EU Science Hub

Governance, public sector innovation and social change

Governance, Public sector Innovation and Social Change (GISC) research area is focusing on investigating the socio-economic impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) that contribute to address fundamental societal challenges, such as

  • the demographic change and the new social risks, i.e. poverty, social exclusion, unfair access to social protection.
  • the 'democratic deficit' related to the crisis of legitimacy that is affecting the European and the global institutional space.

Considering the omnipresence and rapid development of digital technologies and the societal transformation driven by their adoption, the GISC research area is directly linked to JRC 2030 Strategy nexus on People and Governance in a multicultural and networked society.

Building on past and current experience, the strategic axes of this research area are the following:

1. Governance with and of ICTs - Investigating the role of ICT-enabled innovation in the public sector and the evolving approaches of institutional re-design that are affecting the multiple dimensions of governance - the structures, roles and relationships governing how society functions.


2. Innovation in Social Services - Exploring the nature and impact of ICT-enabled social innovation promoting social investment to support the modernisation of welfare systems and the improvement of the quality of social services across the EU -   what could be defined as the 'new socially embedded economy'.


3. Social Change - Studying emerging forms of 'social change' (i.e. the transformation of culture and social institutions over time) driven by ICTs that are challenging traditional governance systems, service delivery mechanisms and policy-making approaches, with a specific focus on the role played by digital technologies to engage citizens and experimenting new approaches of participatory democracy.

The changes under investigation are strongly conditioned by historical transformations in society’s underlying values and organisational models and can be analysed from several research perspectives. For this purpose the GISC research team is multidisciplinary and relies on diverse methodological and scientific approaches, including qualitative and quantitative analysis, as well as the development of an innovative dynamic simulation modelling approach based on complex systems theories (i-FRAME).

The Governance, Public Sector Innovation and Social Change research group at JRC aims to act as a hub of a network of expertise and is enabling partnership-building and the forging of alliances with leading external actors active in scientific and policy areas related to the field.