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About Us

Our Vision

The Institute for Government Innovation strives to improve decisions that affect the public, to recruit the best students and make them better, and to further the University's research goals.

Our Mission

To partner with government agencies, trade associations, and private businesses to provide innovative solutions to their problems and provide résumé building experience for students to complement their academic learning.

Our Leadership

Director Photo

Rebecca Davio, Director

PhD Interdisciplinary Studies
MA Public Affairs
BS Merchandising

Dr. Davio has more than 25 years of experience in state and local government. Programs she directed have won local, state, and national awards and been acknowledged for their dramatic improvements. As director of the Institute, she will ensure the work exceeds customer expectations.

Senior Grant Coordinator Photo

Matthew Pantuso, Senior Grant Coordinator

MA Technical Communication
BA Mass Communication

Matthew is a grants and contracts specialist with a decade of successful experience planning and executing projects for government agencies, trade associations, and private businesses. Matthew specializes in using modern technologies to enhance communication that range from simple web-based surveys and websites to complex relational databases and information architectures. Over the course of his career, he has taken complex products developed for clients and successfully transitioned them to non-experts who can take ownership and grow the product within their organization.

How it Works

The Institute for Government Innovation will meet with you and your staff to begin to understand your needs.

Once those needs have been identified, we will establish a Master Services Agreement. This agreement is generally boilerplate material that specifies contacts, responsibilities, payment deadlines, and other logistical agreements.

Timelines and budgets are established in individual Scopes of Work associated with the Master Services Agreement. This structure allows complex multi-phased projects to be scoped individually in different budget cycles.

After a Scope of Work is finalized, the Institute custom builds a team of student workers and engages any necessary faculty to assist with the project requirements. 

To ensure a competitive hiring process and increase accountability, the Institute's student workers are paid a fair wage.

How our process works

Our History

The Government Partnerships Program was established in 2003 by Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Larsen. 

Dr. Larsen was a professor in the Geography Department who also consulted with government agencies. The agencies he consulted with struggled to hire staff amid FTE hiring caps. At the same time, the students he was teaching were struggling to find practical real-world experience.

Since that realization, the organization has seen many changes as students matriculate and technology matures. Now, the organization is known as the Institute for Government Innovation and is directed by Dr. Rebecca Davio, but the core goal remains the same.  

Over its long, more than 15-year history, backlogs of agency work have been cleared, aging paper maps have been digitized, advanced geographic and statistical models have improved agency operations, and research has improved situational awareness to improve decision-making.

These efforts have effected millions of Texans and continue to inspire students to think about how to make a positive impact and agencies to imagine the possibilities when they combine their deep institutional knowledge with the energy and enthusiasm of student workers at the Institute for Government Innovation.

Find out how the Institute for Government Innovation can help you