Keynote Speakers & Experts

Experts are crucial for the success of the summer school and its projects. They are experienced scholars either in computational social science methods or migration research (or both). During the summer school, each experts will held a lecture and/or a workshop on CSS methods and/or migration research. This will be complemented by keynote speeches from leading scholars within the field. 

During the summer school, at least two experts work together and build a team with up to four students on one research topic. The experts’ task is to lead the research project and supervise students. Ideally, the research project finishes with a publication. 


Our keynote speakers are:

Marta C. González | Emilio ZagheniGeorge Barnett | Dirk Brockmann


NEWS: Many experts have accepted our invitations. Find them here:

André Grow | Carolina Zuccotti | Christoph Spörlein | Claire Kelling | Emilio ZagheniMarta C. González | Helen Adams | Ingmar Weber | Jan Lorenz | Kiran Garimella | Lorenzo Gabrielli | Luis E. Olmos | Michele VespeMohsen Mosleh | Stefano Balbi | Stephan Dochow


Marta C. González | University of California Berkeley (USA)

Marta C. González is Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Physics Research faculty in the Energy Technology Area (ETA) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

With the support of several companies, cities and foundations, her research team develops computer models to analyze digital traces of information mediated by devices. They process this information to manage the demand in urban infrastructures in relation to energy and mobility. Her recent research uses billions of mobile phone records to understand the appearance of traffic jams and the integration of electric vehicles into the grid, smart meter data records to compare the policy of solar energy adoption and card transactions to identify habits in spending behavior.

Prior to joining Berkeley, Marta worked as an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, a member of the Operations Research Center and the Center for Advanced Urbanism. She is a member of the scientific council of technology companies such as Gran Data, PTV and the Pecan Street Project consortium.


Emilio Zagheni | Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany)

Emilio Zagheni is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPDIR) in Rostock, Germany and head of the Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography. Prior to this, he held a Professorship of Sociology at the University of Washington, Seattle (USA) and was a Assistant Professor at City University of New York (USA) and a research assistant at the MPDIR. He studied Economics, Statistics and Social Sciences at Bocconi University Milan (Italy) and at University of California, Berkeley (USA).

He is interested in the study of causes and consequences of demographic change using mathematical, statistical and computational approaches and believes that “one of the most important questions that demographers need to address now is how to manage migration flows and the integration of migrants in the context of both slow population aging and sudden crises or shocks”. He is a leading researcher in the development of Digital and Computational Demography, a field that focuses on using our digital breadcrumbs to measure and predict demographic change as well as evaluating the implications of the digital revolution for demographic behavior.


George Barnett | University of California, Davis (USA)

George Barnett is Distinguished Professor at the Department of Communication at UC Davis. He has expertise in international and intercultural communication, and in social networking and other communication networks — notably, the roles of international telephone and Internet communications in social and economic development, cultural change, and the process of globalization. He has served as chair of the Communication and Technology Division of the International Communication Association, and as president of the International Network of Social Network Analysis.

Professor Barnett studies structural models of the role of communication in social and cultural processes. His numerous publications encompass analyses of social and cognitive system dynamics, and the ways in which social and communication networks evolve over time. He investigates the development of tools and methods for examination of cognitive, organizational, social, and communication networks; diffusion of communication and information technologies; and mathematical models of adoption and discontinuance of innovations.


Dirk Brockmann | Humboldt University Berlin & Robert Koch Institute (Germany)

Dirk Brockmann is Professor at the Institute for Biology and leader of the Brockmann Lab at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin (Germany). He studied physics and mathematics at Duke University (USA) and University of Göttingen (Germany). In his research, he focuses on the dynamics of infectious diseases, the development of computer simulations and mathematical modeling using big data. In light of emerging infectious diseases, he and his colleagues consider the role of human travel for the dynamics of epidemics. For example, based on the computer simulations he was involved in tracing and reconstructing the outbreak of Ebola in 2014 and predicting the routes of the Virus out of Africa into other continents.


