodologies, we’re flexible: IPIT faculty are trained in all of the major social science methodologies, and we’ll help you execute whichever one makes the most sense for your project. We plan to use a community-driven approach to design the curriculum. For example: if most of the participants want to focus on machine learning, we’ll put in an extra unit about ML. In your application, feel free to tell us what you’d most like to learn.

Yes! We only ask that you be available during our Zoom meetings. 


Contact Us To Learn More

General Inquiries: ipit@nyu.edu

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