Keynote Speakers & Experts

Three to four keynote speeches from leading scholars in the field will introduce computational social science and the topic of social cohesion. Our experts are experienced scholars either in computational social science methods or on the research topic of important aspects of social cohesion (or both). During the summer school, each experts gives a lecture and/or a hands-on workshop.

Most of our experts are also project leaders. During the summer school, two experts work together and build a team with up to four students on one specific research topic. The experts’ task is to lead the research project and supervise students. Ideally, the research project finishes with a publication.

Keynote speakers: Alex Rutherford Tom van der Meer | Viktoria Spaiser

Project Experts: Diane Bergeron | Corinne Coen | Bruce Edmonds | Reinhold Sackmann | Christian Papilloud | Patrycja Antosz | Timo Szczepanska | Gert Jan Hofstede | Geeske Scholz | Eduardo Graells-Garrido | Francisco Rowe | Wahideh Achbari | Michele Starnini | Seth Frey | James Kitts

Local Experts: Klaus Boehnke | Andreas Flache | Francesca Giardini | Jan Lorenz | Sebastian Haunss | Michael Mäs | Hilke Brockmann | Rense Corten

Keynote speaker

Alex Rutherford | Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin, Germany)

Alex Rutherford is a senior research scientist in the Center for Humans and Machines. He is an interdisciplinary data scientist with more than 10 years of experience across academia, the public sector and industry. Following training in computational physics, he subsequently spent several years applying data-driven analysis and computational modeling to problems such as ethnic violence, the evolution of corruption, global communication networks, and social search. He has helped to pioneer the use of data science within the United Nations system with Global Pulse and UNICEF Office of Innovation including analysis of vaccine sentiment, migration, poverty mapping, epidemiology, and constitutional reform. Alex continues to improve his Arabic language after living for several years in Syria and the United Arab Emirates. He was a Research Scientist focusing on problems of human-machine cooperation with Scalable Cooperation in MIT Media Lab.


Tom van der Meer | University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Tom van der Meer is full professor in Political Science, and co-director of the Dutch Parliamentary Election Study and the Dutch Local Election Study (since 2015). He has published on themes such as political trust, electoral volatility, social capital, citizen participation, and quantitative research methods and co-edited the Handbook on Political Trust.
Van der Meer received his M.A. in Political Science from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, and his PhD (cum laude) in Social Sciences from the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He also holds a B.A. in History (University of Leiden). Since January 2010 he works at the Department of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam as a member of the programme group ‘Challenges to Democratic Representation’ and as member of the interdisciplinary research group IMES.


Viktoria Spaiser | University of Leeds (United Kingdom)

Viktoria Spaiser is a researcher in Mathematical & Computational Social and Political Science. She has a PhD in Sociology and attained a German Diploma in Computer Sciences. She has been working on a wide range of topics, including political participation, e-democracy, protest, polarisation, democratisation, sustainability or segregation, using various sources of data, such as register data, cross-country panel data, Twitter data or smartphone data and various methodological approaches such as Bayesian statistics, dynamical systems modelling, agent-based modelling or big data analysis. Currently, she is increasingly interested in sustainability research and specifically in how societies can make a rapid, fair and empowering transition to zero-emissions etc.

Project experts

Diane Bergeron | Case Western Reserve University (Ohio, USA)

Diane Bergeron is a social-organizational psychologist and associate professor in organizational behavior. She has expertise in organizational citizenship behavior research. Her critical perspective of existing work on citizenship behavior fits well with the social dilemma research frame that cooperation can be costly. She also studies gender and the way in which small behavioral differences can accumulate into larger differences in career outcomes for men and women.


Corinne Coen | Case Western Reserve University (Ohio, USA)

Corinne Coen is an Associate Professor in the Organizational Behavior Department of the Weatherhead School of Management. She earned a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in Business Administration where she worked in the Center for the Study of Complex Systems. In addition, she holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, and BA in American Culture from the University of Michigan.
Professor Coen has expertise in group and organizational dynamics and the use of agent-based modeling to study dynamics. Her work focuses on how the effects of interdependent behavior, especially cooperation and competition, generate cohesion and other emergent properties.


Bruce Edmonds | Manchester Metropolitan University (UK)

Bruce Edmonds is Professor of Social Simulation and Director of the Centre for Policy Modelling at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He is expert at the methodology and application of agent-based simulation as applied to issues of policy interest. He is the coordinator of an EU H2020 project on populism and the UK PI of an ORA/ESRC project on mutual influence.


