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Research to Policy Engagement

Broadband Access and Communities of Color: Using Policy, Research, and Advocacy to Close the Racial Digital Divide

March 12, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


The COVID-19 pandemic alongside the continued fight for racial and economic justice shines a light on a crisis that continues to impact the most marginalized communities across the United States – access to affordable, reliable broadband. This moment presents a unique opportunity to advocate for and implement inclusive policies that will close the digital divide in communities of color and low-income communities throughout the nation. During this event, Dr. Alisa Valentin (Special Advisor, Office of FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks) will discuss the current landscape for broadband access and affordability policies on the federal level. Additionally, she will highlight how research on the intersection of broadband access, adoption, and communities of color is a crucial tool that can help policymakers effectively close the digital divide.

Please register here and the Zoom information will be e-mailed to you.

IDSS has been discussing how we can counter systemic and structural racism and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community, locally and nationally. Similar discussions have taken place across MIT and academia more broadly. One theme that emerged from our conversations is that we believe IDSS is well positioned to conduct data and policy-driven research on structural racism and related societal issues, and provide research leadership both at MIT and beyond. We hope to advance research that will help identify and evaluate policies to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

To help educate ourselves and our colleagues and build momentum toward demonstrable change, we have decided to dedicate this semester’s Research to Policy seminar series to this effort. We will host four seminars that will examine different facets of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the intersection of research and policy. We will focus on how our multidisciplinary research can contribute to these broader conversations and how we can ensure our work meaningfully informs policy.

MIT’s Technology and Policy Program and its Research to Policy Engagement Initiative aims to to create a community of researchers who can learn, apply, and contribute to developing best practices in bridging knowledge to action on societal challenges, across experiences in different research domains.  The initiative seeks to connect researchers from diverse disciplines, policymakers and other stakeholders interested in the implementation aspects of technology by creating a discussion space for technology-policy interfaces. 

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307