ECePS ERA Chair of e-governance and digital public services focuses on research on digital transformation of the public sector, by looking into why and how digital transformation works in practice, and how different digital solutions can be employed across fields. The ERA (European Research Area) Chair is funded by European Commission with a goal to support University of Tartu in strengthening our existing research team in e-governance. The ECePS research team is led by Professor Vincent Homburg.

Our research focuses on three distinct directions:
Life-event based and pro-active digital public services. Our team develops predictive services based on proxy data sources (e.g. logs of e-public services) that enable identification of life-events that could proactively trigger public services without user action.

Cross-border e-governance and service impact assessment. We help to develop, pilot and assess the impact of cross-border digital services. We also study implementation of the EU Single Digital Gateway Regulation (SDGR).

Internet voting and open government co-creation. Improving the use of digital tools to bring government closer to citizens, such as through e-voting systems, and to build trust in e-services.

Inauguration lecture of Prof Vincent Homburg on Politics of e-Governance took place on April 6 at 16.15 EEST (CEST +1) in person and online. 

Read more here: News about the inauguration lecture. 


ECePS ERA Chair is part of Center of IT Impact Studies (CITIS). Founded in 2015, CITIS is an integrated teaching and research center at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu. The center uses big data generated by various Estonian public e-services (such as internet voting, mobile parking, e-health, digital ID, e-residency, etc) to estimate the economic, political and social impact of those services and to design new services and e-governance solutions. CITIS is one of the few research groups in Estonia focusing on quantitative assessment and modelling of the impact of public e-services. Through the creation of new courses and various teaching activities, CITIS researchers contribute to the development of a new generation of analysts and scientists, dedicated to understanding and improving the way that public e-services impact the daily functioning of the state. Lessons learned from Estonia are in turn helpful in promoting and developing public e-services internationally. In addition to research and teaching activities, CITIS team aims to contribute to the development of the e-state directly by creating and testing prototypes for new e-services, based on cross-usage of existing data.

E-governance research in Estonia a uniquely conducive environment

The ERA Chair in e-Governance and Digital Public Services is based at the University of Tartu, the leading institution of higher education in Estonia. Estonia has been at the forefront of the digital transformation of the public sector for most of this century. According to the Digital Economy and Society Index 2021, Estonia ranks first in Europe in the provision of digital public services. Estonia has a uniquely developed infrastructure for e-government, including ID cards that provides a secure digital ID for digital authentication and digital signatures, as well as the X-road, a secure distributed state information system which enables cross-usage of registry data. As of January 2022, the X-road was used by over 52 000 public and private organizations, and the number of services that could be used via the system was 3111, generating nearly 1.5 billion service usage queries annually (in a country with 1.3 million people). Over the years, a total of 1.4 billion digital signatures have been given. The country has been a champion in remote internet voting since 2005 – nearly a half of all votes cast in the most recent national and local elections were electronic votes. In 2014, Estonia became the first country in the world to launch e-residency, a program that provides non-residents access to the Estonian digital infrastructure and allows them to start and manage EU-based companies online. The total number of e-residents exceeds 85 000. This enables our team’s high level research to contribute to the digital development of the public and private sector in Estonia and beyond.

ECePS ERA Chair has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857622.  Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.