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What Skills Will the Future Social Scientist Need?

  • Star of Kings Kings Cross London, N1 0AX (map)

As part of the ESRC's 2018 Festival of Social Science, join us for a panel debate focused on the future of social science research.

Social scientists are facing a new research era, where big data and computational methods provide an opportunity to address current social science questions in different ways - as well as enabling new questions to be asked. However, developing the skills needed to work with new types of data and new methods poses a challenge for researchers who already have multiple and varied demands on their time. Should social scientists be expected to learn data science skills, or should we encourage specialisation and collaboration with computer scientists and others with technical skills? Can the creation of new, easy-to-use tools and software for computational and big data research reduce the barrier to entry?

This panel will highlight some of the questions around what skills future social scientists should be expected to have and how to support the development of those skills. We will discuss some of the tools available for researchers working in the emerging field of computational social science, consider opportunities to incentivise the creation of new software and address the challenges involved with making research software sustainable.


  • Simon Hettrick - Deputy Director, The Software Sustainability Institute; Co-Director, The Southampton Research Software Group

  • Kenneth Benoit - Professor of Quantitative Social Research Methods, and Head of the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science; Founder of Quanteda Studio

  • Tomasso Venturini - Founder & Co-ordinator of the Public Data Lab; Researcher at the Institut des Systèmes Complexes Rhône-Alpes and the École Normale Supérieure of Lyon

Drinks and snacks will be provided!

This event is part of the ESRC's Festival of Social Science.