Professor Helen Margetts OBE

Professor Helen Margetts


Programme Director for Public Policy, and Turing Fellow

Partner Institution


Helen Margetts is a Turing Fellow and Director of the Public Policy Programme at The Alan Turing Institute, and Professor of Society and the Internet at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow of Mansfield College.  From 2011 to 2018, she was Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, a multi-disciplinary department of the University of Oxford dedicated to understanding the relationship between the Internet and society, before which she was UCL's first professor of Political Science and Director of the School of Public Policy (1999-2004).  After an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, she worked as a computer programmer and systems analyst for Rank Xerox and Amoco before returning to study political science at LSE (MSc 1990, PhD 1996), where she also worked as a researcher.

Helen sits on the UK government’s Digital Economy Council, the Home Office Scientific Advisory Council, the WEF Global Agenda Council on Agile Government and the Ada Lovelace Institute for Data Ethics.  She was a member of the UK government’s Digital Advisory Board (2011-16).  She is the founding Editor of the journal Policy and Internet, published by Wiley. In 2018 she was awarded the Friedrich Schiedel Prize by the Technical University of Munich for research and research leadership in technology and politics. In the 2019 New Years Honours List she was awarded an OBE for services to social and political science. In 2019 she was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy and also took up a visiting appointment as the John F Kluge Senior Chair in Technology and Society at the Library of Congress.

Research interests

She has researched and written extensively about the relationship between technology, politics, public policy and government including over 150 articles and policy reports and six books on the topic, the latest of which is Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action, which won the Political Studies Association’s W.J.Mackenzie prize for best politics book in 2017. She has worked hard to maximize the policy impact of her research, leading a series of policy studies for the UK National Audit Office in the 2000s, with Patrick Dunleavy (LSE) for which they received the  PSA’s Political Scientists Making a Difference Award. She has presented her work all over the world at forums from the Hay Literary Festival (2016, 2018) to Harvard University and MIT (2016) and the Royal Society (2011, 2018) to Davos (2014), as well as innumerable academic and policy-making events and media appearances.