Become a Bellingcat Tech fellow!
Would you like to develop tools or methods that can support online researchers? Do you have a project on your mind or want to start off from one of our suggestions?
Bellingcat’s new Tech Fellowship could be the opportunity to do just that.
We are looking for motivated, independent technologists with the skills to develop a tool of their interest for the open source investigator community.
Send us a proposal for a tool that you would like and are able to develop via the submission details below. We will select individuals or a small team consisting of two, to work on this fellowship for two to six months.
What you will work on?
We welcome pitches for all areas and aspects of digital investigations. You can find an overview of existing tools in Bellingcat’s Online Investigation Toolkit here. For further inspiration, have a look at Bellingcat’s GitHub page or read this article that lists a number of Bellingcat’s own tools and suggested areas of further development. You can also look at the research the Investigative Tech Team has published so far.
If looking for cross-domain challenges go to our open-questions repository and let us know how you’d tackle one of those. We have a lot of tool ideas/requests but no time to build them all, so here are some we find relevant for the open-source community:
- A scrollytelling/animation library for the web that can improve the perception of static geolocation diagrams, some examples in this article
- Tool to expose Python CLI libraries as web interfaces automatically – think Gooey meets streamlit.io
- Replicate this tool logic to work outside Denmark, perhaps via Google’s 45 aerial API
There are no limitations in terms of topics or areas of tool development we are looking for, as long your suggested project will be useful for online researchers and can be built within the timeframe of two to six months. You can also apply with the idea to improve an existing tool in a meaningful way.
How the fellowship works
You will apply with a tool development pitch and a description of how you plan to implement your idea within two to six months. If you are selected, you will then define and agree on specific milestones together with Bellingcat’s Investigative Tech Team.
However, Bellingcat’s Tech Fellowship is designed with a degree of flexibility, taking into account the complexities of developing such tools. If required, the Bellingcat team is open to adapting the agreed milestones and helping you reformulate your project.
During your fellowship, you are free to work on your tool in a way that is best suited to your personal needs. You can work remotely, from any timezone in the world and at your own pace.
At the end of your fellowship, your code will be published on Bellingcat’s Github. You may also be offered the opportunity to share more about how researchers can best use your tool via one of Bellingcat’s outputs such as our social media channels or via publication on our website. All tools must be released under an open source software license.
Fellows will receive a stipend of 1,000 Euros per month during their fellowship.
We want to welcome applications from a wide variety of technical backgrounds. The main requirement is that you must have the necessary technical skills to be able to build the tool that you pitch. You can decide how complex your suggested tool should be.
It does not matter to us how you acquired the necessary skills to build your tool. There is no need to have any academic degrees. We also welcome self-taught individuals if they can show they have the requisite abilities. We are committed to helping create a diverse, open source developer community.
How to apply
If you are interested in this opportunity, please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your CV as well as a cover letter (no longer than 2,000 words) answering the following questions:
- What do you want to build and why?
Include a description of the tool, including a summary of why you think it will be helpful for online researchers;
- What is your development plan?
Give us a detailed description of the technical development process that you envision. What are your intermediate milestones? What is your plan B?
- Who are you and why do you have the required skills to build this tool?
Provide information about yourself and your technical skills in the areas that are relevant for your envisioned tool. You can also share or describe some past projects you have worked on.
Please also note Tech Fellowship in the subject line of your email. The deadline to apply for this fellowship is March 31, 2023. Given that we expect to receive a high number of applications, it will not be possible to respond to all. If you are invited for an interview you will receive an email from us by April 30, 2023.
Bellingcat is committed to a diverse working environment. Our team is international, from a wide range of backgrounds and we always welcome and appreciate new perspectives and life experiences. Your formal education is less important to us than the strength of your proposal. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, colour, origin, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation.
If you have any questions regarding this opportunity, feel free to contact Bellingcat’s Investigative Tech Team via our contact form.