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Training Workshop in Computational Social Science for African Scholars (CSSFORAFRICA)


25 – 27 October, Cape Town, South Africa

Deadline for Applications: 26 August

Workshop Organizer: Dr. Vissého Adjiwanou,  Senior Lecturer in Demography and Quantitative Methods at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and Adjunct Professor at the Université de Montréal (Canada).


Digital-age data (“big data”) is becoming popular and can provide information that can profoundly shape our understanding of social phenomena. While the use of such data is still in its infancy in African studies, their importance cannot be neglected.


From 25 to 27 October 2017, prior to the International Population Conference organized by the IUSSP in Cape Town, the first workshop on Computational Social Science for African Scholars will be convened. The purpose of this workshop is to:

  1. Introduce computational social science to African social science scholar
  2. Present a review of studies using digital-age data and methods from an African perspective
  3. Offer instruction in methods for handling, manipulating and processing these data
  4. Create a research collaborative working group on computational social science in Africa.

The instructional program will involve lectures, tutoring and a group research project. There will also be outside speakers with relevant expertise from academia, industry, and government. Topics covered will include quantitative methods in the age of big data, text as data, website scraping, mass collaboration, and ethics.

Profile of participants: The workshop, which is limited to 20-30 participants, is targeted particularly at Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, national statistics officers, and academics working or studying in sub-Saharan Africa, although consideration will also be given exceptionally to African scholars (students or academics) in the diaspora attending the IPC.

Language of instruction will be in English, with exercises being conducted using R. Proficiency in English is a requirement.

 Background and Preparation:  Participants with less experience in social science research will be expected to complete additional readings in advance of the workshop, and participants with less experience in coding will be expected to complete a set of online learning modules on the R programming language.

Application Instructions: Interested applicants should send (i) a curriculum vitae, (ii) a statement (maximum two pages) describing their interest and any current research in computational social science, (iii) a writing sample (not necessarily on digital-trace data and no more than 35 pages) or project idea using digital-age data to  in a single PDF file by the 26 of August.

Any person interested in sub-Saharan Africa and computational social science who wants to contribute is also welcome to send email to the organizer at


Travel support: Participant’s costs for the workshop, including accommodation and some meals, will be covered, as well as a (capped) contribution to travel expenses.

Important dates

  • Launch: 31 July
  • Deadline for Applications: 26 August
  • Notification to candidates: 31 August
  • Training in R with Datacamp: September 1 to October 20
  • Workshop: 25 – 27 October 2017


Full description of workshop 






deadline for applications: 
Saturday, August 26, 2017