Ragnar Nurkse innovatsiooni ja valitsemise instituut

Welcome to Digital Governance Lab

Digital Governance Lab is an open-ended platform and initiative by the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance to develop public governance models and frameworks for the Digital Age.

In the Digital Age, public sector innovation is not merely digitalization of specific public sector functions or services. It is about critical analysis of basic foundations and processes of governance to find a sustainable balance between public sector stability and agility.

There is no better place than Estonia – one the most digitally open-minded countries in the world – to research these issues.

We focus on developing dynamic capacities for co-creation and collaborative forms of governance in the Digital Age

We shift the focus from mere user-centricity of services towards citizen-centricity of the digital governance system

Next to efficiency and user-centricity, we focus on trust and citizen satisfaction as the key values of digital governance

Ragnar Nurkse

Research and Innovation Actions of the Lab

Our Basic Research themes


Challenges to state modernization in the 21st century: we map and analyze the main global trends in economics, governance and technology that will influence the evolution of modern governance systems

Innovation capacities in the public sector: mapping and analysis of organisational designs and managerial capacities that create and sustain such capacities

The usability and cost-effectiveness of the e-government services, such as e-voting, open-data and public sector co-creation and citizen engagements initiatives

Our Innovation projects


The Once Only Principle Project: we pilot and analyse the feasibility of applying one of the main ‘soft’ innovations of the Estonian e-government – the principle of requesting data once only – across EU member states and their borders

Open Government Intelligence: we create and pilot applications that allow citizens to use open data to participate in the co-creation of public policies and services

SOHJOA Baltic: together with the city of Tallinn, we are integrating a self-driving bus to the public transport system of Tallinn and analyse the possibilities of how this technology can facilitate the creation of new public services and value

Our teaching programs

Public Sector Innovation and e-Governance (MSc)

Together with the leading European universities (KU Leuven and University of Münster), we train public sector innovation and e-governance experts with unique interdisciplinary and international experiences. Read more.

Technology Governance and Digital Transformation (MA)

A globally unique MA program that combines research streams of economic development, innovation and governance to train experts who understand current and future techno-economic development trends. Read more.

PhD program in Public Administration and Innovation Studies (PhD)

The program allows people to start their academic career and become top-level experts in scientific research and analysis. The PhD students  can collaborate with the top scholars of the Lab on the ongoing Research and Innovation projects. Read more.

University staff

Robert Krimmer

Head of the Digital Governance Lab Professor of e-Governance at Ragnar Nurkse Department ETIS CV

Wolfgang Drechsler

Professor of Governance at the Ragnar Nurkse Department Associate at Davis Centre, Harvard University ETIS CV

Erkki Karo

Director, Senior Research Fellow at the Ragnar Nurkse Department ETIS CV

Veiko Lember

Senior Research Fellow at the Ragnar Nurkse Department Visiting Fellow at the Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven ETIS CV

Maarja Toots

Phd Student, Junior Research Fellow ETIS CV

David Duenas-Cid

Researcher – Internet Voting ETIS CV

Iuliia Krivonosova

PhD student, Junior Research Fellow ETIS CV

Aleksandrs Cepilovs

Project Manager – TOOP ETIS CV

Ralf-Martin Soe

Research Fellow and Smart City Lead ETIS CV

Gerli Aavik

PhD student Expert of human-centered design at the Ministry of Social Affairs. ETIS CV

Carsten Schmidt

Sustainability Manager and Project Expert for e-Government and e-Justice.