About the Hub
The Digital Policy Hub at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is a collaborative space for emerging scholars and innovative thinkers from the social, natural and applied sciences. It provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral and visiting fellows to share and develop research on the rapid evolution and governance of transformative technologies.
The program hosts fellows for time periods ranging from four months to two years in residence at the state-of-the-art CIGI Campus and working remotely, linking to CIGI’s existing network of more than 100 fellows from around the world. Participants join common seminars and other activities that bring together innovative perspectives on research, provide an interface between research and policy, strengthen research, analytical and policy skills, and advance career development.
The Hub is founded on transdisciplinary approaches (i.e., research that cuts across disciplines and engages fellows with policy makers and industry professionals) that seek to increase understanding of the socio-economic and technological impacts of digitalization and improve the quality and relevance of related research. Such an approach also broadens the capacity of participants to conduct work across disciplines.
Research Focus Areas and Approaches
Transformative technologies are rapidly reshaping our world. Many are widely known — although often not well understood (for example, new hyper-connected social media platforms such as TikTok, mRNA vaccines, electric vehicles, blockchain, quantum computing and artiﬁcial intelligence large language models). In parallel, the digitalization of almost everything has created a more interdependent, data-driven world.
While broad technological change is nothing new, many current developments are moving at an accelerated pace, on a global scale and with little or no coherent governance framework nationally or internationally. There is, therefore, a pressing need for transdisciplinary understanding on governance issues across the range of technologies and digitalization.
The Hub’s research focuses address this need, centring on digital ethics and rights frameworks that assist in identifying and mitigating the gaps between rapid technological disruption and diﬀusion, and the lack of governance frameworks at the national and international levels.
Core research areas include:
- data, economy and society;
- artiﬁcial intelligence;
- outer space;
- digitalization, security and democracy; and
- the environment and natural resources.
Application for the January 2024 cohort is now closed. Application information for the September 2024 cohort will be posted in spring 2024.
Thank you to Mitacs for its partnership and support of Digital Policy Hub fellows through the Accelerate program. Also, thank you to the Balsillie Family Foundation for its ongoing support. We’d like to acknowledge the many universities, governments and private sector partners for their involvement allowing CIGI to offer this holistic research environment.
Meet the current cohort of Digital Policy Hub fellows:
Naod AbrahamDigital Policy Hub Undergraduate Fellow
Naod Abraham is a third-year mathematical physics student at the University of Waterloo with an interest in computer science. His research with the Digital Policy Hub will investigate the applications of machine learning for practically important problems.
Daria BielikDigital Policy Hub Master's Fellow
Daria Bielik is a master of public policy candidate through a partnership with the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and the Kyiv School of Economics. Her research as a fellow at the Digital Policy Hub will focus on the influence of large language models on student learning outcomes and academic performance in higher education settings.
Ori FreimanDigital Policy Hub Post-doctoral Fellow
Ori Freiman is a post-doctoral fellow both at McMaster University’s Digital Society Lab and with the Digital Policy Hub at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. His research focuses on building trust in central bank digital currencies.
Andrew HeffernanDigital Policy Hub Post-doctoral Fellow
Andrew Heffernan is a part-time professor of international relations and comparative politics at the University of Ottawa where he also holds a Ph.D. in political science. He is a post-doctoral fellow at the Digital Policy Hub where his research will examine climate governance and mis- and disinformation around climate change.
Paula MartinsDigital Policy Hub Doctoral Fellow
Paula Martins is a policy advocacy lead at the Association for Progressive Communications. During her fellowship with the Digital Policy Hub, her research will delve into freedom of expression and digital rights.
Matthew da MotaDigital Policy Hub Post-doctoral Fellow
Matthew da Mota is a post-doctoral fellow at the CIGI Digital Policy Hub researching the uses and governance of AI and large language models within universities and public research institutions.
Laila MouradDigital Policy Hub Doctoral Fellow
Laila Mourad is a Digital Policy Hub doctoral fellow and a Ph.D. candidate at York University who adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the international development, political economy, and gender studies fields. Currently, she is exploring how home-based labour in the “gig” economy can inform and shape our understanding of the evolving notion of “work” in the digital economy.
Maral NiaziDigital Policy Hub Doctoral Fellow
Maral Niazi is a Digital Policy Hub doctoral fellow and a Ph.D. student at the Balsillie School of International Affairs with a multidisciplinary background in political science, human rights, law and global governance. Her research with the Digital Policy Hub will expand on her doctoral research on the global governance of AI where she will examine the societal impacts of AI on humanity.
Frederick (Fred) OkelloDigital Policy Hub Master's Fellow
Frederick (Fred) Okello is a master’s student at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and a Digital Policy Hub fellow. His research focuses on "Technology for Development" as a tool for reducing poverty, digital and energy inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ambika OpalDigital Policy Hub Interchange Fellow
Ambika Opal is an interchange fellow at the Digital Policy Hub and is currently working with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami as a consultant to coordinate the development of the National Inuit Data Strategy. Her research will focus on data governance, specifically global Indigenous approaches to data and information governance.
Harnoorvir (Harnoor) Singh JosanDigital Policy Hub Undergraduate Fellow
Harnoor Singh Josan is a computer science undergraduate student at the University of Alberta whose research at the Digital Policy Hub will centre on AI, music and copyright policy.
Mahatab UddinDigital Policy Hub Post-doctoral Fellow
Mahatab Uddin is an adjunct professor and post-doctoral researcher at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph and an expert on climate change law, intellectual property law, technology transfer and sustainable development. His research with the Digital Policy Hub as a post-doctoral fellow will focus on possible legal frameworks for AI-run climate-smart agricultural practices.