The Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School was awarded an $800,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The funds will be used to support a research group that will study the impact of computer networks on democratic institutions, both in the United States and abroad, Dean Anthony W. Crowell announced.

The project will be led by New York Law School professor Beth Simone Noveck, a former U.S. deputy chief technology officer (2009–2011) and former leader of the White House Open Government Initiative.

“Professor Noveck will explore how to redesign our systems of governance to optimize the flow of values and expertise. The goal of the planning group will be to promote effective and participatory governance by developing tech-enabled policy experiments, accelerated assessment techniques, and a new theory of decentralized, networked democracy for the digital age,” said Crowell.

The research group, which will meet five times this year, will apply principles of open networks — like the Wikipedia community — to that of governance.

“Innovations in data sharing are proliferating faster than the research community can assess them,” Noveck said. “If successful, our network will spawn a new generation of research and scholarship on technology and democracy and produce measurable innovations that make democratic government more stable, effective and participatory.”