Category Archives: Student

Michael Szell wins EU Horizon grant

As one of 32 partners, Michael Szell / ITU is part of the EU (Horizon) project

JUST STREETS – Mobility justice for all: framing safer, healthier and happier streets

that has just started! The consortium includes 12 European cities representing more than 4.5 million citizens. The project aims to transform cities’ car-centered mobility narratives that take for granted that streets are for motorized traffic only, to promote walking, cycling and other active modes of mobility.

To reach this goal, ITU’s part of the project will develop algorithmic methods to study low traffic neighborhoods and bicycle/pedestrian networks, and analyze mobility data with focus on safety, for better planning of human-centric, sustainable mobility.

This grant will provide us funding for a new PhD student, Clément Sebastiao, who has recently joined our group.

PhD Open Call 2024

The ITU-wide PhD Open Call 2024, deadline Feb 25th, is now open!  If your research overlaps with ours and you are interested, get in touch!

Either reach out directly to one of us, or use the student contact form on our students page, where you can also get inspiration for potential research projects. All professors at NERDS are open to PhD supervision and have good ideas for possible PhD projects, so don’t hesitate to reach out. One of our PhD students, Anastassia, has joined us previously through this call.

In Denmark, PhD students are employees, where both salary and working conditions are excellent. The NERDS group is a down-to-earth and fun place to be. Copenhagen is often named as the best city in the world to live in, and for good reasons. It’s world-renowned for food, beer, art, music, architecture, the Scandinavian “hygge”, and much more. In Denmark, parental leave is generous, and child-care is excellent and cheap.

Clément Sebastiao has joined NERDS

Happy new year! 🥳

We are thrilled to welcome Clément Sebastiao to our research group!

Clément joins us as PhD student for 3 years, funded by a EU project we cannot yet legally talk about (but soon), supported by his new supervisor Michael Szell. He completed his Master’s degree in 2023 from ENS Lyon in Complex Systems and Physics. He also has ample experience with internships, including at our friends at ISI Foundation and also at NERDS in 2022, where he started a project on bicycle network growth. He will continue in this vein, developing algorithmic methods to study bicycle/pedestrian networks, low traffic neighborhoods, and mobility data with focus on safety, for better planning of sustainable mobility. Given his interdisciplinary background and know-how in complex networks and systems, he is the ideal candidate for this task, ensuring a smooth takeover of the bicycle network / urban data science torch passed by our now last-year PhD students Ane and Anastassia.

Roberta wins ERC Consolidator grant!

Wow – Roberta Sinatra just won an ERC Consolidator grant! We congratulate her with all our hearts to this once-in-a-lifetime achievement!

An ERC Consolidator grant comes with 2 million EUR for 5 years and enables “a scientist who wants to consolidate their independence by establishing a research team and continuing to develop a success career in Europe”.

Roberta’s excellence, her interdisciplinarity, and her proposed topic just hit the right nerve:

scAIence: Quantifying AI-infused Science

The goal of scAIence is to quantify whether, how, and with which implications generative AI is changing how scientists write, communicate, and diffuse their science, and to explore rigorously the opportunities, dangers, and implications of scientists augmenting their scientific writing with AI. The focus of scAIence is quantitative and based on large-scale data and controlled experiments, since we lack a systematic analysis of AI-generated science: All our evidence regarding AI-generated writing is anecdotal or based on small case studies.

Within the scAIence project, Roberta and her team will deploy a novel computational social science approach, based on a wide array of quantitative disciplines, leveraging large-scale databases of human-generated information and controlled experiments. scAIence will break new ground by (i) introducing the quantitative methods required to understand AI-infused science, (ii) redefining metrics and models to account for AI-generated content in science, and (iii) delivering quantitative scientific insights into how AI is changing the diffusion of science. Taken together, scAIence will lay the scientific foundation for the quantitative study of AI-infused science.

The scAIence project is planned to take place at Roberta’s main affiliation SODAS at Copenhagen University – follow Roberta for upcoming hiring calls for PhD students and Postdocs. 

Report from our latest Nightingale Network meeting

It has taken us almost 2 years, but we finally managed to co-organize a new Nightingale Network meeting yesterday!

The Nightingale Network brings together faculty, postdocs, and students based in Denmark who share an interest in Computational Social Science, Complex Systems, and Network Science.