André Grow | Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany)

André Grow is a researcher in the Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR). He obtained his PhD in Behavioral and Social Sciences from the University of Groningen, and before joining the MPIDR, he worked as a PostDoc at the University of Leuven. In his research, André has applied agent-based computational (ABC) modelling to study social inequality and stratification, as well as processes of family formation and dissolution. His ABC related work has been published in outlets such as Population Studies, PLoS ONE, and Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, and he has recently edited a volume on ABC modelling that has appeared in The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis. Upon joining the MPIDR, he has started to work in the area of migration research and he is currently working on a project that seeks to leverage social networking platforms to study migrant assimilation.


Carolina Zuccotti | European University Institute, Florence (Italy)

Carolina V. Zuccotti is a Research Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute in Florence (Italy). She has a PhD in Political and Social Sciences (European University Institute, 2015) as well as two masters in Urban Studies and Human Geography  from the University of Urbino (Italy) and the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), and a degree in Sociology from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Carolina’s research lies in the intersection between migration & ethnicity, social inequality and urban studies. She is particularly interested in the processes that lead to the production and reproduction of social and spatial inequalities, both over time and across different groups. She has participated in several research projects on these topics at various institutions in Argentina and Europe, including the University of Buenos Aires, the Free University of Amsterdam, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Brighton. Her research in published in Sociology, International Migration Review and Population, Space and Place, among others.


Christoph Spörlein | University of Bamberg (Germany)

Christoph Spörlein is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Bamberg (Germany) where he leads two research projects. He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Cologne (Germany). His research focuses on questions related to immigration and immigrant integration from a (cross-nationally) comparative perspective. Specifically, he has studied ethnic inequality in the labor and on the marriage market, within and across educational systems, with respect to residential segregation as well as regarding hostile behavior towards immigrants – most recently relying on comment data from YouTube videos.


Claire Kelling | Penn State University (USA)

Claire Kelling is a PhD Candidate at Penn State University, pursuing a Dual PhD in Statistics and Social Data Analytics with a graduate minor in Computational Modeling. She earned her B.S. in Statistics and B.A. in Economics, with minors in Women’s & Gender Studies and Women’s Leadership from Virginia Tech. Throughout Claire’s academic, professional, and extracurricular activities, she has systematically chosen positions and experiences that will allow her to develop the analytical skills, political awareness, and theoretical grounding to inform public policy. She was a Graduate Fellow at the Social and Decision Analytics Lab in Arlington, Virginia in the summer of 2017. As a graduate fellow, Claire created a research design to analyze the integration of refugees into host communities through text analysis of social media data. She worked with stakeholders, such as nonprofits, schools, and resettlement agencies, in the community to inform her work. She led a team of mostly students and academics to draw conclusions about the value in the perspective added by social media data. Her goal is to integrate data-driven research methods and evidence-based policy using the power of big data to improve the experience of refugees.

Helen Adams | King’s College London (UK)

Helen Adams is a researcher at the Department of Geography at King’s College London (UK). She has worked at the University of Exeter and has completed her PhD at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in 2012. Before pursuing her PhD she has worked with the Climate Change Expert Group at the OECD in Paris on policy frameworks for adaptation to climate change in the water sector and at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat.

Helen Adams is an expert in migration and livelihoods, and has made major theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of different aspects of place under environmental change and livelihoods in driving migration, including ecosystem services and other dimensions of well-being. She’s among the experts consulted by the authors of ​The Atlas of Environmental Migration and is a Lead Author
on the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.


Ingmar Weber | Quatar Computing Research Institute (Quatar)

Ingmar Weber is the Research Director for Social Computing at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). He studied Mathematics at the University of Cambridge (UK) before pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics (MPII). Before joining QCRI he held positions at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and at Yahoo Research Barcelona.

Ingmar has been working on using Big Data for monitoring international migration for over seven years. His research has contributed to demonstrating the value of data sources such as email data, Google+ profiles and Twitter data for augmenting traditional data sources. More recently he started to use anonymous advertising data from Facebook and other platforms to obtain better estimates of migrant stocks. Current projects include collaborations with the European Commission and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the use of such data to improve statistics. He’s also collaborating with UNHCR and UNICEF around the monitoring of migration related to the Venezuelan crisis, helping to create more timely estimates at a fine-grained spatial resolution.


