Press release: Opportunities of Digitization for Social Sciences

July 18, 2018

More than 50 international junior researchers and experts from social and computer sciences will meet in Bremen from July 23 to August 3. The summer school is organized by the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS).
The international Graduate School is a cooperation between the University of Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen. During the two-week summer school at Jacobs University, the participants will examine the new challenges and opportunities offered by digitization for social sciences.

Making New Data Sources Accessible

A mix of social and computer science, the still young field of computational social science deals with computer-aided data and word processing in social sciences. On the one hand, it deals with questions of how new data sources – such as Facebook and Wikipedia – can be tapped and made systematically accessible for social science research. On the other hand, modern and powerful computers also offer new analysis possibilities. Computational social science also deals with questions of how computer-based methods can be used to analyze and model complex social systems, phenomena, and structures.

Highly Topical Issues in Conflict Research

Participants will get to the bottom of these aspects together with experts from the various disciplines in several research projects on the topic of conflicts. The projects address diverse and highly topical issues in the area of conflict research. These include social movements and changing values. Examples include the #MeToo debate or the rise of the AfD party, but also the emergence of civil wars or terrorism.

A Focus on Terrorist Attacks and Climate Change

During the summer school, Adam Pah from Northwestern University in the USA and Nicolas Payette from the Laboratory of Agent-Based Social Simulation in Rome, for example, will specifically address the question of what influences the planning and execution of terrorist attacks. Together with the participants, they will shed light on the role played by major events, for example. In another project, Davide Natalini from the Global Sustainability Institute of Anglia Ruskin University in England and Bruce Edmonds from Manchester Metropolitan University will examine how climate change affects conflicts in society and social structures.

Further Summer Schools Planned

The summer school is the prelude to a series of three events on the subject of computational social science. Other summer schools will be held in the next two years in Italy and the Netherlands, focusing on migration and social cohesion. The summer schools are financed by the Volkswagen Foundation.


The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) is jointly run by the University of Bremen and Jacobs University. At the Graduate School for Social Sciences, around 100 doctoral students from all over the world are currently being trained in the core disciplines of Political Sciences, Sociology, and Psychology.

Further Information:

Prof. Dr. Adalbert F.X. Wilhelm
Professor of Statistics, Vice Dean of BIGSSS
Phone: +49 421 200 3402
E-Mail: a.wilhelm[at]

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