Category Archives: Student

Call for PhD scholarships by the Danish Data Science Academy

The new Danish Data Science Academy (DDSA), which we helped to establish, invites applications for ten three-year PhD scholarships for individual research projects within any field of data science, including all research topics pursued by NERDS. The DDSA encourages visionary and ambitious young data scientists to develop their own research projects with the assistance of a supervisor from a Danish university (like ITU).

See more information here:
Deadline for application is 20 March 2022

Given that both our currently existing PhD students (Anastassia and Ane) were hired through similar calls, there is a good probability to make this also work out for future candidates. If your research interests overlap with ours and you are interested please get in touch with one of our assistant or associate professors to explore options to apply!

You will need to come up with your own research plan, but feel free to get inspired by our most recent master level project ideas:



Ane Rahbek Vierø has joined NERDS

Happy new year! 🥳

We are thrilled to welcome Ane Rahbek Vierø to our research group!

Ane joins us as PhD student for 3 years, funded by the Danish Ministry of Transport for an application which she authored, supported by her new supervisor Michael Szell. She completed her Master’s degree in 2020 from Lund University on a thorough analysis of Copenhagen’s bicycle network, and has been working since then as research assistant at Aalborg University. Her background is in Geographical Information Science which is a great complement for our existing NERDS expertise. She is also well connected in the Danish cycling research community, having co-organized the recent CRBAM21, which will additionally strengthen our research group’s connections within Denmark.

Given her professional expertise in bicycle network analysis, her GIS background and procedural approach via Python, and her past experience – such as an internship in the cycling development team of the municipality of Copenhagen – she is the perfect person to undertake this ambitious PhD project: Network analysis of the Danish cycling infrastructure.

Together with our PhD student Anastassia, who works on a very similar topic and who also joined recently, we anticipate an increasing output in cycling research in the coming years. Our goal is not just producing research papers, but more importantly to improve the Danish cycling landscape locally, and to provide general insights and methods towards a modal shift to sustainable transport on the global level. 

Establishing the Nightingale Network

Together with Sune Lehmann and Laura Alessandretti from SODAS/DTU we are establishing the Nightingale Network: 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.

More info and subscribe here:

We aim to strengthen the Denmark-based data and network science community, and send out a monthly newsletter listing relevant events, news, and job postings in Denmark and beyond. Please also share your tips, calls, and job postings!

We will also organize regular gatherings. The first event was the first Nightingale Network Night which happened last week at ITU, and which successfully established and strengthened many social and culinary connections, from Scaccia to Borek and Apfelstrudel:

We will also share the nerdy party games we created on our github page so that others can replicate the fun!

Sign up to our news, and see you soon (modulo lockdown)!

Sandro Sousa has joined NERDS

We are delighted to welcome Sandro Sousa to our research group!

Sandro joins us as Postdoc coming from Queen Mary University of London. He recently completed his PhD in Complex Systems, on quantifying the heterogeneity of spatial systems through random walks on graphs with a particular interest on urban segregation.

Due to his Brazilian origins, before that he had worked on projects focusing on São Paulo, for example on social segregation, transport accessibility, or graph-based approaches to quantify topological changes in Sao Paulo’s public transport network at different spatial scales. Before his research career, he worked on IT consulting and data solutions for more than 7 years. Find more info about Sandro on his stylish webpage:

He is hired through our recently won VILLUM project, at NERDS he will therefore be focusing on topics of Science of Science and success together with Roberta Sinatra, including algorithmic fairness in research.

Anastassia Vybornova has joined NERDS

We are excited to welcome Anastassia Vybornova to our research group!

Anastassia joins us as PhD student from Vienna, Austria. She recently completed her Master degree jointly supervised at KU, BOKU Vienna, and at ITU by Michael Szell, accomplishing an outstanding thesis on Identifying and classifying gaps in the bicycle network of Copenhagen. She has won a competitive, ITU-supported PhD grant and will therefore be with us for (at least) 3 years. 

Anastassia’s background is a crazy mix of physics, environmental science, and transcultural communication, and she is educated in complex systems and network science – all of which makes her fit perfectly into NERDS.

Her PhD topic at NERDS will be Network analysis of urban transport networks: for a green transition from car-centricity to cycling, with Michael Szell as supervisor, for which her ideal combination of skills from physics, sustainability science, and programming will be indispensable. To taste an hors d’oeuvre of her work, see her talk in two weeks at CRBAM.

