ODISSEI receives large investment in understanding social change

ODISSEI (Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations) is one of the seven large scientific infrastructures to receive a Dutch Research Council (NWO) financing from the Dutch national Roadmap for Large-scale Research Infrastructures. ODISSEI is a collaboration between thirtyfour partner organisations that have come together to improve the data available to social scientists. The investment will be used to accelerate development of computational social science in the Netherlands over the next five years. ODISSEI is hosted by the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Independent reviewers declared ODISSEI to be a “world first” and “a game changer” in the study of social change. In addition, they stated that ODISSEI places the Netherlands at the vanguard of computational social science and is an invaluable resource for a new generation of social scientists.

ODISSEI consists of four integrated work streams:

  • Data Facility - Accessing, linking, and analysing sensitive data in a safe, secure, and ethical manner
  • Observatory - Sustaining and optimising valuable, long-standing data collections
  • Laboratory - Opening up new avenues of inquiry by exploiting innovative digital technologies
  • Hub - Acquiring skills and approaches for more complex and comprehensive modelling of social phenomena             

Scientific Director of ODISSEI, Pearl Dykstra said ""It is clear to us all that we live in a highly unpredictable and complex world. To understand the uncertainties and interdependencies that exist, social scientists require access to linked data, advanced computing resources and analytical expertise. This needs to be done whilst also maintaining the highest security standards that protect and respect the sensitive and private nature of the data.”

Impact of the Corona Virus and ODISSEI

ODISSEI is already working to better understand the impact of the corona virus in the Netherlands and how we are adapting to the rapidly changing world around us. This is done by collecting detailed data from thousands of households across the Netherlands, by linking data from a wide range of sources together, providing researchers with access to a secure supercomputer at SURFsara, and utilising the latest in analytical techniques. The data and insights generated by ODISSEI will help researchers and policy makers better understand and adapt to the virus.


ODISSEI (Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations) is the Dutch national research infrastructure for the social sciences. ODISSEI brings together researchers with the necessary data, expertise and resources to conduct ground-breaking research and embrace the computational turn in social enquiry. Through ODISSEI, researchers have access to large-scale, longitudinal data collections as well as innovative and diverse new forms of data. These can be linked to administrative data at Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Combining data from a wide range of sources enables researchers to answer new, exciting, interdisciplinary research questions and to investigate existing questions in new and novel ways.

ODISSEI consists of 34 member organisations, that are faculties of social science, economics or business administration, KNAW and NWO institutes, public research organisations, and Statistics Netherlands. The host is Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Scientific Director of ODISSEI is  prof. dr. Pearl Dykstra (EUR-ESSB).


More information

Marjolein Kooistra, communications ESSB, kooistra@essb.eur.nl , + 31 6 83676038