Message from the Director

Where we're going

We aim to move the social sciences from thinking about the greatest problems affecting human societies to understanding and solving them. After thousands of years of trial and error, social scientists in this generation have finally figured out how to amass enough information about the people, groups, and societies we study and to invent the methods, theories, and technologies necessary to make these data actionable. The spectacular successes we have seen in the last few years are nothing compared to what is coming.  Please join us; there's nothing more exciting.

IQSS builds cutting edge social science infrastructure, fosters a flourishing community of social scientists, and does whatever it can to help students, faculty, and staff leverage each other's advances and take us all to the next level. We even apply the tools of social science (big data, bigger analytics, novel theories, and behavioral science) to improve the administrative operations of our own Institute and the Harvard administration more generally; see our unusually transparent metrics on Institute performance, detailed roadmaps of where we've been and where we're going, and some of our products used very widely across the university and the world. For more information, see Restructuring the Social Sciences: Reflections from Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

Where we've been

We founded IQSS on March 1st, 2005, replacing the Center for Basic Research in the Social Sciences. Fourteen months later, IQSS was formally designated as a Harvard University-wide institute. Over the next two years, IQSS incorporated within it the Harvard-MIT Data Center, the Henry A. Murray Research Archive, the Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA), the RWJ Scholars in Health Policy Program, and others. Since then, IQSS has helped create numerous programs, centers, and initiatives that are now part of the Institute; elements of other Harvard units; ongoing collaborative efforts between IQSS and other Harvard groups; separate organizations within Harvard; and independent nonprofits and commercial firms outside of Harvard. IQSS is now the university's largest social science research center and an integral part of the Harvard administration. 

Gary King
Director, Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Albert J Weatherhead III University Professor