Fountain Named Keynote Speaker of 21st Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research

Jane E. Fountain, Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, and adjunct distinguished professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, will be a keynote speaker at the 21st Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research (dg.o 2020).

The theme of dg.o 2020 is “Intelligent Government in the Intelligent Information Society.” This conference will focus on the role and capacity building of government and the new governance that would be required to timely address the challenges and opportunities that are brought by the new technologies and also to construct a trust-based society by achieving sustainable development in the intelligent information society.

Fountain directs the National Center for Digital Government. Her current research is focused on institutions and digitalization, specifically on cross-boundary and emergent institutional arrangements. She has worked with and coauthored with graduate students, and others, in the areas of institutional development and governance related to technological change in information and communications.

Fountain was selected to the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government and one of the 14 Most Influential Academics in Digital Government in 2018 and 2019 by apolitical. She was named a Federal 100 awardee in 2013. Fountain is an elected Fellow (2012) and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Public Administration; a former Chair, Vice Chair and invited member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on the Future of Government; was a member of the American Bar Association Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of eRulemaking; and was an appointed member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor’s Council on Innovation.

Fountain was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed to faculty on the campus, and the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity.

Ethan Zuckerman Presents Ideas for Building Social Media that’s Good for Society and Democracy

On Thursday, January 22, 2020, a large and engaged audience composed of UMass students and faculty, and members of the local community came together to hear from Ethan Zuckerman, Former Director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, who spoke about how we can fix social media and use it to strengthen democracy in this era of increasing polarisation. Jane Fountain, Director of the National Center for Digital Government (NCDG) introduced Zuckerman before he presented the talk. See video below.

Fountain Named to Global List of 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government

Jane Fountain, Distinguished Professor of political science and public policy and director of the National Center for Digital Government, has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government for 2018 by global policy platform Apolitical.

The list is the first of its kind to show the full international spread of innovative work in the field of digital government, with public servants from all levels of government appearing alongside representatives of the private sector and nongovernmental organizations, as well as academia. Fountain was named among the 14 men and women selected from the category of academia.

Those included in the list were selected for their influence on the transition to digital governments, whether through policymaking, research, advocacy or other means. Nominations were submitted from hundreds of digital government experts from leading organizations, including 14 national digital services, The Alan Turing Institute, the intergovernmental Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations, Future Cities Catapult, USAID and the Open Government Partnership.

Apolitical is a global platform used by public servants and policymakers in more than 120 countries to connect with each other and to find original and curated content about what’s working in policymaking around the world on topics such as digital government and government innovation.

Original article published at UMass News & Media Relations. You can find the complete Apolitical list here.

“A Justice-Based Approach for New Media Policy” by Amit Schejter

Amit Schejter will present a lecture titled “A Justice-Based Approach for New Media Policy” on October 20, 2017, 12-1 p.m., at the Integrated Learning Center, Communication Hub, 3d floor, at UMass Amherst. (Contact Jonathan Corpus Ong at for details.)

Amit Schejter, professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Pennsylvania State University, will present from his new book, A Justice-Based Approach for New Media Policy: In the Paths of Righteousness (Palgrave, 2017). Professor Schejter’s book calls for a conceptual advance from a focus on “freedom” to a focus on “equality” and a move from an emphasis on “liberty” to a concentration on “capability.”

NCDG is co-sponsoring this event with the Department of Journalism, the Department of Communication and the School of Public Policy.

Fountain delivers keynote at ICEGOV2017 in New Delhi, India

Jane Fountain, Director of NCDG, and Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, delivered a keynote address on March 8, 2017 at ICEGOV2017, one of the world’s foremost international research conferences on digital government and knowledge societies. This year’s conference took place in Delhi, India.

Fountain’s keynote was titled “Political Priorities and Administrative Performance: Building Cross-Agency Capacity.”

Fountain’s keynote address was based in part on her recent research, including:

Building an Enterprise Government: Creating an ecosystem for cross-agency collaboration

Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010: Examining Constraints to, and Developing Tools for, Cross-Agency Collaboration

Implementing Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Guide for Federal Managers

The ICEGOV2017 conference theme was “Building Knowledge Societies: From Digital Government to Digital Empowerment.” At the conference, Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched Open Forge – the Government of India’s platform for open collaborative software development of e-Governance applications based on open data and open standards — and introduced the Digital India Global Roadmap, an action plan connecting the goals of Digital India with the United Nations Development Program sustainable development goals.

