What is the Pilot Policy Studio?

The trial of a new program to pair New York-based academics with State and City government agencies to work together on urban technology pilots in the City of New York. The Studio was originally proposed in Pilot:New York City, a research-backed roadmap to grow the local urban innovation ecosystem, co-authored by Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Urban Tech Hub and New York City Economic Development Corporation.


What is the goal of the Studio?

To utilize the strength of local research universities to help government agencies deploy meaningful technology pilots with strong evaluation criteria, validate the results, and publish findings and potential policy recommendations.


What is the funding opportunity?

Up to $80,000 in catalytic funding in 2024 to support at least one academic-agency pairing. The Pilot Policy Studio may offer in-kind support for additional pairings.


What was the Pilot Pitchfest?

An event in which New York government agencies and academics delivered ~2-minute pitches on urban technology pilot projects they wish to run in 2024. We had over 30 presenters and 200 attendees—check out the slides here, and the live recording. The intent of the event was to create a low-stakes forum for people to share early pilot ideas before applications to the Studio are due on January 16th.


How can I stay up to speed?

If you are interested in proposing a pilot or potentially responding to an agency or academic submission, we recommend completing the agency-academia directory. For the directory, we ask you to answer a few basic questions about who you are and your research interests.


How does the selection process work?


January 16: Submissions

Applications for pilot projects are due on January 16th. 


We tried to make the application as light as possible and design a process that adds value, even for folks who do not end up receiving funding from the Policy Studio. After the submission due date, the title and abstract for all submissions will be posted on Cornell Tech’s website. Then, the process diverges, depending on which group you are representing (agency, academia).


Jan 16 – Feb 12: Counter Submissions

  • Agency Submissions: All qualifying agency submissions will be distributed to researchers in the attendee directory (we will also seek out additional researchers whom we think are relevant). Researchers who meet the program constraints are eligible to respond to agency submissions, with a workplan and budget that reflects how they would address the agency’s research prompt.
  • Academic Submissions: All qualifying academic submissions will be sent to the agencies for which they are applicable. Agencies will be asked to indicate which projects they are interested in pursuing as part of the Pilot Policy Studio. We will notify researchers who have found an agency match; researchers will then be asked to submit a formal work plan and budget.  


Feb 12 – Mar 4: Down-Selection

Once the pool of matches has been made, we will enter the selection process for funding. Teams may be asked to sit for an interview as part of the selection process and submit additional information as we progress toward final candidate(s) for funding. We expect to make final decisions on funding in early March.


Have any additional questions?

Check-out the background document, which includes a detailed FAQ. If your question still is not answered, please reach out to cara.eckholm@cornell.edu.