Jane E. Fountain is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the founder and director of the National Center for Digital Government, established in 2002 with support from the National Science Foundation, and directs the Science, Technology and Society Initiative, an inter-disciplinary forum for research, teaching and engagement related to emerging technologies.
Fountain works in the areas of institutional perspectives on information technology and governance, innovation in public organizations and cross-agency collaboration, science, technology and society, and women in computing. She is the author or editor of works including The Future of Government: Lessons Learned from around the World (co-authored with the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government, World Economic Forum, 2011); Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), which was awarded an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice and has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish; Digital Government: Advancing a Social Science Research Agenda (NCDG, 2002); and Proposition 2 ˝: Its Impact on Massachusetts (co-edited with L. E. Susskind, OGH, 1983). Her articles have been published in scholarly journals including Governance, Technology in Society, Science and Public Policy, the National Civic Review, and the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery.
Fountain received her Ph.D. from Yale University, in Organizational Behavior and in Political Science, in 1990, and masters degrees from Harvard and Yale Universities. She has been a Yale Fellow, a Mellon Fellow, and Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She served on the faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for 16 years. She is an inaugural Fellow of the Information Technology and Politics section of the American Political Science Association and an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She has received the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity and the Chancellor’s Medal, the university’s highest award.
In addition to her role leading NCDG, Fountain has been the Principal Investigator or co-PI of several National Science Foundation sponsored collaborative projects focused on ethics in science and engineering; women and under-represented minorities in computing; and, as a senior researcher, societal implications of nanotechnology.
Professor Fountain has been the Chair and Vice Chair and is currently a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government. In 2014 she received the “Federal 100 award” from Government Computer Weekly for leadership and innovation in federal government IT, one of only two academics so named. She is an appointed member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council on Innovation, served on the American Bar Association Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of e-Rulemaking and has served on several national and international advisory bodies including work with the Social Science Research Council, the Internet Policy Institute, the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, and the European Commission. She has given keynote addresses and invited lectures in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK, France, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia, Colombia, Nicaragua, Chile, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.