Fountain attended the conference, and associated planning meetings for the Digital India program, as a guest of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. The conference was organized by the Ministry through its Digital India Program and by the United Nations University. The conference presented peer-reviewed papers from 60 countries.

Recommendations to Build Cross-Agency Collaboration for the Next Administration

Fountain March 2016 cover

Today’s political and policy challenges – like veteran homelessness, sustainable communities, federal permitting and review, cybersecurity – demand greater cross-boundary capacity, that is, the ability of government to use cross-agency collaboration, partnerships and a range of enterprise approaches to solve problems. And new technologies make information sharing and streamlining possible. Yet governments remain too fragmented with agencies working “silos” without sufficient communication and knowledge sharing.

NCDG Director Professor Fountain’s new white paper, Building an Enterprise Government: Creating an Ecosystem for Cross-Agency Collaboration in the Next Administration, makes recommendations for building enterprise approaches in government. It was published on Monday, March 14, 2016 jointly by the Partnership for Public Service and IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Fountain’s report recommends that transition teams and the next administration should determine the presidential priorities and goals that are likely to require multiple agencies to work together. The White House should include executive talent in the form of a chief operating officer to focus on those cross-agency priorities when other matters threaten to divert attention. Over the past 25 years an emerging ecosystem of institutional actors has grown up to support cross-agency and enterprise teams. This institutional network is vital to enterprise and cross-agency approaches. It’s potential as a source of knowledge, strong practice and communication should be leveraged by government executives.

A group of current and former government officials gathered in Washington, D.C. in September, convened by the Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for the Business of Government to examine how to develop such approaches and to make recommendations for the next presidential administration. Professor Fountain captured the central themes of this roundtable discussion and built on her own research during more than two decades to recommend concrete steps the transition teams and next administration should take to develop the ability to work across agency boundaries.

The report is part of a series of five white papers to develop a Management Roadmap for the next administration and is included in the Partnership’s Center for Presidential Transition Ready to Government initiative.


Jane Fountain, NCDG Director, at 2016 World Government Summit in Dubai


IMG_20160208_012715024_HDRJane Fountain, Director of NCDG, was invited to participate in the 4th World Government Summit at the invitation of His Highness Lt General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the United Arab Emirates. The Summit was held from 8-10 February in Dubai under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Fountain, Distinguished University Professor, Political Science and Public Policy, is the Chair of the Political Science Department and Director of the National Center for Digital Government.

Jane Fountain big dataThe World Government Summit focuses on shaping governments of the future and improving government service delivery through innovation. Billed as the largest annual government gathering in the world, the Government Summit serves as a global platform by gathering officials, thought leaders, policy makers and business leaders dedicated to developing the future of government.

This is not Fountain’s first visit to the region. As former Chair, Vice Chair and current member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government she has participated in summits and meetings in the UAE for the past seven years and previously worked with executives and government leaders at the Dubai School of Government.

IMG_20160209_124006945_HDRAt the Summit, Fountain heard President Barack Obama, who gave the keynote address by video; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, who discussed the growing influence of the UAE as a force for innovation and change in the Middle East and Africa; Muhammed Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and President of Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice.

During her visit, Fountain also met with US Ambassador to the UAE, Barbara Leaf, to discuss digital government, cybersecurity policy and innovation. Fountain was joined at the meeting, which took place at the US Embassy, by Hon. Chester Atkins, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and of the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives; and by Boston University Professor Jessica Stern, terrorism expert and policy consultant. Fountain said, “The UAE is one of fastest growing nations in the world and has the region’s most highly developed infrastructure. It has become an international leader in important areas of government innovation and use of technology. While its path is quite different from that of the west, it is a country that merits close observation for its impressive innovations.”

