ICMA Local Government Research Fellows are thought leaders recognized for outstanding action-oriented research approaches to deal with local governments’ most pressing issues. Our fellows are studying topics ranging from equity measures for managing urban performance to developing successful innovation training programs for local officials, adding to ICMA’s vast knowledge base of research and leading practices in local government leadership and management. Fellows leverage ICMA’s robust network of members, local government experts, and affliate organizations throughout the world. The work of the fellows informs ICMA’s publications, data, and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development activities.

Learn More: ICMA Local Government Research Fellowship

Meet the 2018-19 Research Fellows

Beth Noveck directs the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. She is a professor in Technology, Culture, and Society at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and a fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy appointed her as the state’s first chief innovation officer in 2018. Previously, Noveck served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative under President Obama. UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government.

Her research, titled Promoting Local Leaders’ Innovation, Learning, and Effective Problem-Solving, will focus on identifying and analyzing the skill gaps of local leaders in terms of using innovative methods to solve problems. To inform the creation of new training and learning programs, the goal of her research is to understand (1) where the skills gaps are in terms of using innovative new methods, such as data science, human-centered design, and open innovation to tackle public problems; (2) how people acquire and want to acquire such knowledge; and (3) where within organizations and across the country innovation skills are highest. By doing this deep dive into how people learn when tackling public health, sustainability and resiliency, equity and infrastructure planning, and new technology management, Noveck hopes to develop recommendations about how to create successful innovation training programs for local officials that respond to people’s needs.

"As rates of trust in government decline, it is essential to invest in training government professionals in the innovative 21st century skills needed to solve public problems more effectively. This is why I am so honored by the ICMA Local Government Research Fellowship and the opportunity to dig deeper into how public professionals learn today and how we might shape the curricula of tomorrow to yield more efficient and effective government." ~Beth Noveck, ICMA Research Fellow

Selected Publications

  • Beth gave the keynote address "Smart Communities and the Opportunities of Big Data" at the 2013 ICMA Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. This address was based off her report, Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing (Harvard University Press, 2015). >> View the full address
  • Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful (Brookings, 2009), also available in Arabic, Russian, Chinese.
  • The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (NYU Press, 2005) (co-editor).
  • Managing Through Uncertainty: Why Public Servants Should Embrace Data Science, (Public Sector Digest, 2018) >> Read publication
  • GovLab White Paper Series:
    • Building the Smarter State: The Role of Data Labs >> Read more
    • Data Labs Case Studies >> Read more

In the Media
Beth's Governing Magazine articles include:

Kevin Desouza is a professor of Business, Technology and Strategy in the School of Management at the QUT Business School. He is a nonresident senior fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and is a distinguished research fellow at the China Institute for Urban Governance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has held tenured faculty appointments at the University of Washington, Virginia Tech, and Arizona State University. In addition, he has held visiting appointments at several institutions, including the London School of Economics and Political Science, Università Bocconi, University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Ljubljana.

Desouza’s research, titled Digitization & Automation Impacts on Governance, Management, and Community Design, will integrate his studies of emerging technologies and the resiliency of cities. "Emerging technologies are fundamentally transforming all aspects of our cities and communities,” says Desouza. “I am excited about the opportunities that arise when we leverage technologies to advance our communities, design more resilient and sustainable organizations, and more intelligent and empathetic modes of governance.” His hope is that the research will advance strategic thinking on the future of digitization and automation of cities. Desouza concludes that “Working with ICMA will provide me the opportunity to engage with leaders across communities to develop frameworks and tools that can be used to advance the state of practice in digital transformation of cities."

Selected Publications

  • Kevin shared his prediction on smart communities for 2019 for ICMA’s Predictions on Local Government from 19 Experts. >> Read more
  • TechTank: How Technological Progress can Cause Urban Fragility: Fellow Kevin Desouza co-authored an article for the Brookings Institute related to his research around technology and local government. >> Read more
  • How Fragile Cities Get That Way, by Kevin Desouza and J. David Selby, Governing, December 2018. >> Read the article
  • Microscale Disaster and Local Resiliency, Book Chapter in Disaster Resiliency Challenge, by Kevin Desouza and Margaret Cowell. >> Read the chapter
  • Case Study: AI, Ethics and Public Policy: A simulation deploying AI systems to modernize the national healthcare system and improve quality of life outcome, by Kevin Desouza, Richard Watson, and David Bray. >> Download simulation
  • Local Government 2035: Strategic Trends and Implications of New Technologies, by Kevin Desouza et al. >> Read more
  • Big Data for Social Innovation, by Kevin Desouza and Kendra Smith, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2014 >> Read more

In the Media

Tom Carroll is the village manager of Silverton, Ohio. A seasoned local government manager with 22 years of municipal experience, Carroll served in various positions in local government in Loveland, Ohio; Savannah, Georgia; Laramie, Wyoming; and Longmont, Colorado. Carroll is most comfortable operating at the intersections of complex legal, financial, political, intergovernmental, and interpersonal challenges. He uses an interdisciplinary approach to tackling organizational and community issues. Carroll and the organizations he has managed have won numerous awards for innovation, citizen engagement, intergovernmental collaboration, and benchmarking.