The gathering of around 30 researchers took place in the top, 15th floor of the colossal Maersk tower, where we held IC2S2 earlier this year. With many new faces joining all our groups in Denmark, again many new social ties were forged and old ties strengthened, making full use of our nerdy open-source party-games: (including a new one by main organizer Laura)

Here the press-shots of the winners in the three games Bingo (Arianna), Nerdgame (Ben, last nerd standing – with a very consistent outfit), and the new Six degrees of wikipedia (Mirko, Arianna, Pantelis, Peter, Sandro):






If you are from Denmark (or closeby) and share our research interests, please reach out to us if you want to be part of the next meeting!

We welcome 2 new PhD students: Anders and Daniel

This month, another two PhD students join NERDS – Welcome Anders and Daniel!

Anders Weile Larsen is working with Roberta Sinatra (KU, SODAS) and Vedran Sekara (ITU, NERDS) on a project which aims to uncover the fundamental limits of ML and AI for predicting human behavior. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science and a Master’s in Social Data Science, Anders comes from a highly interdisciplinary background. Anders has previously worked in the Danish Ministry of Taxation where he developed a customer segmentation model and taught Python programming. More recently, as part of the Nation-Scale Social Networks project, Anders has worked on estimating peer effects of library takeouts and modeling patterns of literary consumption. Anders’ PhD is funded by the Danish Pioneer Centre for AI, where he is also affiliated.

Daniel Juhász Vigild is a PhD student at SODAS (our sister group at KU), at the ROCKWOOL Foundation’s Research Unit, and is a visiting PhD student at ITU. He holds a Msc. in Business Analytics from DTU. 
His research examines the digitalization of the public sector, with a focus on quantifying the productivity enhancements and potential social costs of implementing digital initiatives. 
He is currently examining the effect of implementing POL-INTEL, an intelligence-led policing tool implemented in Denmark in 2018.

Welcome Jacob to NERDS!

Meet the newest member of NERDS – Jacob Aarup Dalsgaard! Jacob is a PhD student in social data science at SODAS – our KU sister group, and will be a visiting PhD student at ITU. Jacob will be diving deep into the world of bias in science, focusing especially on algorithms and models, as part of the BiasExplained project funded by the Villum Foundation. We’re super happy to have him on board and can’t wait to see all the contribution he will bring to the group. 💡

Welcome to the NERDS squad, Jacob! 🖖

Another smashing DataBeers Copenhagen, with 170 participants

Four years after we brought DataBeers to Denmark, another successful event was held this week in Copenhagen!

DataBeers is a global not-for-profit initiative active in dozens of cities worldwide, that brings data scientists and data enthusiasts from industry, government, academia and the arts to knowledge share. The DataBeers teams organise events and invite speakers to tell their experience with data: analysis, visualisations, applied data, data journalism etc., always in an informal and agile manner.

This week’s event was again co-organized by NERDS (especially Sandro and Arianna), and also featured Michael as one of the speakers with a magic-themed talk on “Stories from 1001 paths (over Dybbølsbro)” – slides available here [pdf]:

The event had a fantastic vibe, great speakers, and a psyched audience including many ITU students. Apart from the four speakers from academia and industry, it also featured a scientific presentation karaoke. Here some visual impressions from the event, which this time took place in Absalon, a locally famous church-turned-into-community-center:

DataBeersCPH has now grown to accommodate 170 participants, with the event’s free tickets having become sold out one week before the event, mainly through word-of-mouth. The event’s free beers and its venue were charitably sponsored by the DDSA, DTU, ITU, and KU.

Here’s two cheers for many more successful DataBeers in Copenhagen to spread our love for data and science (and beers)! 🍻 🍻

Welcome Anders to NERDS!

Anders Giovanni Møller graduation at ITU

NERDS welcomes a new member: Anders Giovanni Møller. Starting today, Anders will be a PhD student working with Luca Aiello on the COCOONS project at the intersection between NLP and complex systems. Anders can boast a long tenure at ITU, and last week he got his Master’s degree in Data Science. He was selected for a keynote address to the whole 2023 cohort of ITU MSc graduates during the graduation ceremony — a very moving and inspiring speech! Welcome, Anders!