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Brian Castellani (Sep 2020 - May 2022)

Full professor of sociology at Durham University, UK; Adjunct professor of psychiatry at Northeastern Ohio Medical University, USA; Research Fellow, Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, UK.

My research

Trained as a sociologist, clinical psychologist and methodologist (statistics and computational social science), I have spent the past ten years developing a new case-based, data-mining approach to modelling complex social systems – called the SACS Toolkit – which my colleagues and I have used to help researchers, policy makers and service providers address and improve complex public health issues such as community health and well-being; infrastructure and grid reliability; mental health and inequality; big data and data mining; and globalization and global civil society.

We have also recently developed the COMPLEX-IT R-studio software app, which allows everyday users seamless access to such high-powered techniques as machine intelligence, neural nets, and agent-based modelling to make better sense of the complex world(s) in which they live and work.

IAS fellowship

Ideas, theories and methods from the complexity science have been adopted in the social sciences, to such an extent that it is justified to speak of a maturing body of knowledge with regard to social complexity. Working with my co-fellow, Lasse Gerrits, our current project at IAS takes stock of what has been achieved so far and offers an outlook for research directions. This endeavor will require us to look beyond our own discipline to understand what has been done elsewhere. The map of the complexity sciences that I created will be the starting point; an anthology on social complexity in the shape of a book will be the ultimate goal, published with Routledge’s handbook series.