What is the Public Interest Technology University Network (PITUN)?
The Public Interest Technology University Network (PITUN) includes sixty-three universities across the United States. Each approaches Public Interest Technology (PIT) in its own way. As a group, PITUN aims to build a new field of study. With help from the New America Foundation, PITUN provides grants through network challenges to support demonstration projects as well as forums and working groups seeking to shape the way that public interest technology is defined and pursued. The members also organize an annual convening and pose a range of network challenges.
Examples of current member activities include:
- The University of Massachusetts–Amherst offers a five course undergraduate certificate aimed at strengthening the social and technological literacy of the undergraduate population.
- Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society focuses on studying cyberspace and proposing policy solutions to tackle emerging cyber challenges, while its Public Interest Tech Lab aims to find ways to enhance social justice and equity considerations in technological development.
- Arizona State University has focused on developing a PIT academic program. It has created several new courses and now runs a 10-class online Master of Science in Public Interest Technology. The course content includes technology impact assessment and public engagement strategies, among other topics.
- Georgetown University has launched its campus-wide Tech & Society Initiative with funding from a number of large foundations, including Rockefeller, Ford, and MacArthur. Georgetown’s initiative brings together PIT-related programs, including labs and projects across the entire campus, tying to law, philosophy, computer science, public policy, and other fields.
For additional PIT resources developed by universities in the PITUN Network:
- Boston University: PIT landscape analysis,
- Arizona State University: Guide for Identifying and Cataloging PIT at Colleges/Universities
- Harvard University: Public Interest Technology Scan,
- New America (Foundation): Member Guide to Federal Grant Opportunities.