Yale Launching New Data-Intensive Social Science Center

Yale is establishing a new Data-Intensive Social Science Center (DISSC), which will serve as a university-wide hub for data-based research and programming in the social sciences.

Led by inaugural co-directors Steven Berry and Alan Gerber (left to right), thDISSC comes pursuant to a 2020 report and recommendations from a university-wide committee convened by former Provost Ben Polak and chaired by Gerber. The committee focused on ways Yale could enhance quantitative work in the social sciences and apply empirical social science to public policy questions, with particular emphasis on the areas of research infrastructure and shared resources, teaching, and organizational structure and behavior. A subsequent data-intensive social science task force, convened by Provost Scott Strobel and chaired by Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communication Susan Gibbons, delineated the importance of a dedicated center.

The DISSC will support a wide range of research topics, including high-level statistical and computational consulting, assistance with data use agreements, and setting up secure computing environments pursuant to privacy and related concerns, among many others. President Peter Salovey and Provost Strobel have also noted building capacity and support for data-intensive research as one of Yale’s main university-wide academic priorities.

Berry is the David Swensen Professor of Economics and Jeffrey Talpins Faculty Director of the Tobin Center for Economic Policy at Yale, where he studies industrial organization and empirical models of product differentiation and market equilibrium. Gerber is the outgoing Dean of the Social Science Division of the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of Political Science, and the director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale. His current research focuses on the application of experimental methods to the study of campaign communications, and he has designed and performed experimental evaluations of many political communications programs.

A search is currently underway for the Center’s inaugural managing director.