Four Global E-Government Collaborations

Four international working groups have been created to flesh out the cutting edge of where Electronic Government is he aded globally: (1) Online Consultation and Public Policy Making, (2) An Open Platform for Urban Simulation, (3) A Comparative and Transnational Research Agenda in North America, and (4) Digital Governance and Hotspot Geoinformatics for Monitoring, Ea rly Warning, and Management.

How can these international resesarch efforts contribute to the next e-government agenda?

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Over the past decade, growing evidence demonstrates the emergence of a global field of research at the intersection of government, society, and information and communication technologies.  In the US, the Natio nal Science Foundation’s (NSF) Digital Government (DG) Research Program provided leadership and support for this re latively new domain of research.  In Europe, the European Commission, as part of its Information Society Technologies (I ST) program, has also sponsored an ambitious e-government research program. At the same time, the UN and World Bank and gover nment research councils in other parts of the world sponsor established or emerging digital government research. 

Under a grant from NSF for “Building and Sus taining an International Digital Government Research Community,” the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany recently selected four international e-government working groups th at will collaborate over several years to craft and carry out joint research agendas around comparative and transnational res earch questions.  All four should be of interest to the next US Administration, both as individually important topics an d as examples of international cooperation: 

Online Consultation and Public P olicy Making. This group will evaluate the policy and other social impacts of online citizen consultation initiatives aim ed at influencing actual government decision-making, and will examine how the design of these types of initiatives is affecte d by cultural, social, legal, and institutional contexts. The research will look at the impact of online consultations on gov ernment agencies, policy makers, public participants, and civil society organizations.  One goal is a jointly authored b ook to help government and nongovernmental organizations identify, measure and design successful e-consultations. Co-chairs: Peter Shane, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University, and Stephen Coleman, University of Leeds, UK.

An Open Platform for Urban Simulation. The goal of this program is to assist governments in making more informed evaluations of alternative land use and transportat ion policies, which play a critical role in determining the economic vitality, livability, and sustainability of urban areas. The researchers will develop an Open Source software modeling platform and set of interacting modeling components that are r ealistic and credible tools for evaluating a range of policies that governments in Europe and North America need in order to better address the complex problems of transportation, urban development, and environmental quality. Co-chairs: Paul Waddell, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, and Michel Bierlaire, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de La usanne, Switzerland.

A Comparative and Transnational Researc h Agenda in North America. This project seeks to better understand the role of technology in the ability of indi vidual nations to respond to public problems and in the ability of nations to work together in response to transnational prob lems. The focus on Canada, Mexico, and the United States will allow the researchers to look at topics that are germane to Nor th America as a whole. They will explore, compare, and test new models of cooperation and collaboration for working across ge ographic and political boundaries, presidential and parliamentary systems, and both advanced and developing economies. Co-cha irs: Theresa Pardo, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, and Luis F. Luna-Reyes, Universidad de las Ame ricas, Mexico.

Digital Governance and Hotspot Geoinformatics for Monitoring, Etiology, Early Warning, and Management. This project will focus on developing a prototype geoinfor matic hotspot survellience system that relies on advanced statistical techniques for detecting hotspots of critical importanc e to governments around the world in such areas as public health, watershed management, persistent poverty, and networked inf rastructure security. By developing a prototype system based on live case studies in both the developed and developing worlds , this group seeks to help governments acquire and assess the information they need to identify emerging problems and develop policies and make decisions involving international impacts and resource allocations. Co-chairs: G.P. Patil, Department of S tatistics, Penn State University, and collaborators in India, Indonesia, Italy, and China.

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