Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi Digital Government Research Center Will Share $1 Million NSF Grant

Collaboration with U at Albany Will Reach Out to Parallel Efforts Abroad

November 14, 2005 —

DGRC Assistant Director Valerie Gregg: "The time is ripe."
The Digital Government Research Center (DGRC), headquartered in USC’s Information Sciences Institute, will partner on a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation aimed at encouraging international collaboration on digital government issues.

The project will be carried out under the leadership of University at Albany’s Center for Technology in Government (CTG) “We are excited to partner with CTG in this challenging endeavor. The time is ripe to prepare a solid foundation for the next generation of global DG researchers and the DGRC is committed to making this vision a reality,” said Valerie Gregg, DGRC Assistant Director for Development, who co-wrote the grant application and is co-principle investigator on the project.

The DGRC and CTG will work over a span of four years to create opportunities and venues for international research discussions and collaboration.

The project will begin with a six-month reconnaissance study to identify and summarize the state of international digital government research, leading to creation of three topical working groups. Each group will produce a white paper discussing research challenges, recommend strategies for undertaking this research, and the accomplishments within its sub-domain; the creation of an international summer institute on digital government research; and the support of U.S. participation in international digital government research conferences.

“Most funded research around the world addresses digital government challenges within the context of a single country; only a few investigations have compared results across national boundaries or tackled problems that are transnational in scope,” said CTG Director Sharon S. Dawes. “The most damaging result of this situation is that comparative and transnational issues in digital government, which are of growing importance in an increasingly networked world, are not receiving the attention they deserve.”

"Here at DGRC, we have had encouraging success in identifying ways for governments to become more efficient and more responsive to citizens through the use of information technology." said DGRC director Yigal Arens.

"Bigger isn't always better, but for picking new, productive research directions, it is: I know that broadening the circle of participants sharing their experience will be good for our existing community, and good for those that join us."

The results of this project will enable the United States to extend its skills by systematically studying, understanding, organizing, and facilitating a global research community in the digital government domain, the partners hope. The DGRC expects that the connections and collaborative efforts developed between the United States and international research institutions will ultimately result in major research advances both in the fields of technology and policy. These international collaborative efforts in digital government research will not only enhance government responsiveness, communications, and international relations, but also new lines of intellectual inquiry, and sustainable support for future international digital government research relationships and projects, Arens believes.

The Digital Government Research Center (DGRC), http://www.dgrc.org/ is a joint research center of the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University, http://www.cs.columbia.edu . Current DGRC research focuses on dealing with large dispersed collections of government data. Government agencies at all levels collect vast amounts of numerical and textual data. Processing and integrating information across different sources can be extremely difficult. DGRC is developing new methods and approaches that will ultimately make government data more accessible and useful to policy makers, statisticians, sociologists, teachers, students, and the public at large.