Open Labs Initiative

As part of ESSA’s mission to encourage collaboration and education in social simulation, we have established the Open Labs Initiative to facilitate young researchers to undertake short visits to research groups doing social simulation in Europe. The idea is to provide the information needed to stimulate exchange. This page provides a list of hosts, their research focus and expections for research visits. Please use these descriptions to find a suitable host and organize an exciting ESSA Open Labs visit!

ESSA does not fund, regulate or control the visits!

Instructions for visitors

  • Use the information on hosts to contact a host institution to see if they would be willing to host you.
  • Please respect the host institution’s constraints, procedures and policies on hosting visitors.
  • Once you have arranged a visit, contact ESSA if you want to let us know about it. Tell us the dates, and who is visiting whom. Note: Arranging and participating in any visit is between you and the host. Sending us an email does not constitute confirmation that the host is willing to accept your visit.
  • After your visit, feel free to let us know how it went. Tell us who you are, whom you visited, why you chose them, what you did while you were there, any outcomes, and any feedback. Note that we may pass on feedback to the host.

Hosts

Becoming a OpenLabs host

If you are already listed as a host, please make sure your details are kept up-to-date, and contact the coordinator (e.j.l.chappin@tudelft.nl) with any changes. If you wish to be listed as a host, please contact the coordinator providing the following details:

  • Your institution, location and country;
  • A contact person in your host group. They must be a member of ESSA, or your group must be an institutional ESSA member.
  • A description of your group: who works on social simulation, and what the group uses it for (one paragraph max).
  • A brief description of what a typical research visit might look like, and the facilities you offer (one paragraph max).
  • The level of visitor you are willing to welcome (e.g. undergraduate, masters student, Ph. D. student, early-career post-doctoral researcher, …)
  • Any relevant educational programmes you offer.
  • Details of your procedures for visitors: how many visitors per year, any time-of-year or length-of-stay constraints, any criteria you have for selecting visitors.
  • Details of formal institutional procedures for visitors: any rules and regulations for your host institution (e.g. requirement to speak local language to specified qualification level, forms that need to be completed), visa requirements.
  • Typical costs of living (rent, transport, food).
  • Any funds you make available to support the visit.
  • Link to an institutional web page providing more information if you have such a page.

University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

  • Contact person: Andreas Koch
  • Research group: Social Geography Research Group at the Department of Geography and Geology. We are a small group offering quantitative (modelling and simulation) and qualitative (interviewing, discourse analysis) methodologies. We work on applications in the domains of social-spatial segregation in urban and regional contexts, agent-based network analysis and demographic change analysis in sparsely populated areas. A strong collaboration is given with the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics (in particular spatial simulation of ecological issues) at the University of Salzburg, and with the University of Umeå, Sweden, in demographic modelling of remote areas.
  • Research visit style: We offer 1-2 visits per year. Inscribed Master students can use our computer labs, for PhD students we offer a desk and access to the Internet.
  • Research visit type: PhD researchers and up are welcome for individual stays. Master level students may look into our educational programmes.
  • Educational programme: Our Master study in Geography comes with three core topics, one of which is Geographies of Uneven Development (Social and Economic Geography). The module “Social Disparities” offers an exercise course in “Modelling Geographical Systems” and a lecture course in “Modelling and Simulation” in joint collaboration with the Department of Geoinformatics.
  • Procedure details: Contact us with a relevant content idea so we can formulate a feasible solution.
  • Formalities: Either based on Erasmus partnership agreement or on internal agreement.
  • Costs: No tuition fee, accommodation is about 50 € p.n.
  • Funding: There is no direct funding available.
  • Website: General webpage

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Chair Technology and Innovation Sociology / Social Simulation, TISSS Lab, Institute of Sociology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Germany

