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  • Emma Fabian, News Editor

The Oxford Summer Institute in Computational Social Science – online and a resounding success!

The Oxford Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (SICSS) took place online for the first time on Monday 14 to Friday 25 June 2021.

The yearly event is an opportunity for postgraduate research students and early career researchers interested in computational social science to get together.


However, SICSS 2020 was cancelled due to pandemic. But this year, organisers decided to hold it online, which feedback confirmed was a resounding success.


The free two-weeks of learning was led by Francesco Rampazzo and Charles Rahal from the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Research, along with fellows from Nuffield College.


Applications were invited from PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and academics within seven years of their PhD. And this year, more than 60 students applied for 24 places.


The first week was spent learning about computational social science methodologies led by the organisers, invited colleagues and collaborators. And in the second week, attendees put their new knowledge into practice by working in groups on small research projects.


Co-organiser Francesco Rampazzo said: “It was challenging to organise a two-week-long summer institute completely online. But we were delighted to receive such great feedback from the participants. We missed some of the more informal aspects of the conversation, the lunches, chats in hallways, and so forth. However, it was generally a resounding success, with much learned not just by the students but by the convenors, too!”


Being online had some advantages. More participants were able to join from abroad than before – as shown in a map created by Ilya Kashnitsky (University of Southern Denmark) for the session on geospatial data, pictured below. And SICSS’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity was evident.


Pictured below: The geographical location of participants in the summer school, as presented by Ilya Kashnitsky for the SICSS's session on geospatial data.



The Summer Institutes in Computational Social Science take place in many different locations around the world. Oxford Summer Institute in Computational Social Science


SICSS Oxford was sponsored by Nuffield College, in conjunction with the Department of Sociology and the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science.


The organisers hope to host the institute again in 2022. More information about the Summer Institutes at Oxford, past, present and future, can be found on the SICSS website.

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