William Clifton van der Linden
Assistant Professor, Political Science

Cliff’s academic interests centre on the implications of digital technology for both the practice and study of politics. His research explores the relationships between digital technologies and patterns of democratic participation as well as how emergent technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, social media, and cryptocurrency are reconstituting the ideas and norms of the contemporary political order. He is also actively engaged in the application of new, technologically-enabled methods—such as the use of Big Data and machine learning—to the study of political behaviour and public opinion. His publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals including Political Analysis, the International Journal of Forecasting, and the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties.

Cliff received his doctoral training in political science from the University of Toronto, where he served as chair of the G7 Research Group at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Law and International Relations, a peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He was also a junior fellow at Massey College and is the recipient of a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Beattie fellowship from the Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice, the Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award, the Clarkson Laureateship for Public Service, and the Action Canada public policy fellowship. Cliff has also been a visiting scholar at the Free University Amsterdam, the European University Institute, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

A former software developer and journalist, Cliff has founded and led numerous companies—from non-profit organizations to Silicon Valley-incubated, venture-backed technology start-ups. He is presently the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vox Pop Labs, a social enterprise best known for producing Vote Compass, a voter engagement and education application that has drawn tens of millions of users. Vote Compass has been run in more than a dozen countries worldwide in partnership with media organizations including the Canadian and Australian Broadcasting Corporations, The Wall Street Journal, Vox Media, Grupo Globo, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, Sky News UK, France24, and Television New Zealand.

Cliff was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and was also named one of Toronto’s Top 12 Young Innovators of 2012 by Post City Magazine. He was the recipient of McMaster University’s Arch Young Alumni Award in 2015.

Cliff has advised various governments on matters related to digital technology and public opinion research. He is also a regular media contributor on issues pertaining to elections and public policy.
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