Endowment supports e-gov research

IBM Endowment for Business of Government

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Through research grants, IBM Corp.'s Endowment for the Business of Government aims to increase the understanding of government management issues and the overall effectiveness of government.

Since 1998, the endowment has granted awards to 30 academic and nonprofit organizations each year for research projects focusing on government issues. This year, grants were awarded for research of e-government and performance management.

"It grew out of our concern that there was a limited amount of forward thinking on [management] issues," endowment partner and co-chairman Paul Lawrence said. "We're trying to build a body of knowledge around how to improve government effectiveness."

The theme of the chosen research projects rises from the President's Management Agenda and from IBM and government workers in the field, Lawrence said.

Grant announcements are sent out in the summer, and the applications begin rolling in from November to the following April for two rounds of grants. A panel of academics, information technology practitioners and IBM executives reviews the applications, looking not only at "the quality of the research agenda, but also their ability to link it to practical applications," Lawrence said.

In each round, about 15 scholars are awarded $15,000 each, but Lawrence said the endowment is more than the money for research. The endowment also supports radio broadcasts, publications and lecture series.

"It's events where we engage the community around the research," Lawrence said. "It's a whole series of the communication of ideas and the issues around government management."

The endowment is a significant part of the company, Lawrence said, since IBM works closely with government IT and is concerned with broadening government knowledge. "IBM is a natural home for this, given their focus on learning and research," Lawrence said.

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