Empowering Decision-Making through Research: Knight Foundation and Georgetown University Commit $30 Million
Washington, D.C. – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Georgetown University announced today the launch of a new institute to serve as a central hub for the growing network of scholarship that seeks to shape how technology is used to produce, disseminate and access information. Designed to be a resource for decision makers in both the public and private sectors, journalists and others working to distill and communicate these complex issues, the new Knight–Georgetown Institute (KGI) will also serve as a neutral convener in the heart of Washington, D.C.
Knight Foundation and Georgetown University are committing a total of $30 million to launch and sustain KGI, which will join Georgetown’s Tech & Society Initiative, a cross-campus network of centers and institutes engaged in interdisciplinary collaboration, research and action at the intersection of technology, ethics and governance. Situated at 500 First Street, NW, just blocks from the Capitol, KGI will be well positioned to inform policy making.
For Georgetown, this commitment adds a new resource to its mission of tackling important complex societal problems to serve the common good. This Institute is a natural complement to previous investments, helping to apply academic insight to real-world challenges.
“The two institutions seek to translate research findings to inform practical decision making on information technology,” said Georgetown provost Robert M. Groves. “The need to understand the ways networked technologies impact our information production systems and our democracy is vital to our shared futures.”
For Knight, this is the latest in a growing Media and Democracy portfolio of aligned investments. Since 2019, Knight has committed more than $94 million to support leading researchers, technologists, and policy experts who are shaping our collective understanding of the societal challenges and opportunities that accompany new information technologies. This has led to the establishment of new academic centers of excellence and catalytic support for the growing body of scholarship produced by the Knight Research Network (KRN), which now comprises more than 800 researchers in more than 60 institutions.
In recent years, KRN affiliates have established themselves as go-to experts on online information integrity, digital speech, and the range of technological, legal and policy approaches to promote a more effective, informed democracy in the digital age. The new Institute will elevate and distill the most salient, actionable insights from the academic field and make them accessible to policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists and civil society.
“The need for tech-smart, timely policy decisions on citizen information in our democracy is urgent,” stated Knight President Alberto Ibargüen. “Through this institute, we aim to bolster scholarly research and dialogue with leaders, paving the way for policies that foster a more informed citizenry capable of discerning its own interests and common good.”
Georgetown’s Tech & Society Initiative includes the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation, the Center for Digital Ethics, the Center on Privacy & Technology, the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, the Ethics Lab, the Institute for Technology Law & Policy, and the Massive Data Institute. A search for the Institute’s executive director is underway. Interested candidates may send inquiries to [email protected].
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
As social investors, the Knight Foundation supports democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. Learn more at kf.org and follow @knightfdn on social media.
Media Contact: Rebecca Dinar, Director/Communications, Knight Foundation, [email protected] or 305-908-2646.