Matthew Ryan is Associate Professor in Governance and Public Policy. His research on democratic innovations tries to figure out how people can have control over the decisions that affect their lives. His research crosses several disciplinary boundaries with a focus on innovative research methods. Since January 2020 he has been a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow leading the Rebooting Democracy project which aims to understand which innovations in public participation restore and sustain democracy. He is Co-Director of the Centre for Democratic Futures, bringing together academics from across the University of Southampton who have an interest in how people make collective decisions both in the UK and internationally. Since January 2021 he has been Policy Director at the Web Science Institute an established world-leading institute dedicated to bringing socio-technical expertise to explore the development of the Web. Matt has expertise in fields related to data science and artificial intelligence and in October 2021 became a Turing Fellow collaborating and advancing research with the national Alan Turing Institute.
- Social Research Methods
- Web Science
- Data Science
- Publicy Policy
My current research asks how and when citizens can, should, and will take part in collective decisions. Building on work presented in my book Why Citizen Participation Succeeds or Fails which was published in 2021 with Bristol University Press, I am interested in understanding what conditions explain successful citizen control of decisions and their implementation. This has led me to further inquire as to what methods of analysis and forms of expertise best provide answers to wicked collective problems, and how we can redesign institutions to improve our experience and understanding of politics.
I am involved in several projects that aim to develop software for citizens to contribute to government consultations; increase representation of minorities in political debates; understand the consequences of innovations like citizen’s assemblies and participatory budgeting; map arguments and debates using AI; conceptualise new types of common ownership of assets; and improve the use of Open Science practices. The majority of my work engages directly in collaboration with stakeholders from government and civil society, working with government departments and agencies in the UK and abroad, and several non-governmental organisations and networks of public participation practitioners.
- Turing Fellow (2021)