PhD Series on Public Sector Digital Transformation

PhD Seminar Series on Public Sector Digital Transformation


View some outputs from this seminar series here>>

The Hertie School’s Centre for Digital Governance and Bocconi University’s Department of Social and Political Sciences would like to cordially invite you to their first joint PhD seminar series within the CIVICA alliance.

Relevance: Digital transformation has become an important domain both for practitioners and scholars in response to an important criticism of governments: their inability to produce high quality public services, or develop efficient ways of achieving desired social outcomes. Unlike the private sector, where innovation is at the base of the competitive advantage of firms and represents a necessary condition for longer-term sustainability, governments do not face the same pressure to innovate. Still they have to meet demands for improved performance and societal impacts.

Objective: The purpose of this seminar series is to share evidence from current research and to facilitate the creation of a network of scholars and PhD researchers that are interested in investigating and publishing research related to public sector digital transformation.

Format: The series consists of six virtual lunchtime sessions. In each session a renowned senior researcher will first present their current work on the topic, followed by a short Q&A. Afterwards, the participants will discuss a related published paper. Each session will end with an open discussion. We encourage at least two students to volunteer as discussion leaders for each session. The lead discussants are asked to prepare a short oral review of the paper and questions to stimulate the discussion.

Session 1: Shaping Digital Europe 2040 – Artificial Intelligence & Public Sector Innovation in a Data-Driven Society
Date: October 27, 12 – 2 pm (UTC+1)
Speaker: Gianluca Misuraca, Former Senior Scientist on Digital Governance and Social Innovation at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre
Discussion Paper: Kuziemski, M. & Misuraca, G., (2020). AI Governance in the Public Sector: Three Tales from the Frontiers of Automated Decision-making in Democratic Settings, Telecommunications Policy, Vol. 44, Issue 6, July 2020,

Session 2: The Legitimacy of Algorithmic Governance
Date: November 17, 12 – 2 pm (UTC+1)
Speaker: Albert Meijer, Professor of Public Innovation at Utrecht University and Editor-in-Chief of Information Polity
Discussion Paper: Meijer, A. & Grimmelikhuijsen, SA. (forthcoming). Responsible and Accountable Algorithmization: How to Generate Citizen Trust in Governmental Usage of Algorithms. In: R. Peeters & M. Schuilenburg (eds.), The Algorithmic Society. London: Routledge.
Please register at least 24h in advance of the session (link to register>>)

Session 3: E-Government in the US
Date: November 24, 3 – 5 pm (UTC+1)
Speaker: Mary Feeney, Professor and Lincoln Professor of Ethics in Public Affairs at Arizona State University and the Editor of the Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory
Discussion Paper: Fusi, F., & Feeney, M. K. (2018). Social media in the workplace: Information exchange, productivity, or waste? The American Review of Public Administration, 48(5), 395-412
Please register at least 24h in advance of the session (link to register>>)

Session 4: Trustworthy Digital Government
Date: November 26, 12 – 2 pm (UTC+1)
Speaker: Marijn Janssen, Head of the Information and Communication Technology at Delft University of Technology and Editor of Government Information Quarterly
Discussion Paper: Janssen, M., Brous, P., Estevez, E., Barbosa, L. S., & Janowski, T. (2020). Data governance: Organizing data for trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. Government Information Quarterly, 37(3), 101493.
Please register at least 24h in advance of the session (link to register>>)

Session 5: Ethics in Digital Public Services
Date: December 3, 12 – 2 pm (UTC+1)
Speaker: Elsa Estevez, Independent Researcher at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) in Argentina and Associate Editor of Government Information Quarterly
Discussion Paper: Alarabiat, A., Soares, D., & Estevez, E. (2020). Determinants of citizens' intention to engage in government-led electronic participation initiatives through Facebook. Government Information Quarterly, 101537,
Please register at least 24h in advance of the session (link to register>>)

Session 6: Data Intensive, Digital Governance in Times of Crisis: Reconsidering Resilience with Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
Date: December 14, 12 – 2 pm (UTC+1)
Speaker: Helen Margetts, Professor of Society and the Internet & Director of the Oxford Internet Institute
Discussion Paper: Margetts, Helen & Dorobantu, Cosmina. (2019). Rethink government with AI. Nature. 568. 163-165. Link:
Please register at least 24h in advance of the session (link to register>>



Please register for the seminar by filling out this form:

To receive the link to attend the online event, please register at least 24 hours before the session you wish to attend. You only need to register once for the entire seminar series. Students who attend at least four of the five sessions will obtain a certificate.


This seminar series is organised in the framework of CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences. CIVICA brings together eight leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences to mobilise and share knowledge as a public good and to facilitate civic responsibility in Europe and beyond. CIVICA was selected by the European Commission as one of the pilot European Universities.

The project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

If you have any further inquiries about the seminar series, please feel free to contact the organisers:

Looking forward to seeing you there,
Greta Nasi, Bocconi University, Department of Social and Political Sciences
Gerhard Hammerschmid, Hertie School, Centre for Digital Governance