About the Lab


The Internet Governance Lab is a center at American University in Washington D.C. for evidence-based research, policy formulation, and teaching in Internet architecture and governance. Internet policy debates rank among the most important public policy areas of the 21st century, shaping civil liberties, human rights, access and inclusion, and economic development across the globe. American University is globally known for housing some of the world’s leading scholars whose work has helped theorize and shape the scholarly field of Internet governance over the past decades. The mission of the Internet Governance Lab is to study the implications of Internet governance approaches for society and the global economy, to advance the marketplace of ideas with original research, to inform policymakers and the public, and to train the next generation of thought leaders in this area.


The Internet Governance Lab was launched as an interdisciplinary cooperation between American University’s School of Communication and School of International Service.  Co-Directors, Dr. Derrick CogburnDr. Laura DeNardis and Dr. Nanette Levinson, all globally-recognized experts in this field, and their doctoral students, draw from disciplines as diverse as engineering, law, international affairs, and communication to conduct research on how the design and administration of Internet technologies shape public policy across the globe.

Specific objectives include the following:

  1. Provide Thought Leadership in Internet governance that sets the global agenda for tangibly addressing the most pressing Internet policy questions of the modern era.
  1. Produce Original, Evidence-Based Research on Internet architecture and governance that is policy-engaged, globally focused, and accessible.
  1. Translate Technologically Complex Policy Issues for the policy makers, the press and the general public by serving as an intellectual bridge and media liaison for the press and explaining the public interest implications of contemporary Internet governance debates.
  1. Develop New Methodological Tools and Datasets for analyzing and contributing to innovative Internet governance approaches.
  1. Train the Next Generation of Internet Governance Leaders who will enter the policy world, private industry, think tanks, and higher education with unparalleled expertise and knowledge in Internet policy.
  1. Directly Influence Internet Policymaking practices of transnational corporations, new global institutions, and traditional governance structures.
  1. Break Silos between Stakeholders by actively engaging in and building a network of experts and diverse stakeholders in Internet governance.
  1. Convene Washington, DC Events that Address Pressing Problems by bringing together leaders from industry, academia, think tanks, and government.
  1. Engage in Curriculum Innovation that helps theorize the field of Internet governance, creates globally reproducible modules, and advances innovative methodological approaches that account for both technological complexity and the public interest.