Launched in 1998, the Digital Government Program was an initiative of the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate. It was a program that supports research at the intersection of the IT research community and the operational needs of the government. It aims to help agencies improve internal, interagency, and intergovernmental operations and government-citizen interactions.
The program supported joint research programs between academic researchers and government agencies and requires that at least one government agency be a partner. It encompasses work at the federal, state, local, and international levels. Partner agencies are expected to contribute resources to the collaborative efforts, with the expectation that the program's funding will increasingly leverage additional resources from participating agencies.
"The . . . program, however, represents an important first step in having researchers collaborate directly with potential end users. This kind of direct engagement enables researchers to understand requirements better, validate concepts earlier, and accelerate transition into practice. It also enables potential users to anticipate — and influence — emerging technologies. But regardless of whether an end user is present or not, transition issues must be explicitly addressed, and obtaining an impact in practice requires careful and flexible management by many parties. The teaming structure of the NSF Digital Government program can accelerate this process, but it does not replace it. The right combination of careful management and favorable and even fortuitous circumstances may be needed in the operating environment of the recipient organization and in the markets for particular underlying technologies."