Reinhold Sackmann | Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)

Reinhold Sackmann is Professor for Sociology at Halle university in Germany. There, he is the head of the Research Institute Social Cohesion, participating in the German polycentric Research Institute Social Cohesion. He is interested in the study of macrosocial dynamics and ways of institutional coping with social problems. One of the current projects focusses on the regional effects of migration on social cohesion. He combines quantitative longitudinal data analysis with qualitative analysis of texts.


Christian Papilloud | Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)

Christian Papilloud is Professor for Sociology at Halle University working on relational schemes in a comparative and historically way, on the improvement of their understanding in sociological theory, as well as on the way to address them in qualitative empirical settings at the level of textual data by applying new classification algorithms in the form of softwares that he writes in the python and R languages.


Patrycja Antosz | University of Groningen (Netherlands)

Patrycja Antosz is a sociologist and a psychologist specializing in social scientific research methods and data analysis techniques. Currently she is working on social simulations in a H2020 SMARTEES project. She studied the expected results of Cohesion policy in the 2014-2020 programming period for the European Commission. She is also member of the European Social Simulation Association Management Committee


Timo Szczepanska | Arctic University of Norway

Timo Szczepanska is a PhD candidate at the faculty for Biosciences, Fisheries, and Economics of the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. In the PhD research, he investigates the potentials and limitations of social simulation methods and serious games to inform and sustain social transformation processes. He is interested in the intersections between technology and society, with a main focus on agent-based modelling, group behaviour, and sustainable social innovation.


Gert Jan Hofstede | Wageningen University (Netherlands)

Gert Jan Hofstede is a population biologist and his professorship has the title Artificial Sociality. He focuses on agent-based social simulation of socio-ecological or socio-technical systems. His ambition is to come up with generic social modules for agent-based models of such systems. He is interested in the interplay of the contrasting forces of cultural evolution, societal change and cultural stability.


Geeske Scholz | Osnabrück University (Germany)

Geeske Scholz is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Environmental Systems Research at Osnabrück University. In her PhD, she developed an agent-based model of social learning during participatory methods. In 2018, she was employed as visiting professor at the TU Dresden, where she focused on modelling as a tool for integrating diverse perspectives. Her main areas of research include: social learning, specifically in diverse groups; social cohesion and social identity; and agent-based modelling. For agent-based modelling, she sees a specific challenge in representing social context with its influence on individual behavior. To address this challenge, she aims at the enhancement of formalizations of the social identity approach for agent-based models.


Eduardo Graells-Garrido | Barcelona Supercomputing Center (Spain)

Eduardo Graells-Garrido is a Mobility Researcher at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, in Barcelona, Spain, and Part-time Professor at the Data Science Institute in Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile. He is also a Telefonica R&D Chile Fellow. He is interested in improving the understanding of how people live their own city; his research lies in the intersection of Urban Informatics, Information Visualization, and Social Sciences. He also writes auto- and science-fiction — his favorite author is Ursula K. Le Guin.


Francisco Rowe | University of Liverpool (UK)

Francisco Rowe is a Senior Lecturer in Human Quantitative Geography at the Department of Geography and Planning within the University of Liverpool, member of the Geographic Data Science Lab and a Project Associate of the international project IMAGE: Comparing Internal Migration Around the Globe. His areas of expertise are: internal & international migration; human mobility; and computational social science. He has been invited to present his research at the United Nations Population & Development Division in New York and works closely with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, UK’s government organisations, including the Ordnance Survey and the ONS Data Campus, and commercial companies, Geolytix. Francisco is editor of REGION, the journal of the European Regional Science Association (2018-present).


Wahideh Achbari | University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Wahideh Achbari is a Marie Curie research fellow at the University of Amsterdam. Previously she has been affiliated with the Research and Documentation Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security as a project leader and has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Free University Brussels. Her research lies at the intersection of political sociology, migration studies, and political psychology. In her work she seeks to understand the processes behind crime, the creation and loss of generalized trust, and confidence in governments. She is particularly interested in the impact of ethnic diversity on social cohesion, but also the methodological implications that follow from extant research. Wahideh uses a wide range of statistical techniques such as multilevel, structural equation modelling, panel analysis, and machine learning. She draws on survey questionnaires, register, and experimental data.