America’s original suburbs face serious challenges, and Carroll hopes to provide realistic, research-based best practices to local leaders to foster revitalization though his research, titled Best Practices to Foster Revitalization in Modest First Suburbs. Carroll states, “Initially, the project will focus on approximately 20 working-class and middle-class inner-ring suburbs in the Cincinnati area.” He plans to gather case studies from similarly successful inner-ring suburbs in other parts of the Midwest, guided by the research findings and interviews with other city managers. Carroll’s final report will be a practitioner-oriented user’s guide of best practices that local government professionals can adapt and use to revitalize other modest first suburbs.


  • Tom shared his prediction on small communities for 2019 for ICMA’s Predictions on Local Government from 19 Experts. >> Read more
  • A First Suburb Revitalized: How Silverton, Ohio, Reversed Course, PM article by Tom Carroll and Chloe Coleman, published on November 30, 2018. >> Read the article

In the Media

Tom was featured on this Cincinnati Public Radio podcast, Cincinnati Edition, talking about the interest and development of first ring suburbs, those communities directly adjacent to urban areas. Silverton, Ohio, where Tom is the Village Manager, recently landed a prominent luxury apartment and office development, and a new brewery. Carroll speaks of this new development and other changes for first ring suburbs in this podcast. >> Listen here!

Collaborating to Create '20-minute' Neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati: Tom was interviewed for this article on Silverton’s efforts to make its business district walkable. Development projects include expansion of business district, aesthetic upgrades through visibility and art projects and repair of sidewalks. >> Read more

Silverton Artworks Mural 2018: As Village Manager, Tom is interviewed about the community mural project in his community. This mural, created in collaboration with the Artworks project based in Cincinnati, came to life at the corner of Montgomery and Plainfield Roads, revitalizing this community space. >> Read more

Benoy Jacob is an associate professor at UNLV’s School of Public Policy and Leadership, where he also serves as the interim director of the MGM Public Policy Institute. Jacob also serves on the executive committee for the American Society for Public Administration's Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management and sits on the editorial boards for the Urban Affairs Review and the State and Local Government Review. Before joining UNLV in the fall 2016, Jacob served as an assistant professor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he was also the director of the Local Government Center at the University of Colorado, and their Certified Public Management Program. Prior to that, Jacob was an assistant professor at the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University.

Jacob’s research, titled Governing for Social Equity: Implementing Equity Measures for Local Government Performance Management Programs, examines the use of social equity measures in local government programming. While often viewed as a national issue, the problem of social and economic inequality manifests itself most clearly at the local level. As a result, many local governments have made social equity a central objective in their policies and programs and are adopting social equity measures in their performance management programs. As a somewhat new effort by local governments, scholars have spent some time examining the development of these measures, but much less on their use. By focusing on how and where social equity measures are employed, the study will offer perhaps the clearest pictures to date of ‘what works’ in social equity performance management. In conjunction with the extant literature, Jacob hopes the study will provide a detailed description of how to implement a social equity performance management program from start (conceptualization) to finish (planning and programmatic decision making).

According to Jacob, “As a scholar of city politics and policy, I am extremely excited and honored to be named an ICMA fellow! Despite the increasing importance of cities for the creation of innovative public policies and programs, there are few (if any) programs that offer this level of support. The opportunity to engage with ICMA members in the development and dissemination of the research is an invaluable opportunity for connecting academic work to the real world in a meaningful way.”

Selected Publications

  • Benoy shared his prediction on performance management for 2019 for ICMA’s Predictions on Local Government from 19 Experts. >> Read more
  • Border Effects in Suburban Land Use, by Benoy Jacob & Daniel McMillen, National Tax Journal, 2015. >> Read article
  • Big Data in the Public Sector: Lessons for Practitioners and Scholars, by Desouza, K. C., & Jacob, B., Administration & Society, 2017. >> Read article
  • Beating the Clock: Strategic Management under the Threat of Direct Democracy by Ely, T. L. and Jacob, B., Public Admin Rev, 2013. >> Read article
  • Tax Competition Among Municipal Governments: Exit Versus Voice, by Hendrick, R., Yonghong Wu, & Jacob, B., Urban Affairs Review, 2007. >> Read article
  • Re‐thinking local autonomy: Perceptions from Four Rural Municipalities, by Benoy Jacob et al, The Institute of Public Administration in Canada, 2008 >> Read article


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