Data scientist and statistician Dr. Stefano Iacus will join the Institute for Quantitative Social Science in the roles of Senior Research Scientist and Director of Data Science and Product Research. Iacus will serve as a key advisor and intellectual leader on the Institute’s research agenda and the strategic direction for IQSS’ research software products and services, as well as represent the Institute externally in University, national, and international collaborative projects.
In 1999 Iacus started his academic career at the University of Milan (Italy), where he became full professor of statistics in 2015, and also where he founded the Data Science Lab and served as its director. Since 2019, he has also served at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, where he led the team that explores new sources of data and exploits their advantages over traditional official statistical data, to support policymaking during crisis periods and refine preparedness measures. Since 2006, he has had a recurring visiting professor position at the University of Tokyo (Japan).
Iacus’ accomplishments extend beyond academia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he managed a large scale business-to-government project for the European Commission, producing insights for policy-making using data from mobile network operators covering most European Union member states. In 2012, he co-founded a data science firm, Voices from the Blogs, that specialized in social media analysis and big data analytics. In 2017, he co-founded a second startup in the field of quantitative finance. Iacus has published several books, many scientific articles, and a variety of open-source software products in a number of fields including causal inference, sentiment analysis, inference for stochastic processes, computational statistics, and quantitative finance. His work is widely cited across scholarly fields.
“Stefano will help us refine and incorporate the principles of open science, data science, and corresponding technical advancements into our tools and projects, as well as contribute to the slate of federal and foundation-funded research that underpins IQSS’ work,” IQSS director Gary King said of Iacus. “We look forward to welcoming him to the IQSS community.”
Iacus received his bachelor’s degree in statistics, magna cum laude, in 1995 at the Sapienza University of Rome (Italy). He completed his PhD in statistics at the University of Padua (Italy) in 1998, and his PhD in mathematics in 1999 at the Le Mans University (France).
Founded in 2005, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) is Harvard University's largest social science research center. IQSS has helped to create numerous programs, centers, and initiatives that continue to operate within the Institute, across the University, and as independent nonprofits and commercial firms outside of Harvard. IQSS is home to programs that include the Center for Geographic Analysis, the Human Flourishing Program, and Social Science One, and it has launched open-source software and platforms such as Dataverse, OpenScholar, and OpenDP.