NSF publishes BDSS-IGERT Outcomes Report

The report summarizing the outcomes of the Penn State Big Data Social Science IGERT for a general audience has been published on the National Science Foundation website: 

Search https://www.research.gov/ (under "NSF Award Highlights") or read it here:

Big Data Social Science IGERT - Outcomes Report 


Intellectual Merit - Scholarly productivity and impact

The Big Data Social Science IGERT (BDSS-IGERT) directly catalyzed over 300 reported publications and related scientific products (including software, data, and patents) co-authored by IGERT Trainees, Associates, and Affiliates. To date, Google Scholar (https://bit.ly/BDSSpubs) reports over 3000 citations to this research as of November 2019.


Intellectual Merit - Interdisciplinary breadth

These contributions have been published in outlets belonging to a wide range of disciplines including African-American studies, communications, computational linguistics, computer science, criminology, demography, economics, education, electrical engineering, environmental science, geography, gerontology, human development, industrial engineering, informatics, information science, Latinx studies, library science, linguistics, machine learning, neural science, network science, organizational studies, physics, political science, psychology, public health, public policy, sociology, statistics, urban planning, and women's and gender studies as well as in prominent interdisciplinary outlets including PLoS ONE, Scientific Reports, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 


Intellectual Merit - Student recognition

BDSS-IGERT Trainees, Associates, and Affiliates have been recognized for the intellectual merit of their research through awards. These include two winners of the American Statistical Association's Gertrude Cox Women in Statistics Award, one winner of the American Sociological Association's Outstanding Dissertation in Progress Award, multiple winners of conference paper and poster awards including from the Population Association of America, the American Statistical Association, and the Political Networks Society, and multiple winners of competitive fellowships including a NASA Space Grant Fellowship and an NIH Pathways T32 Predoctoral Fellowship.


Broader Impacts - Defining and leading the field of Social Data Analytics

BDSS-IGERT has led the development of the new field of Social Data Analytics, a social science-centered approach to the science of learning from socially-generated data. The Graduate Program in Social Data Analytics (SoDA), established in 2016, offers a dual-title PhD for students in Political Science, Sociology, Statistics, Human Development & Family Studies, and Informatics, as well as a graduate minor, available to students in any Penn State PhD program (which have included to date Criminology, Communications, Communications Arts & Sciences, Geography, Marketing, Psychology, Rural Sociology, and Tourism Management). In addition, BDSS-IGERT and the graduate program in SoDA were the catalyst for the development of a new undergraduate degree at Penn State, a Bachelor of Science in Social Data Analytics. In 2018, Penn State opened the Center for Social Data Analytics (C-SoDA), providing an ongoing institutional structure in support of the interdisciplinary community built under BDSS-IGERT.


Broader Impacts - Economic and societal impact

Explicit objectives of BDSS-IGERT, and the SoDA graduate program based on it, are to enable a new type of scientist, and to provide a new and expanded notion of the role of social science in graduate education and in society. BDSS-IGERT's success in this endeavor is now evident in the scope and quality of the placements of our students in both academic and industry positions in data science, analytics, and social science methodology. Nonacademic employers now include Google (x4), Verisk Maplecroft (x3), Facebook (x2), IBM Research, NASA, RTI International, RAND, SAIS, Strava.com, IARPA, and the Office of the Director for National Intelligence. Academic employers now include Harvard, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Ohio State, UCLA, NYU (x2), Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins, Georgia, Rochester Institute of Technology, SMU, and Miami (Ohio). BDSS-IGERT students have also been recognized with prestigious competitive fellowships dedicated directly to the broader societal impacts of data science, with two holders of Data Science for Public Good fellowships and two holders of Data Science for Social Good fellowships.


Broader Impacts - Broadening participation 

BDSS-IGERT had an explicit objective at the outset of broadening participation in data science and quantitative social science. Of the 36 funded Trainees and Associates, 18 (50%) were women, and of the 30 NSF-funded US citizen & permanent resident Trainees, 7 (23%) were from traditionally under-represented groups (three of African descent, two of Latinx descent, and two of Native American descent). These students include two winners of the American Statistical Association's Gertrude Cox Women in Statistics Award, one winner of the Sloan Foundation Exemplary Mentoring Award, and one student named a White House Champion of Change and appointed to the Pennsylvania Governor's Commission for Women. This commitment and impact has carried through to the Social Data Analytics degree programs based on BDSS-IGERT, which have much more extensive student participation from women and underrepresented groups than is currently typical in data science programs.