Centre for Social Data Science (CSDS)

The Centre for Social Data Science (CSDS) advocates the use of data science methods and data-driven inquiry within social sciences. CSDS conducts both (1) methodologically oriented basic research about research methods and (2) applied research within social sciences where advanced methods are required.

CSDS promotes open data, open science and data-driven research inquiry. CSDS develops and maintains infrastructures for data collection and analysis. In addition, CSDS aims at increasing the collaboration between researchers and methodology experts, with the goal of improving both applied research as well as basic research on research methods. CSDS is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Annual Report 2020 (PDF, 31 pages)


CSDS is the home base of the discipline of Social Data Science (formerly called Social Statistics). Social Data Science supports evidence-based decision making for the government, organizations and private companies. Applications range from pensions and health care to finance and social media. Statistical analysis is used to explore various topics, such as questions of inequality between and within genders, regions or generations. Dynamic probabilistic modelling is a primary tool in analyses involving forecasting and risk management. Machine learning methods can be used quantitative data, but also on textual, audio and visual materials. We examine various data sources: surveys, interviews, register data, open governmental and business data, big data and digital trace data. However, the essential focus in Social Data Science is to ground the data analysis in social science through its theories and concepts.

CSDS people with brief CV info

   Picture: The five founding fellows of CSDS in August 2019.

Christina Bohk-Ewald, Uni­versity Lec­turer (Ap­plied Data Science and Demo­graphy)

Krista Lagus, Professor (Digital Social Science), Director of CSDS

Mikko Myrskylä, Professor (Social Data Science), Deputy Director of CSDS

Matti Nelimarkka, University Lecturer (Computational Social Science)

Joni Oksanen, PhD student (Social Data Science)

Maria Valaste, University Lecturer (Social Data Science)

Kimmo Vehkalahti, Senior University Lecturer (Social Data Science)


CSDS Fellows (at University of Helsinki if not otherwise specified)

Catarina Ahlvik, Affiliated Researcher (Management and Organization, Hanken School of Economics)

Michele Cantarella, Postdoctoral Researcher (Economics and Political Science)

Daria Gritsenko, Assistant Professor (Russian Big Data Methodology)

Ilja Kavonius, University Researcher (Economic and Social History, Economics, Social Policy, Statistics and Probability)

Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen, Associate Professor (Sociology, Social Policy)

Hanna Konttinen, University Lecturer (Sociology)

Riikka Koulu, Assistant Professor (Law and Digitalisation)

Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Postdoctoral Researcher (Media and Communication Studies)

Krister Lindén, Research Director (Language Technology)

Eetu Mäkelä, Associate Professor (Human Sciences–Computing Interaction)

Minna Ruckenstein, Associate Professor (Digital Innovations & Consumer Society)

Reijo Sund, Professor (Register Studies, University of Eastern Finland)

Mikko Tolonen, Assistant Professor (Digital Humanities)

Julia Velkova, Assistant Professor (Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden)

Laszlo Vincze, University Lecturer (Quantitative Methods)

CSDS Networks


Currently no open positions

Previous hires

  • Two Research Assistants in Social Data Science for projects (began in March and April 2020)
  • Uni­versity Lec­turer in Ap­plied Data Science and Demo­graphy for a 3-year appointment (began in February 2020)


Welcome to Friday Coffee!


Krista Lagus at the Whiteboard in U35 Coffee Room


Open Friday Coffee

  • Need to help with social data science?
  • Want to speak about research approaches and methodological choices?
  • Hitting some issues with actually implementing research methods?
  • Would you like to discuss your topic of research with someone?
  • Feeling lonesome?
Objectives Come and have a cup of tea or coffee with us!
It may have surprising consequences.
When Most Friday at 9am.
Look at our calendar and register yourself as a visiting player in our team.
Please note that some Fridays are booked for the CSDS Researchers only.
Where Zoom

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Krista, Mikko, Christina, Maria, Matti, Kimmo, and Joni

Social Data Science Open Research Seminar 

CSDS (Centre for Social Data Science) Friday Coffee combined with a seminar for PhD and Master’s students in Social Data Science and related disciplines, and anyone interested in a research-oriented way in Social Data Science.

Objectives Learning and sharing & vitalizing!
When (About) every other Friday at 10-12 (right after Open Friday Coffee at 9-10).
See the schedule on the course page of the seminar.
Where Zoom

Mas­ter’s Pro­gramme in Con­tem­por­ary So­ci­et­ies (COS) is a multidisciplinary, research-based Master’s Programme focusing on the key themes in the dynamics of contemporary societies both in a European and a global context. COS is our primary study programme where we offer our new, extensive selection of courses related to social data science. Almost all our courses are open for students of other programmes.

Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences covers the widest areas of social science research in Finland: media and communication studies, social and cultural anthropology, social psychology, social and public policy, social work, sociology, social data science, criminology and demography.

