CIVICA Research Blog

CIVICA Data Science Days at the EUI

On 6-7 October, researchers and faculty from across CIVICA institutions and beyond gathered at the European University Institute (EUI) for the first in-person workshop organised in the context of the alliance’s Data-Driven Technologies for the Social Sciences research area.

Twenty-six researchers representing the institutions in the CIVICA network participated in the CIVICA Data Science Days at the EUI campus. Sessions were hosted at Palazzo Buontalenti and Villa Salviati in Florence, Italy. Interested participants had the opportunity to join some of the sessions online. The keynote lecture, delivered by Harvard University Professor Kosuke Imai, was open to the EUI community, as well as to an engaged online audience.

The two-day snowball seminar represented the first in-person gathering dedicated to early-career researchers interested in data science and computational social science across the alliance. It was organised by the CIVICA Data Science Seminar Series team, which throughout the last academic year had hosted online seminars on the use of novel methodological and data-driven approaches to tackle complex societal challenges.

“Since the beginning, we wanted the event to be geared towards early-career scholars,” said Natalia Garbiras-Díaz, EUI Max Weber Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Sciences and the main organiser of the Data Science Days at the EUI. “We wanted them to expand their network beyond their own institution and truly benefit from the competitive advantages that each university has to offer, with faculty members from across CIVICA institutions and beyond hosting seminars and sharing their own expertise.”

The workshop successfully brought together people at different stages of their academic careers to discuss their specific research interests: from using machine learning in the context of climate change and environmental science, to integrating social media in political and social science research, and evaluating human decision-making when assisted by information provided by algorithms.

Additionally, the poster sessions allowed researchers working on various themes to showcase their projects in front of peers, faculty members, assistant professors, and postdoctoral students. The sessions were an opportunity to receive valuable feedback on their work and engage in fruitful discussions with a like-minded community of scholars. Similarly, the workshop sessions introduced participants to new methodological approaches and enhanced the quality of their own research.

Finally, the Data Science Days represented a unique opportunity for early-career scholars to network, a fundamental aspect of pursuing research in higher education that is even more important when working on cutting-edge topics and ideas.

“The power of these types of events is the ability to connect. I am confident that many interesting research projects are going to come out of this exercise,” shared Garbiras-Díaz.

The CIVICA Data Science Days featured three workshop sessions, two poster sessions, two panel sessions, and one keynote lecture. It was an initiative within the CIVICA Data-Driven Technologies for the Social Sciences focus area, an interdisciplinary research theme within the alliance that aims to learn about society through data science.

Written by Luisa Della Pietra (EUI Editorial Team)

Photo credits: EUI School of Transnational Governance