Hosted by the School of Public Affairs, the Chair adopts a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to research and analyze the economic, legal, social and institutional transformations brought by digital innovation.
- Yann Algan, Professor of Economics, Dean of the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs
- Florence G’sell, Professor of Law at the Université de Lorraine, lecturer at the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs
The mass adoption of digital technologies brings up new political, economic, social and ethical challenges. Long-lasting public policies, such as education, health, employment, security, as well as citizens’ daily lives must be thoroughly remodeled, at the local, national and European level.
In this context, the Digital, Governance and Sovereignty Chair‘s purpose is to contribute to the research on the following issues.
- Sovereignty issues
The absence of physical frontiers within digital networks leads to a new definition of the concept of territoriality that applies to the online world. New models of governance and of State intervention are needed to face the rise in power of geographically remote stakeholders.
Are we witnessing the emergence of a new form of “Digital sovereignty”? What does this mean for traditional forms of national and governmental sovereignties? Are States able to affirm or reaffirm their sovereignty on the digital space within its legal, technical, economic, geographic and political new frontiers? What actions must them undertake?
- Regulatory issues
The development of powerful transnational platforms at the edge of disruptive technological innovations such as Artificial Intelligence and blockchain introduces unprecedented situations questioning current regulatory systems.
Are traditional legal systems in need of a thorough overhaul to face those new challenges? Is the current antitrust framework properly geared to face massive online platforms? How can States regulate new digital ecosystems in order to safeguard their technological sovereignty? On a fundamental level, does the digital era require brand new forms of regulation?
- Democratic issues
The Cambridge Analytica revealed very blatantly how digital platforms can be instrumentalized, directly or indirectly, by foreign powers to infringe on another State’s sovereignty. Yet, they can also create new social bonds and reinforce the democratic link between governments and their citizens through experimentations of direct democracy or other Civic Tech initiatives.
How can content broadcasted on social networks be kept in check? How to envision the potential, the use cases and the future of Civic Techs? How to conceive international, national or local territories now that their definitions are not just geographic or topographic but also digital? Are we at the dawn of a new form of “digital citizenship”?
The chair offers courses, workshops, case studies, etc. for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. It also contributes to educational innovation through the Public Policy Incubator.
Creating a dynamic ecosystem that generates ideas
The Chair is led by the School of Public Affairs, which hosts the secretariat of the Global Public Policy Network and the Public Policy Incubator, and involves all Sciences Po’s research departments, the Medialab and the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP).
The Chair also aims to bring startups and public authorities closer together, particularly through the Public Policy Incubator.
Research output is published and disseminated in digital format and/or compiled and published in book form. Public and private events are held for authors to present their publications.
- Research Papers: research papers are entrusted to one or more researchers considered authorities in their field.
- Policy Briefs: shorter than research papers, policy briefs present the state of the research and the contextual elements of a given issue in order to formulate proposals for public authorities or companies, starting with the Chair’s partners.
- The Chair website is regularly updated to keep partners, researchers, students, and the general public informed of the Chair’s activities.
The Chair’s annual calendar features various types of event, for both the general public and our partner companies and institutions.
- Conferences: 3 cycles organised in 2020
- “Blockchain, governance and sovereignty”
- “The technologic sovereignty in COVID-19 crisis”
- “Territories in digital era”
- Symposia and workshops: public events addressing a given technology or issue. While these events may be academic in nature, they are intended to attract the Chair’s partners and representatives of public authorities and business as well as researchers.
- The Chair’s annual conference: “Digital Technology and Sovereignty” in 2019
- Symposia and workshops, such as the “Legal Challenges of the Data Economy” symposium with the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics of the University of Chicago in March 2019.
- Contribution to the Digital Transitions research seminar: this seminar connects members of Sciences Po’s research community working on or with digital technologies and fosters reflection on the impact of digital technologies in all fields of research.
- Private events: private events are held to present the Chair’s activities to partners.
- Lectures and one-off events: other formats can be envisaged:
- Guest lectures for the presentation of a report (report on AI by Cédric Villani), a book (Radical Markets by E. Posner and G. Weyl), or a piece of legislation (PACTE law or “fake news” law).
- Hackathon or writing workshops (in 2018: group writing workshop to imagine the civil servant of the future, with Bluenove).