TROPICO is an international research project, dealing with the digital transformation in politics and public administrations from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. Specifically, we examine the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for new and innovative forms of collaboration in policy formulation and implementation – both within governments and between governments and external actors, such as citizens or enterprises.

The Potsdam team particularly addresses the question of how governments formulate policies in times of „digital governance“. Do established mechanisms of governmental coordination change? And if so, how? What are innovative forms of collaboration enabled by digital technologies? How do traditional and new processes of policy formulation interact? To answer these questions, we will conduct comparative case studies as well as a cross-national expert survey.

Practices of Internal Collaboration for Policy Design

How do institutional and political-administrative features influence the use of new and digitally-enabled instruments for policy-making and how do such instruments shape the actions of policy-makers inside governments? What are drivers and barriers for new forms of collaboration and how does the use of information and communication technology change mechanisms of collaboration inside and between governmental departments? Answering these questions, we will especially focus on country-differences in order to gain a better understanding of the transformation towards greater collaboration in European public administrations and to identify key success factors for the implementation of ICT in policy-making.

Practices of External Collaboration for Policy Design

What are drivers and barriers for innovative, digital participation of the civil society in the policy-making processes? Which political-administrative, institutional and cultural conditions have an influence on the success or the failure of these forms of electronic participation? What are the main reasons for the implementation of e-governance practices in politics and public administration? What are the motivations for citizens, NGOs or enterprises to participate on these platforms? This part of the project focuses on both, the efficiency of e-participation instruments, and the effect of such practices on the legitimation of policy-making.

Practice Transfer

The TROPICO project attaches great importance to the transfer of our research findings into practice. Therefore, we invite decision-makers in politics and public administration, societal actors and key stakeholders to participate in our research. Based on our research findings, we derive recommendations for the empirical practice and disseminate our key findings on a continuous basis. For more information, publications and policy briefs please visit

Project duration: June 2017 - May 2021

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 726840.