The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Jane E. Fountain

Jane Fountain photo

Professional Title: 

Distinguished University Professor
Director, School of Public Policy


Thompson 606



Ph.D., Yale University


Jane E. Fountain is Director of the School of Public Policy, Distinguished University Professor in the School of Public Policy and the Department of Political Science, and Adjunct Distinguished Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She directed the National Center for Digital Government, a university research center supported by the National Science Fountain, from 2002 to 2022. Fountain was selected to the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government and one of the 14 Most Influential Academics in Digital Government in 2018 and 2019 by apolitical. She was named a Federal 100 awardee in 2013. Fountain is an elected Fellow (2012) and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Public Administration; a former Chair, Vice Chair and invited member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on the Future of Government; was a member of the American Bar Association Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of eRulemaking; and was an appointed member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor's Council on Innovation. Fountain was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor's Medal, the highest honor bestowed to faculty on the campus, and the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity.

Professor Fountain's publications have appeared in several journals including Public Administration Review, Behavioral Science & Policy, Governance, Communications of the ACM, Government Information Quarterly, Science & Public Policy, and Technology in Society. Among other publications, she is the author of 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, Portuguese, Japanese and Spanish. Other publications include "The moon, the ghetto and artificial intelligence: Reducing systemic racism in computational algorithms" (Government Information Quarterly, 2022); Building an Enterprise Government: Creating an ecosystem for cross-agency collaboration (Partnership for Public Service and IBM Center for Business of Government, 2016); Cross-agency Collaboration: A Guide for Managers (IBM Center for Business and Government, 2013) and  The Future of Government, The Future of Government: Fast and Curious, The Future of Government Smart Toolbox, and Government with the People (World Economic Forum). Fountain has delivered keynote addresses and invited lectures in 23 countries. Before joining the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst she served for 16 years on the faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A former Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Yale University and Mellon Foundation Fellow, she holds master's degrees from Harvard and Yale Universities and a PhD from Yale University. 

Fountain's current research is focused on institutions and digitalization, specifically on cross-boundary and emergent institutional arrangements. She has worked with and coauthored with graduate students, and others, in the areas of institutional development and governance related to technological change in information and communications.


Area of Study: 

  • American politics
  • Comparative politics
  • Public policy and organizations

Curriculum Vitae: 

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  • Institutional analysis; digital government; organization theory


  • Political Science