Digital Fellowship

First Minister’s Digital Fellowship Programme

The Digital Fellowship Programme brings high impact specialists with key skills into the civil service to lead on key programmes of work. Bringing external skills and insight to share with Scottish Government.

The programme brings the principles, values, and practices of the innovation economy into government through the most effective agents of change we know: our people.

This programme seeks talented, diverse technologists and innovators. Fellows work with top civil servants and change makers at the highest levels of the government to tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges.

The Digital Fellowship aims to leverage outside industry expertise to work within government. We aim to provide opportunities for industry to work with us to deliver key programmes whilst sharing their expertise and insights with existing civil servants.

We have an ambitious digital agenda and we recognise that we can’t, and shouldn’t, do this alone. To meet the challenges ahead of us we are able to provide opportunities for industry to share their skills and passion.

We aim to do this by providing the opportunity for people to join our teams to fill key roles with the chance to lead and develop.

The programme

Launched in 2018 the First Minister’s Digital Fellowship Programme is based on the US Government’s Presidential Innovation Programme. It is aimed at bringing in affordable commercial and technology expertise from industry to generate shared learning.

Fellowships are temporary postings within the Scottish Government or agencies.

Postings last between six and 23 months, depending on the role being undertaken and agreements between organisations.

Placements are facilitated through secondment agreements where the fellow remains an employee of their own organisation. Whilst on the programme they retain their current salary and benefits, paid by their employer.

Postings are identified and advertised across various networks. Roles available are senior digital posts with specific skill requirements where we have a critical requirement for someone with the expertise and industry insight.

Fellows are fully embedded within programmes and are responsible for delivery and leadership of their business area. They are provided with the resources and support required to deliver. Fellows are expected to share insight and skills with permanent civil servants. In return they are provided with access to new connections and a chance to lead on critical programmes of work.

Building our links with industry

Joining as a Fellow gives you a unique opportunity to develop links with the public sector in Scotland. Whilst with us you will be expected to build your awareness of the networks and programmes of work that are in the public sector.

You will have the opportunity to contribute to development and delivery of strategy that will directly impact the citizens of Scotland.

You will work with some of our most talented and ambitious people and will have the opportunity to share your principles, values, and practices of the innovation economy into government.

You will be expected to play an active role in developing the people around you by sharing your expertise and access to your own networks, where appropriate. You will also be invited to work on developing the Programme for future Fellows to make sure it remains fit for purpose.

Become a fellow

If you are interested in a Digital Fellowship with Scottish Government the first step is to check for roles available currently.

You can find available roles on our digital careers pages.

If you can’t find any roles currently advertised or would like more information about potential fellowship opportunities please contact us at

Once you have found a suitable fellowship opportunity you will be invited to complete a short application outlining your skills and experiences.

You will then attend an informal interview which will allow us to discuss the role in more detail and how you may be able to come and work with us.

If both of us agree that it’s the right role for you we will then need to agree with your current employer that they are able to release you for the required duration. Once we have this agreement our HR contacts will work with your organisation to draft a secondment agreement. This will include details of your remuneration and any costs that need to be met whilst you are working as a Fellow. At the same time, you will need to go through the security vetting process.

Once that’s all completed we’ll agree your start date.

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