Research Network on Opening Governance

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Convened and organized by the GovLab, the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance is made possible by a three-year grant of $5 million from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well as a gift from, which will allow the Network to tap the latest technological advances to further its work.

Combining empirical research with real-world experiments, the Research Network will study what happens when governments and institutions open themselves to diverse participation, pursue collaborative problem-solving, and seek input and expertise from a range of people. Network members include twelve experts (see below) in computer science, political science, policy informatics, social psychology and philosophy, law, and communications. This core group is complemented by an advisory network of academics, technologists, and current and former government officials. Together, they will assess existing innovations in governing and experiment with new practices and how institutions make decisions at the local, national, and international levels.

Support for the Network from will be used to build technology platforms to solve problems more openly and to run agile, real-world, empirical experiments with institutional partners such as governments and NGOs to discover what can enhance collaboration and decision-making in the public interest. 
The Network’s research will be complemented by theoretical writing and compelling storytelling designed to articulate and demonstrate clearly and concretely how governing agencies might work better than they do today.


The MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance comprises:

Chair: Beth Simone Noveck
Network Coordinator: Andrew Young
Chief of Research: Stefaan Verhulst

Faculty Members:

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/University of Southampton, UK)
  • Deborah Estrin (Cornell Tech/Weill Cornell Medical College)
  • Erik Johnston (Arizona State University)
  • Henry Farrell (George Washington University)
  • Sheena S. Iyengar (Columbia Business School/Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business)
  • Karim Lakhani (Harvard Business School)
  • Anita McGahan (University of Toronto)
  • Cosma Shalizi (Carnegie Mellon/Santa Fe Institute)

Institutional Members:

  • Christian Bason and Jesper Christiansen (MindLab, Denmark)
  • Geoff Mulgan (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts – NESTA, United Kingdom)
  • Lee Rainie (Pew Research Center)