Carnegie Endowment and Princeton Launch Groundbreaking Initiative to Counter Threats to the Information Environment

June 23, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Princeton University announced today a year-long effort to design the Institute for Research on the Information Environment (IRIE), an international resource to study information ecosystems that can spur evidence-based policy solutions.

“The recent pandemic has only underscored the challenges policymakers face in addressing complex issues within a polluted information environment. Unfortunately, little is known about the effects of threats like disinformation or countermeasures to them,” said Alicia Wanless, director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment. “Now more than ever the international community needs the support and resources to fully understand today’s information environment and craft sound policy solutions—that’s why we’re developing IRIE.”

“This is a very important and ambitious initiative,” said Princeton University Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering. “Its goals are to apply state-of-the-art, scientifically rigorous methods rooted in data science to study the information ecosystem, and to propose evidence-based solutions to address the crisis of disinformation.” Debenedetti continued, “Very few challenges confronting society today are more urgent than the threat that disinformation poses to democracy and its institutions. Princeton is proud to partner with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on this project, and grateful to Microsoft, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Knight Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for their generous support.”

IRIE will aim to design an inclusive multi-stakeholder research institution modeled after the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) that supports large-scale shared infrastructure and brings researchers from around the world together to speed new discoveries. Building on lessons learned from many disciplines, IRIE will enable foundational science to meet the urgent need of safeguarding the global information environment.

Specifically, IRIE will:

  • Maintain data and technical resources that support a wide range of analyses;
  • Speed academic research by building accessible data pipelines;
  • Advance policy debates around managing online commons;
  • Develop international multi-sectoral capacity for evidence-based stewardship of the information environment; and
  • Improve policymaking by enabling a richer understanding of the information environment and its impact on society.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank with a global network of experts in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In an increasingly crowded, chaotic, and contested world and marketplace of ideas, the Carnegie Endowment offers decisionmakers global, independent, and strategic insight and innovative ideas that advance international peace.

For media inquiries, please contact Clarissa Guerrero at 202-939-2371 or [email protected].