Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Jane E. Fountain

Political Science and Public Policy, UMass Amherst
Adjunct Distinguished Professor
(413) 545-1007


Organization theory, information technology and politics, economic sociology, public policy, political sociology, gender, and science, technology and society.


Professor Fountain is the founder and Director of the National Center for Digital Government , based at UMass Amherst, which was established with support from the National Science Foundation to build research and infrastructure for the emerging field of research on technology and governance. The National Center has sponsored research workshops, seminars, doctoral fellowships and visiting researchers from around the world in addition to its active research programs. Professor Fountain also directs the new Science, Technology and Society Initiative, a campus-wide effort at UMass Amherst. The STS Initiative serves as a catalyst for research partnerships between social, natural and physical scientists on campus and beyond. It is designed to build social science, policy and cross-disciplinary research on the range of social, political and economic challenges and research questions posed by emerging technologies. Fountain is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, principal investigator of the International Dimensions of Ethics in Science and Engineering project (IDEESE) and co-principal investigator of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE). Fountain also directs the Women in the Information Age Project , which was established with a gift from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. This project examines the participation of women in computing and information-technology related fields and, with its partner institutions, seeks to increase the number of women experts in information and communication technologies.


Professor Fountain holds a PhD from Yale University, in organizational behavior and in political science, and graduate degrees from Harvard and Yale. She has been a Radcliffe Fellow, a Yale Fellow, and a Mellon Fellow. At UMass Amherst, she is a Professor of Political Science and Public Policy; Director of the National Center for Digital Government; and the Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Initiative. Previously, she served for 16 years on the faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Activities & Awards

Among many other publications, Fountain is the author of Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), which was awarded an Outstanding Academic Title in 2002 by Choice and translated into Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese. Her articles appear scholarly journals including Governance, the National Civic Review, Technology in Society , Science and Public Policy, and The Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery. Fountain is currently a member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on the Future of Government. She is a member of American Bar Association blue ribbon commission on the Future of e-Rulemaking. She has served on several advisory bodies for organizations including the Social Science Research Council, the Internet Policy Institute, the National Science Foundation. She has given invited lectures and keynote addresses and worked with governments and research institutions including the World Bank, the European Commission, Knowledge Management Asia Pacific, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Chile, Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. For a list of Fountain's grants, honors and awards, view http://people.umass.edu/jfountai/research.htm#honors. For information on her academic appointments, professional activities, and service, view http://people.umass.edu/jfountai/affiliations.htm.