Michele Starnini | Institute for Scientific Interchange (Italy)

Michele Starnini is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Scientific Interchange, in Turin (Italy). He had been a principal investigator of a research project funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, at the University of Barcelona (Spain). He obtained his PhD in Computational and Applied Physics from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya. His research profile is focused on the study of Complex Systems, Network Science and Computational Social Science. His expertise is the analysis of the structural and temporal properties of networks and dynamical processes running on top of them. His research interests are the understanding of emerging social phenomena, such as the spreading of behaviors or ideas in a population, the dynamics of physical interactions in social gatherings, or cooperation and collaboration among individuals.


Seth Frey | University of California, Davis (USA)

Seth Frey is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, where he is in the Computational Communication group. He is an interdisciplinary social scientist who uses large datasets and computational methods to isolate the decision processes behind complex, large-scale, and real-world social phenomena. He specialized in studying the self-organization of governance and culture at a whole-system scale by using “designed societies” like sports matches, theme parks, multiplayer video games, and online communities. By working at the intersection of many methods and disciplines, he has introduced approaches that provide new insights into governance processes in small-scale online communities and the science of social system design generally.


James Kitts | Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts (USA)

James Kitts is Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Computational Social Science Institute at the University of Massachusetts. His research includes formal theoretical models of social network dynamics and group processes as well as new methods for longitudinal data collection (e.g. wearable sensors) and analysis. His recent work (including an empirical study of relational event dynamics published in American Journal of Sociology) illustrates how the fine-grained event data collected in the computational social science community enables new theory and methods in social network analysis. Since 2004 he has managed a web repository of materials for teachers and students in computational modeling of social dynamics. He is an editor of the Computational Social Sciences series at Springer, area editor of Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, and is on the editorial board of Sociological Science and American Sociological Review.


Local experts

Klaus Boehnke | Jacobs University (Bremen, Gemany)

Klaus Boehnke is professor of social science methodology at Jacobs University Bremen. With a background in psycholgy he studies Value change and value transmission, and political socialization (xenophobia, right-wing extremism). He is a principal investigator in several projects on measuring social cohesion in Europe, Asia, Germany, and Bremen.


Andreas Flache | University of Groningen (Netherlands)

Andreas Flache is professor of sociology at the Department of Sociology and the ICS, at the Faculty for Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Groningen. He studies in particular modeling of norms and networks. Other research interest address social integration, cooperation problems, and learning theory. For this, he applies agent-based computational and game theoretical modeling, laboratory experiments, network research, and survey research. His research is embedded in the research program of the ICS (Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology), a research and training center accredited by the Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW).


Francesca Giardini | University of Groningen (Netherlands)

Francesca Giardini is assistant professor in sociology. After obtaining her PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Siena (IT), she was a postdoc at the National Research Council of Italy (ISTC CNR) in Rome and at the Central European University in Budapest. She uses theoretical analysis, agent-based simulation and lab experiments in order to investigate the mechanisms of social sustainability and to identify the contributions of reputation and gossip to cooperation in different settings.

Jan Lorenz | Jacobs University (Bremen, Gemany)

Jan Lorenz is a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in Computational Social Science at Jacobs University. He obtained a PhD in Mathematics from University of Bremen and was a postdoc at ETH Zürich, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, and GESIS. He is interested in opinion dynamics and collective decisions and uses agent-based and data-driven dynamical modeling. He also worked on comparative projects on measuring social cohesion.


Sebastian Haunss | University of Bremen (Germany)

Sebastian Haunss is professor in political science at the University of Bremen, where his research interests are social conflicts and political mobilisations in the knowledge society, changes in political and economic legitimacy, social networks and social movements. In particular, he works on computational modeling of argumentation dynamics in political discourse.


Michael Mäs | University of Groningen (Netherlands)

Michael Mäs is assistant professor at the Department of Sociology and the ICS at the University of Groningen. His general research interest concerns collective action and social integration in social networks. He uses uses computational modeling techniques, longitudinal network data in several organizations, and laboratory experiments.


Hilke Brockmann | Jacobs University (Bremen, Germany)

Hilke Brockmann is professor of sociology at Jacobs University Bremen. She was a Research Fellow at the European University Institute and Robert Schuman Center. Her substantial interests focus on the interplay of demographic groups (older people, women, migrants) and demographic dynamics on social inequality and happiness.


Rense Corten | University of Utrecht (Netherlands)

Rense Corten is associate professor in sociology. His research revolves around the themes of cooperation, trust, and (the dynamics of) social networks, with empirical applications including adolescent networks, social media, the sharing economy, online criminal networks, and laboratory experiments. In 2016 he received an NWO Vidi grant for a research project on the origins and consequences of trust in the sharing economy.