Frontier Fellow, Future of Property Rights


New America


Friday, January 10, 2020

Start Date

Monday, February 10, 2020

About the Future of Property Rights Program:

New America’s Future of Property Rights Program (FPR) was founded to answer the following question: Why is a quarter of the world’s population unable to exercise their fundamental right to property, despite advances in technology and human development?

We believe a disconnect between policymakers and technologists is hindering progress in the global fight for land and property rights.

FPR aims to help solve global property rights challenges by shrinking the gulf between technologists and policymakers. Through research, writing, and convening, we strive to bring these two constituents into the same room. Our goal is to act as a translator between the world of drones, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, and the world of politics, laws, and institutions.

At the same time, we aim to preempt emerging property rights challenges by thinking critically about the paradigms that govern new spaces, from cyberspace to outer space.

About the Position:

The ideal candidate is a self-motivated thought leader with experience in both technology and policy or international development. The candidate should be a good multi-tasker, capable of managing day-to-day project operations and contributing to the long-term goals of FPR through coordination with New America and external colleagues, writing short articles and white papers, and speaking at events.

The fellow will primarily research and write on the intersection of land policy and technology, with a focus on ICT and the emerging power of digital data trails to prove land and property rights. As part of this role, FPR expects the fellow to stay abreast of emerging tech trends and developments that may be applicable to property rights; write short articles and research papers; liaise with stakeholders in both the property rights and tech communities; and possibly to help pilot the introduction of a new technology to solve a property rights challenge in a developing country context. Should resources materialize for a pilot, the fellow would be expected to help manage the project. Finally, the fellow must be an engaging speaker and networker, able to represent FPR to new audiences in new geographies. 

Experience with innovative tech, grounding in policy and/or international development, intellectual agility, and strong organizational, research, writing and communication skills are essential for this role. This is an ideal position for someone who is familiar with international development and technology, and is able to translate that experience into a dynamic role that is part project manager, part technologist, part ambassador, and part journalist. 

It is expected that the fellow will work remotely, with 1-2 trips to Washington D.C. during the course of the fellowship. The fellow may need to maintain a flexible work schedule to facilitate participation in cross-timezone meetings, within reason.


  • In collaboration with FPR, research and write on the intersection of land and technology. The fellow will be expected to produce blogs or articles monthly, as well as one to two longer research products.
  • Network with stakeholders in the property rights and technology sectors to stay abreast of new developments and flag opportunities for FPR engagement. 
  • Possibly help develop and explore resources for a pilot; should resources materialize, the fellow would help manage the project.
  • Work closely with FPR to take advantage of media opportunities --print, social, broadcast, or otherwise.
  • Serve as an ambassador and advocate for the Future of Property Rights Program.


  • A bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Minimum 10 years experience in international development or technology, with preference for experience in both disciplines. 
  • Experience working in a developing country context. 
  • Strong research, writing and editing skills in English. Preference for experience with both short-form journalistic writing, and longer-form research.
  • High attention to detail.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to prioritize work and manage time in order to meet deadlines.
  • Strong interest in the mission of the Future of Property Rights Program.
  • Familiarity with new and emerging technology, project design, and project management.
  • Ability to complete assignments and problem solve with minimal supervision.
  • Interest in working on a team and with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Application Process:

Please submit a resume, a professionally written one-page cover letter, and a short writing sample (2-5 pages). Fellowship compensation is commensurate with experience and is competitive.

The position will be open until January 10, with an anticipated start date of mid-February 2020