Yanmeng Xing has joined NERDS

We are thrilled to welcome Yanmeng Xing to our research group!

Yanmeng joins us as a visiting PhD Student for one year. Yanmeng is a PhD student in Complexity Science at Beijing Normal University who won a prestigious Chinese fellowship to spend one year abroad.

At NERDS he will be working on Science of Science topics, specifically investigating the effects of the pandemic on scientific collaborations and career dynamics.


Funding for bicycle network analysis by the Danish Ministry of Transport

Today we received the happy news that the Danish Ministry of Transport is funding our project Netværksanalyse af den danske cykelinfrastruktur (“Network analysis of the Danish cycling infrastructure”):

This funding will allow us to hire cycling network and urban planning/spatial data expert Ane Rahbek Vierø for a 3-year PhD on the topic, to start Jan 2022, supervised by Michael Szell. Our bicycle network research so far has focused on urban bicycle networks, so this funding will finally allow us to widen our perspective to the regional and national scale. We are looking forward to welcoming Ane in January and to help improving the (already quite good but certainly not perfect) Danish bicycle network!

In more detail, our plans for this project are the following:

In this research project we will apply state of the art metrics and tools from network analysis on Danish open data bicycle infrastructure networks collected from e.g. OpenStreetMap, and additionally incorporate knowledge from cycling planners and mobility researchers, to develop a scientific, evidence-based framework to suggest where to add new network connections or other interventions for improving sustainable bicycle infrastructure. While there are generally good cycling conditions in Denmark, there are many areas that have a quite poor connectivity. Using access to everyday amenities as a baseline can also show that it is not enough to install bicycle lanes – they need to be in the right location and connect to the right places. This research will explore weighting the network according to different attributes to get a more detailed understanding of how connectivity and accessibility might vary for different types of cyclists (in line with Levels of Traffic Stress). We will also use this weighted network to examine cyclists’ access to everyday amenities and facilities, in order to, for example, identify areas where you cannot comfortably cycle to basic amenities (inspired by the 15-minute city). Further, we will explore the effect of high stress intersections on network connectivity for vulnerable road user demographics such as children, and incorporate the distribution of people and workplaces in the analysis. Finally, we aim to develop an interactive web mapping tool that visualizes the results and has the ability to run analyses based on individual demographic variables or preferences of cyclists.

Release of GrowBike.Net to explore growing urban bicycle networks

Recently we released GrowBike.Net, accompanying our preprint “Growing Urban Bicycle Networks“. The interactive data visualization platform was developed by NERDS Master students Cecilia Laura Kolding Andersen and Morten Lynghede as part of their thesis “Developing an Interactive Visualization of Bicycle Network Growth” with Michael Szell.

GrowBike.Net lets you explore how to grow bicycle networks from scratch in 62 cities worldwide. Choose a city and grow the bike network, connecting places efficiently step by step.

The growth process creates a cohesive bicycle network – something that every modern city should have. Studying these synthetic networks informs us about the geometric limitations of urban bicycle network growth and can lead to better designed bicycle infrastructure in cities. GrowBike.Net also allows to compare the grown networks with your city’s existing bicycle network.

Although our approach here is not yet aiming to provide concrete urban design solutions, it could be useful for planning purposes for easily generating an initial vision of a cohesive bicycle network – to be re-fined subsequently.

The platform also features a media page where over 1000 videos and plots can be downloaded:

Have fun exploring growing bike networks in your city!

Open Positions

With NERDS winning grants and growing, we have added a Positions page at, currently featuring 2 open calls at ITU that are directly relevant to us as they can lead to NERDS positions. If your research overlaps with ours and you are interested get in touch!

1) PhD Open Call 2021

The ITU-wide PhD Open Call 2021, deadline March 10th, features 2 potential PhD projects by NERDS members:
1) Michael: Network analysis of urban transport networks for a green transition from car- centricity to cycling
2) Michele+Luca: Modelling Complex Social Systems to Handle Disinformation

2) Asst./Assoc. Professor in data science and machine learning

This computer science department wide call, deadline March 29th, is looking for applicants in any of these areas, including NERDS topics:

  • Data mining, large-scale data analysis, data visualization
  • Machine learning
  • Natural language processing
  • Network science, analysis of large (social and other) networks
  • Bioinformatics
  • Computer vision, signal analysis
  • Computational social science
  • Fairness and accountability in data science and machine learning
  • Statistics, computational statistics, probabilistic modelling

Watch this space and stay tuned for more. 🤓