Jane Fountain with Hon. Chester Atkins at the World Government Summit
Jane Fountain with Hon. Chester Atkins at the World Government Summit

Fountain also met with principals and analysts at Hedayah, one of the world’s top international institutes dedicated to countering violent extremism through research, analysis, dialogue, communication and capacity building. Hedayah’s activities range from counter-messaging and work with former fighters and victims of terrorism to police training, the role of women, empowering communities, participatory approaches, national strategies and legal issues in prevention of terrorism.

Jane Fountain with UMass alumns and Robotics for Good winners
Jane Fountain with UMass alumns and Robotics for Good winners

Among the highlights of the Summit was the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good. The award supports innovations in artificial intelligence and robotics that focus on practical areas of value to society such as health, social services and education. Two UMass Amherst alumni – Michael McKinley and Maciej Pietrusinki, both of whom received Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering – were members of the teams that won first and third place, respectively. McKinley’s team, SUITX, has developed affordable exoskeletons for children with neurological disorders. Pietrusinki is founder and president of AndrosRobotics LLC, which developed a robotic leg advancement device that administers gait training therapy to stroke and other neurological patients.

The Summit featured an Innovation Lab. Among the displays:

Rats trained to detect land mines and TB
China works with Baidu, the UN and others to pay citizens to recycle e-waste to prevent pollution
Drones for emergency relief in hard to reach areas.
Patient centered medicine


Dubai will soon launch the Museum of the Future in a building suitably designed fit for its purpose.



IMG_20160208_045247800 Beyond facial recognition … detecting emotion from facial images






Prototype exhibits at the Summit examined human enhancement, facial recognition, robotics and more.




Thought provoking exhibits on human augmentation




Events such as the World Government Summit are critical for global information sharing and knowledge transfer. It is impressive to see the Emiratis take the lead in such an important international gathering.


Schweik gives invited plenary talk at the Seventh International Workshop on Network Theory focusing on “Peer Production Networks”

On October 29th, Charlie Schweik gave an invited plenary talk entitled “Reflections on Open Source Software and Open Science Peer Production” at the “Seventh International Workshop on Network Theory: Peer Production Networks” at Northwestern University. In his talk, Schweik presented findings from his large-scale empirical study of open source software as the ‘quintessential instance’ of peer production, and then reflected on his work in peer production in other domains, such as open educational resources and in open source hardware and science. The full workshop program and links to talks is available at:

NCDG Symposium on Institutional Perspectives on Digital Government Research


On Monday, June 8, NCDG is hosting a research symposium on institutional perspectives on digital government research. Here is the program and list of speakers:

Symposium on Institutional Perspectives in Digital Government Research
National Center for Digital Government – University of Massachusetts Amherst
Gordon Hall, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

10-11 a.m. Welcome and introductions

11-11:40 “Enacting Collaborative Electronic Government: Empirical Evidence and Lessons from a Survey,” J. Ramon Gil-Garcia, Associate Professor, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs, and Research Director, Center for Technology and Government, University at Albany, State University of New York

11:40-12:20 p.m. “The Relation among Institutions, Organizations, Actors’ Preferences and e-Governance in Estonia,” Nele Leosk, Doctoral Candidate, European University Institute, Florence, Italy; NCDG Fellow and NYU Governance Lab Fellow (Fulbright-Schuman grantee)

12:20-1 p.m. “Using Technology for Improved Governance in Pakistan, ” Dr. Obed Q. Pasha, Lecturer, Center for Public Policy & Administration, University of Massachusetts Amherst

1-2 p.m. Lunch

2-2:40 p.m. “Digital Government Transformation and Internet Portals: The Co-Evolution of Technology, Organizations, and Institutions,” Luis F. Luna-Reyes, Associate Professor, Dept of Informatics, College of Computing and Information, University at Albany, State University of New York

2:40-3:20 p.m. “Administrative Information Sharing in Korea: Institutional Approach,” Seok-Jin Eom, Associate Professor of Public Administration, Seoul National University

3:20-4 p.m. “Digitally Mediated Institutions: Opportunities and Challenges in Cross-Agency Collaboration,” Jane E. Fountain, Distinguished University Professor and Director, National Center for Digital Government, University of Massachusetts Amherst

4-5 Discussion