Jan Lorenz | Jacobs University Bremen (Germany)

Jan Lorenz is a postdoctoral fellow in Psychology and Methods at Jacobs University and faculty member of the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (Germany). He obtained a PhD in Mathematics from University of Bremen and was a postdoc at ETH Zürich (Switzerland) and at Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg (Germany). He is interested in opinion dynamics and collective decisions as well as agent-based and data driven dynamical modeling.


Kiran Garimella | Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (Switzerland)

Kiran Garimella is a postdoc at in the Data Science Lab at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (Switzerland). He did his PhD at Aalto University, Helsinki (Finland) working on the identification and countering of online filter bubbles using algorithmic techniques. He is interested in social computing, graphs, data mining, computational social science, and machine learning. Before starting his PhD, he worked at Yahoo Research and the Qatar Computing Research Institute.


Lorenzo Gabrielli | National Research Council, Pisa (Italy)

Lorenzo Gabrielli is a Data Scientist at the National Research Council in Pisa (Italy) for developing innovative tools in the domain of customs risk assessment. Over the last years he has gained experience in the analysis of Big Data with Data Mining and Machine Learning techniques in a national and international context collaborating with several public and private research institutes. His interests concern the study of mobility in order to identify individual and collective patterns of behaviours. He has an excellent experience in managing geospatial databases (PostgreSQL/Postgis) and programming languages (Java, Python and R).

Luis E. Olmos | University of California Berkeley (USA)

Luis Olmos is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of California Berkeley. He is particularly interested in understanding and modeling phenomena taking place in the city. For example, during his PhD in Physics, he combined mobile phone records and cellular automata modeling to study the emergence of congestion in five cities around the world. More recently, he has focused on a data-driven methodology that extends segregation metrics to incorporate daily mobility and also quantify the effects of the urban form.


Michele Vespe | European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Ispra (Italy)

Michele Vespe has a PhD in Engineering from University College London and works as a scientific officer and project leader at the European Commission – Joint Research Centre, where he works for the Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography (KCMD). He coordinates the activities of a team of researchers in transforming migration data into knowledge and scientific evidence for policy makers. This includes research in the fields of data integration, big data and innovative data sources on migration. He also manages the developments of the KCMD Dynamic Data Hub, a platform that allows and facilitates online analysis and time series visualisation of multiple data sets on migration.


Mohsen Mosleh | Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

Mohsen Mosleh is a Postdoc at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to joining MIT, he was a Postdoc associate at the Department of Psychology at Yale University (USA). He received his PhD in Systems Engineering with a graduate certificate in Business Intelligence and Analytics and holds a master’s degree in Management.

His research interests lie at the intersection of computational and social sciences. In particular, he studies misinformation on online social media, social networks (and population structure in general), and social norms. In his research, he uses theoretical models based on evolutionary game theory, network science, agent-based modeling (population dynamics) as well as empirical (data-driven) models based on online behavioral experiments on networks, machine learning, and natural language processing.


Stefano Balbi | Basque Centre for Climate Change (Spain)

Stefano Balbi is a research fellow at the Basque Centre for Climate Change at the University of the Basque Country. He has a PhD in Sustainable Development and work experiences in the UN Developed Program as Energy and Environment Specialist, the DG Environment of the European Commission (EC), the Alpine Convention as country representative for the fourth report on the State of the Alps, the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change (CMCC).

​Stefano Balbi is a well established agent-based modeller now focusing on data driven methods and models integration. He’s interested in integrating the MIDAS framework into the simulation platform developed by his research team: ARtificial Intelligence for
Ecosystem Services (​ARIES​).


Stephan Dochow | University of Bamberg (Germany)

Stephan Dochow is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bamberg (Germany) at the Chair of Sociology and the Analysis of Social Structures of Cornelia Kristen. He studied Sociology in Mannheim and Cologne and pursued his PhD in Bremen until September 2018. His work is to a large degree rooted in theories and concepts from research on intergroup ethnic conflicts and focuses on attitudes towards ethnic minorities, the effects of neighbourhood ethnic diversity on social cohesion and ethnic residential segregation. In his current position, he is working on topics related to the integration of immigrant students, namely what role ambitious educational aspirations play in shaping educational achievement of immigrant students in Germany. His methodological interests are the definition, identification and estimation of meaningful causal effects.