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Who are we?

In a context of ever-accelerating digital innovation, the mission of this chair is to create a unique forum to bring together tech companies, researchers, policymakers, civil society stakeholders, public policy incubators as well as digital regulation experts.

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.

Chair Holders

  • 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

Research Priorities

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 levels.

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 they 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 broadcast 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”?

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.