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Computational Social Science for Policy (CSS4P)

About the project


There is no doubt that we live in an era of unprecedented data, digital footprints created every day by using sensors, smartphones, internet, social media, and administrative systems. Digital trace data can be processed using computational methods to model collective behaviours and describe aspects of our society, or to anticipate trends that are already present but not yet captured or quantified. Employment, migration, demography, education, culture, tourism, health, epidemiology, social inclusion, transport are many policy areas where Computational Social Science has been used with ground-breaking results. Nevertheless, such results are mostly confined to the realm of scientific publications because of the lack of systematic access to data beyond ad-hoc pilot studies.

In an effort to surmounting these challenges, the main objective of the project is to build capacity in accessing and analysing non-traditional data through key partnerships and in coordination with European Commission services. By doing so, this will clear the path to address concrete policy questions by engaging in a knowledge exchange among all partners, connecting academia with policymakers and the private sector. The project will also address data governance aspects and is expected to contribute to the analysis of data sharing mechanisms.

In a nutshell

  • Digital trace data can be processed to model collective behaviours that are difficult to be captured by official statistics;
  • Mostly held by private companies, such data can transform the policy cycle and the understanding of our societies;
  • Potential in tackling societal challenges (e.g. gender gaps, migration, digital inclusion, misinformation, ideological polarisation) address emergencies (e.g. epidemiological), improve public services and better understand our society across different sectors (demography, health, employment, education, mobility, transport, development, politics & democracy, sustainability/environment, finance, energy).

Why the JRC

Thanks to the possibility to channel research findings to policymakers, the European Commission’s DG Joint Research Centre (JRC) has already demonstrated how to successfully attract the academic community, and with this foundation in place, this research will draw on collaborations with prominent scholars in the field of Computational Social Science.


CSS4P Project
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via Enrico Fermi, 2749, 21027 Ispra VA, Italy
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