Delfina Soares has been appointed by the Rector of the United Nations University and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. David M. Malone, as Head of the Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV), effective 1 September 2017.
Delfina has been associated with the Operating Unit since 2015, when she joined as Adjunct Associate Professor. She has strong ties to UNU-EGOV’s host university, the University of Minho, where she has held various positions over the past 18 years, including Lecturer and Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Systems and as a Researcher with Centro ALGORITMI.
She holds a PhD in Information Systems and Technologies and a MSc in Informatics, both from the University of Minho. Her areas of research and expertise include electronic governance at a national, local and sectorial level, electronic government interoperability and cross-agency collaboration, electronic democracy and electronic participation, and electronic governance measurement and monitoring. She has been member of organizational, programme and scientific committees of multiple conferences, tracks and workshops in the Information Systems and Technology (IST) area and, particularly, in the e-Governance area. Delfina has also participated and supervised national and international research projects in the area of IST in governance, and delivered talks, seminars, and presentations on the theme of e-Governance to postgraduate students and to public administration practitioners.
Delfina is member of the Executive Committee of the Observatory for the Study and Development of the Information Society (GÁVEA), and board member of the Portuguese Chapter of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) and of the Executive Committee of the Portuguese Association for Information Systems (APSI). She is also member of the WG 8.5 (Working Group on Information Systems in Public Administration) of the TC 8 (Technical Committee on Information Systems) of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).
It is a great honour for me to have been appointed as Head of UNU-EGOV, and join the enthusiastic, dynamic and competent team that makes this institution. This Operating Unit, established in Guimarães since 2014, is facing challenging but interesting and promising times, at both institutional, research, and organizational levels.
At the institutional level, UNU-EGOV is developing efforts to evolve to a fully-fledged UNU Institute. To do so will allow UNU-EGOV to “dream higher” in the achievement of its mission. The negotiation process with the Portuguese government concerning this transition is one of my priorities.
At the research level, the Operating Unit has just unveiled a new core research programme, which frames our activities for 2018-2019 and comprises seven research lines focused on the analysis of how new digital challenges may affect governance transformation and how the public sector designs, governs, and monitors their digital transformation. Through the many multidisciplinary projects that will be launched within this programme, we will to contribute to the development of a body of knowledge and a set of instruments that will support practitioners, decision-makers and policy-makers of all UN Member States in their digital transformation and in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
A final note to highlight two additional priorities for the future: broadening our academic and institutional network and focusing on our communication strategy. I am counting with a dynamic team in the journey to strengthen the scientific quality of the research conducted in UNU-EGOV and the relevance of the policy-driven instruments developed, thus reinforcing the international recognition and reputation of this institution. – Delfina’s vision regarding the future of the Operating Unit.
Meanwhile, Luís Soares Barbosa, who has served as Head ad interim of the Operating Unit between October 2016 and August 2017, will now hold the position of Deputy Head.
Luís is Associate Professor with Habilitation at the Department of Informatics at the University of Minho, and senior researcher at the High Assurance Software Laboratory at Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores – Tecnologia e Ciência (HASLab INESC TEC). In recent years he has coordinated six research projects at the national level, bilateral partnerships with Brazil and China, and served as the Portuguese coordinator for the Language Engineering and Rigourous Software Development ALFA EU-Latin America network. He coordinates the PF-FLAD Chair on “Smart Cities & Smart Governance”, established at the University of Minho with private funding.
My role as Head ad interim was to make possible a smooth transition period, providing a stable and fruitful context for the development of UNU-EGOV core activities. In retrospect, I am proud to note we have now a highly motivated team, and a clear, even if heterogeneous, research programme. A lot of effort was put on broadening our project portfolio, fostering a close cooperation with the developing world, namely with Africa and the Portuguese speaking countries, and collaboration with other United Nations Agencies. Above all, with the enthusiasm and commitment of the whole team, some steps were added to consolidate UNU-EGOV at the forefront of research and innovation to ensure that the future of digital transformation in Governance and the Public Sector is progressive and inclusive, in the spirit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. – Luís’ remarks on his experience as Head of the Operating Unit.