Master's Programme in Mathematics and Statistics had (until July 2020) four study tracks: mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and social statistics. Social Statistics (M.Soc.Sc.) has been a training program providing the students the necessary research and data analysis skills to continue in PhD level studies as well as to work as statistical experts in research and statistics production. There have been two lines of study: general social statistics and official statistics. The official statistics line gives the students the European Master in Official Statistics (EMOS) certificate. Both lines share core components and include a minimum of 6 month paid training at Statistics Finland or another partner organization, as well as a strongly recommended international research visit. Beginning from August 2020, the Social Statistics track was superseded by the new (and wider) Social Data Science track in the Mas­ter’s Pro­gramme in Con­tem­por­ary So­ci­et­ies. The EMOS certificate (see above) is still available for the students interested in official statistics.

The CSDS staff & fellows teach a wide variety of courses related to Social Data Science, mostly in the Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies (COS) and the Doctoral Programme of the Social Sciences (SOST).

Courses in 2021 - 2022

(Tentative list: more details and links to course pages will be published in the summer 2021)

Summer 2021

  1. SOST-930 Introduction to Computational Social Science
  2. SOST-930a Introduction to Programming for Social Scientists

Intensive period (30 Aug - 5 Sep 2021)

Period 1 (6 Sep - 24 Oct 2021)

Period 2 (1 Nov - 19 Dec 2021)

  • COS-D407 Scientific Modeling and Model Validation (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D422 Scientific Modeling and Model Validation: Advanced (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D421 The Political in Human-Computer Interaction (Matti Nelimarkka)
  • SOST-9151 Social Data Science PhD Seminar I+II (CSDS)
  • COS-D405 Digital Inequalities and the Ethical Turn (Minna Ruckenstein)
  • COS-R406 Quantitative Research Practicum (Hanna Konttinen)
  • PHD-302 Introduction to Open Data Science (Kimmo Vehkalahti)

Intensive period (3 - 16 Jan 2022)

  • SOSM-328 Challenges of Globalisation, Sustainable Development and Changing Society to the Measurement of Economies and Welfare (Ilja Kavonius)

Period 3 (17 Jan - 6 Mar 2022)

  • COS-SD311 Master’s Thesis Seminar in Social Data Science I (CSDS)
    For major students of Social Data Science only
  • COS-D411 Data Wrangling and Analysis (Maria Valaste)
  • SOST-9151 Social Data Science PhD Seminar I+II (CSDS)
  • SOSM-326 Datafication - Critical Perspectives (Minna Ruckenstein)

Period 4 (14 Mar - 8 May 2022)

  • COS-SD311 Master’s Thesis Seminar in Social Data Science I (CSDS)
    For major students of Social Data Science only
  • COS-SD302 Perspectives to Digitalizing Society (Krista Lagus)
  • COS-D408 Forecasting I: Introduction (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D423 Forecasting I: Advanced Introduction (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D415 Survey Methodology (Maria Valaste)
  • SOST-9151 Social Data Science PhD Seminar I+II (CSDS)

Intensive period (9 - 31 May 2022)

  • COS-D406 Causality (Mikko Myrskylä)
  • COS-D401 Introduction to the Framework of Economic Statistics (Ilja Kavonius)
  • SOSM-403 Forecasting (Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen)
  • COS-R409 Quantitative Methods for Policy Evaluation (Michele Cantarella)

Courses in 2020 - 2021

Period 1 (Sep-Oct 2020)

Period 2 (Nov-Dec 2020)

Intensive period (Jan 2021)

Period 3 (Jan-Feb 2021)

Period 4 (Mar-Apr 2021)

Intensive period (May 2021)

Summer 2021

  1. SOST-930 Introduction to Computational Social Science
  2. SOST-930a Introduction to Programming for Social Scientists

Method courses around the University


Data Science in Society event (January 2020)

Data Science in Society was an open event organised in Think Corner by HiDATA and CSDS in January 2020.

The programme, the talks, and speaker biographies are available on the HiDATA website.


CSDS was officially opened on Monday, 28th October 2019 in Unioninkatu 35, Helsinki.

The auditorium of U35 was full of invited participants - students, researchers, teachers, alumni, and staff from various units of the University of Helsinki, other universities of Finland and other institutions. In addition, hundreds of people were following the opening stream online. The event was held in Finnish.

The opening speech was delivered by Taina Kyllönen, the Director of Communications and Community Relations, who also introduced the CSDS staff (at that time, the five founding fellows).

The audience had an honor to enjoy two special talks given by our distinguished academic fathers:

  • Teuvo Kohonen, Academic and Emeritus Professor of the Academy of Finland:
    On the Expectations Related to Artificial Intelligence (Tekoälyyn liittyvistä odotuksista)
  • Seppo Mustonen, Emeritus Professor of Statistics:
    Statistical Computing with Survo (Tilastollista tietojenkäsittelyä Survolla)

The (almost) complete video of the opening (produced by Unigrafia) is available in Vimeo:

CSDS Opening video thumbnail