Information and Communication Technologies have an unprecedented potential to improve the responsiveness of governments to the needs of citizens and have long been recognized as a key strategic tool to enable reforms in the public sector. During the last years, this potential of ICT has started to be dealt with in a multi-disciplinary way, giving birth to new research communities dealing with governance and policy modelling, modelling and simulation of complex systems, public administration information systems, open governance and social media. However, this potential is to this day non-systematically exploited, as there are significant barriers that hinder the effective exploration, management and distribution of the vast amounts of available public sector data towards the research communities.
The main goal of ENGAGE project is the deployment and use of an advanced service infrastructure, incorporating distributed and diverse public sector information resources as well as data curation, semantic annotation and visualisation tools, capable of supporting scientific collaboration and governance‐related research from multi‐disciplinary scientific communities, while also empowering the deployment of open governmental data towards citizens.
The ENGAGE e‐infrastructure is envisaged to promote a highly synergetic approach to governance research, by providing the ground for experimentation to actors from both ICT and non‐ICT related disciplines and scientific communities, as well as by ensuring that the scientific outcomes are made accessible to the citizens, so that they can monitor public service delivery and influence the decision making process.
The key objectives of ENGAGE are:
Create an open service platform
Create an open service platform, integrating large amounts of public sector data, processing tools and resources, in support of the research communities dealing with governance and policy modelling, complex systems simulation, public administration transformation, government 2.0, information and communication technologies, future internet and social sciences.
Engage citizens into the public service delivery decision making process, by providing accurate information on the operation, cost and overall value of public services, through user‐friendly visualisation tools, thus being in the forefront of emerging Open Data initiatives in Europe and the world.
Explore synergies with current e‐Infrastructure projects and e‐Infrastructure service providers so as to leverage on existing grid and cloud services for curating, storing, processing and exploiting large amounts of public sector information.
Contribute to the evolving standardisation
Contribute to the evolving standardisation for open and linked governmental data, consolidating various approaches for harmonisation, annotation, pre‐processing, anonymisation, interoperability and provision of data, from public sector administrations at national, regional or local levels, towards scientists and citizens.
Empower and engage researchers
Empower and engage researchers and actors from non‐ICT related disciplines, such as political science, economics, law, sociology, statistics, etc. in experimental research relating to solving complex problems of high importance for the society. ENGAGE will enable researchers from a variety of research fields like social simulation , governance and policy modelling, environmental studies, etc , to do experimental research using its infrastructure.
By reaching the above objectives, ENGAGE will provide enhanced services in the data e-Infrastructure layer while on the other hand building a community that can exploit the e‐Infrastructure services.
The envisaged impact of ENGAGE is to contribute towards removing the constraints of access and usability as well as the barriers between disciplines, to enable more effective scientific collaboration and adoption of a truly multi‐disciplinary approach to public administration and governance related research.
Furthermore, ENGAGE will enable the active reuse of public data towards the generation of more reliable scientific results through simulation and experimentation on large data sets, while also will support the creation of new or the exploitation of existing solutions, as well as the dissemination of best practices in the broader public administration research domain. The ENGAGE project, having a wide user base apart from the research community (industry, business, policy makers, citizens, educators) will have an impact on innovation, competitiveness, transparency and governance.