UC Berkeley announces new NIH-funded Computational Social Science Training Program

April 23, 2020

UC Berkeley is launching a new Computational Social Science Training Program (CSSTP) to train predoctoral students with advanced computational and data science analytics skills to address pressing needs in biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research.

A five-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences (OBSSR) and its partner institute, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, makes the program possible. It will prepare the students to take advantage of advances in computing and data science that can enable their research.

David Harding, professor of Sociology and Faculty Director of the Berkeley Social Science Data Laboratory (D-Lab); David Mongeau, Executive Director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS); and Maya Petersen, MD, PhD, co-chair of the Graduate Group in Biostatistics and associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Berkeley School of Public Health; are leading the program.

“Data science and computation have immense potential to lead to positive social impact,” said Maya Petersen. “It is essential we give our students the training they need to realize this potential. We are thrilled that this grant will allow us to bring together UC Berkeley’s internationally renowned faculty and scholarship in both the social sciences and in modern analytic and computational tools to train this next generation of leaders.”

The first cohort of fellows will begin work at Berkeley this fall, and they will represent a wide variety of degree programs and expertise areas, including demography, public health, public policy, social welfare, and sociology.

The Berkeley Social Science Data Laboratory (D-Lab) provides the UC Berkeley community with services and support for advanced research design and experimentation in data-intensive social science, including consulting and advising, training and provisioning for software and infrastructure needs, and support for other campus data resources and services.

The Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) has co-hosted Data Science Fellows in the social sciences since its inception in 2013. A range of domain research areas have thus far been represented — including sociology, psychology, cognitive and brain science, and social welfare — in collaboration with the departments of Sociology and History, the Berkeley School of Social Welfare, the Berkeley Institute for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), the Digital Humanities and D-Lab, German Literature and Medieval Studies, the Data Science Education Program, and the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

The Berkeley School of Public Health is at the forefront of solving complex public health problems through groundbreaking research, world-class education and community-engaged action. This network of leaders across all health sectors works in collaboration with a range of domain science and humanities disciplines — including engineering, computer science, social welfare, public policy, journalism, international development, business, and law — with a legacy of impact and innovation at local and global levels.

(Updated August 11, 2020)

Featured Fellows

David J. Harding

Sociology, D-Lab, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate

David Mongeau

Former Executive Director

Maya Petersen

School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate