Campus & Community

Harvard elevates study of technology and society

3 min read

Berkman Center for Internet & Society becomes University-wide research center

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, originally established as a research center at Harvard Law School, has been elevated to a University-wide, interfaculty initiative: the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. This transition enhances the University’s capacity for interdisciplinary exploration of issues involving information technology.

“The Berkman Center’s focus on advancing the public interest at the intersections of law and technology, civic engagement, and international development, has already created a community of scholars from across the University,” said Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman. “The elevation to a University-wide initiative is a natural evolution and we are eager to create new networks of interaction on a University-wide basis with the intent of bringing novel approaches to examining and addressing the complex issues presented by cyberspace.”

Since its founding in 1997 by Harvard Law School faculty members Charles Nesson and Jonathan Zittrain, with generous support from the Berkman family, the Berkman Center has pursued an interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial research agenda, while remaining grounded in the field of law.

“All of us at the Law School share a sense of pride in the Berkman Center’s spectacular rise and the impact the center’s faculty, fellows, and students have had in the field of law and technology,” said Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan. “By becoming an interfaculty initiative at Harvard, the Berkman Center will expand its reach into other disciplines and take advantage of synergies across the University, all while retaining its home and roots at the Law School.”

“While the Berkman Center has always been to some extent an interdisciplinary enterprise, this institutional change will increase sharply the methodological range of our work and the diversity of the faculty, fellows, and students we enlist to do it,” commented William Fisher, faculty director of the center.

The center will maintain its base of operation on the Law School campus. It will also remain home to its acclaimed Cyberlaw Clinic, which provides high-quality, free legal services to appropriate individuals, small start-ups, nonprofit groups, and government entities regarding cutting-edge issues of the Internet, new technology, and intellectual property. Recently launched research initiatives include projects examining the relationships between the Internet, media and democracy, youth and technology, and behavioral, legal, and technical drivers for human cooperation.

About the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is celebrating its 10th year as a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the center is now home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology, and society. More information can be found at and