  • Contact person: Petra Ahrweiler
  • Research group: The Technology & Innovation Sociology / Social Simulation Laboratory (TISSS Lab) at JGU combines empirical quantitative and qualitative social research with modelling and simulation. TISSS Lab allows empirical descriptions and analyses of social phenomena around technology and innovation using large structured and un-structured (BigData) datasets. It provides interactive databases and visualisations for flexible research questions. And it models, simulates and experiments with social scenarios of possible technology and innovation futures supporting impact assessment and ex-ante evaluation of potential developments. The portfolio of computational methods used includes statistics, information retrieval, computational discourse and document analysis, scientometrics/bibliometrics, social network analysis, data analytics, system dynamics, and agent-based modelling (ABM).
    Escpecially the latter is central for our lab approach. For our simulations, we use the agent-based simulation plaform SKIN – short for Simulating Knowledge Dynamics in Innovation Networks. Find further information on TISSS Lab here and details of our current team here
  • Research visit style: Projects need to relate to our thematic research profile requiring the particular research infrastructure of TISSS Lab. For effectively working with us, we offer specific methods training for our visitors (quantitative and qualitative methods of empirical research, social network analysis, agent-based modelling etc.). Furthermore, we support our researchers in publishing their research results in international scientific journals, in participating in scientific conferences, and in building their own research networks.
  • Research visit type: We welcome all levels of visitor (e.g. undergraduate, masters student, PhD student, early-career post-doctoral researcher etc.)
  • Educational programme: The Chair offers a full English-language teaching programme on Sociology of Technology and Innovation / Social Simulation. Most courses are open to registered visitors. They include in the Winter Term (October-February): Lecture “Introduction to Sociology of Technology and Innovation”; “Innovation Networks” and “Introduction to Social Simulation”; during the Summer Term (April-July), we regularly offer “Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Modelling”, “Knowledge Representation in Innovation Models” and “Introduction to the SKIN Model”. Furthermore, we have, during all terms, a standard exam colloquium for qualification theses (Master and PhD level) in our area, and a weekly chain lecture provided by all professors of our institute. Last but not least, Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) offers a broad range of courses open for international visitors organised by the JGU International Office, which can be looked up here
  • Procedure details: We prefer to have no more than two external visitors at time at TISSS Lab to ensure sufficient supervision and intensive knowledge exchange. The best time-of-year is during term time (Winter Term: October-February; Summer Term: April-July). There is no general rule for the length of stay; however, we prefer longer stays, which are usually most effective for both sides. We always wish to attract talent, especially excellent PhD and postdoc candidates highly motivated to locate their qualification project in the field of social simulation of technology and innovation, to our research group.
  • Formalities: Visitors need to have a high command of English, both oral and written, which is the language-in-use at our unit. Non-EU visitors must qualify for a research stay in Germany according to national law (visa etc.). However, we are prepared to help with formalities.
  • Costs: The standard rate for living costs at Mainz calculated by the JGU International Office is 850 EUR per month, which includes cheap accommodation, food, local transport, and other living costs. The closest airport to Mainz is Frankfurt International with a metro connection to Mainz main train station. Low-cost airlines such as Ryanair also use Frankfurt-Hahn airport, which serves a bus connection to Mainz. Mainz main train station is served by fast trains (ICE), and is walking distance to the university.
  • Funding: We offer our facilities (TISSS Lab) and the university resources made available by the JGU International Office for external visitors to support the stay. Furthermore, we will supply administrative support around preparing and organising the visit. Of course, supervision and education for furthering the research projects will be provided. Last but not least: a special asset at German universities is that there are no fees for registering as PhD students: interested candidates can discuss this opportunity in advance and during their stays.
  • Website: General webpage

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GECS Research Group, Department of Economics & Management, University of Brescia, Italy

  • Contact person: Flaminio Squazzoni
  • Research group: GECS Research Group on Experimental and Computational Sociology
  • Research visit style: We can provide a desk in the GECS PhD student rooms close to all faculty offices, library and internet access, for long or short periods of time.
  • Research visit type: Masters if there is a specific project of interest, PhD or above for any project involving experimental and ABM research, with an ideal focus on social behaviour, dynamics and processes.
  • Educational programme: GECS and Dept seminars, courses on English and Academic Writing, depending on the period. It is possible to admit visiting students to Dept of Economics & Management Master courses
  • Procedure details: Email us with a CV and some ideas for possible collaboration.
  • Formalities: Letter of invitation to be approved in a dept meeting (usually 1 month).
  • Costs: UNIBS can offer cheap accomodation in one of the universities residences (on average, 250 euros per month). Brescia is cheap for food and there is a mensa available for students.
  • Funding: Normally, we can’t fund PhD visiting students.
  • Website: http://gecs.unibs.it/, details on Brescia at http://www.turismobrescia.it/en

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Italian National Research Council (CNR), Rome, Italy

  • Contact person: Mario Paolucci
  • Research group: The Laboratory of Agent-Based Social Simulation (LABSS), part of the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) are a highly interdisciplinary research group working at the intersection of cognitive, social, and computational sciences (http://labss.istc.cnr.it/). We are looking for team players with a willingness to thrive in a highly interdisciplinary environment. The laboratory welcomes researchers from all countries and operates mainly in the context of EU-funded research. We focus on agent-based social simulation and on hybrid simulations (i.e., mix of experiments and simulations).
  • Research visit style: The typical research visit would last from 2 to 4 weeks (longer stays are possible if necessary, but this option has to be discussed well in advance). The LABSS offers a desk, internet and library access. Supervision for work that aligns with our interests, as well as a team of people to discuss social simulation with is also provided. Visitor is asked to: have a high command of English, both oral and written; have at least one presentation for the research group/Institute; participate in the relevant research group/Institute meetings and activities; write a short report at the end of the visit describing the outcome of the stay. Ideally, visits should be aimed to the writing of a joint paper.
  • Research visit type: We offer a limited number of visits per year (2-3). We welcome master students, PhD candidates, early-career post-doctoral researchers, any agent-based social simulation discussant/collaborator.
  • Educational programme: None
  • Procedure details: Visitors will be selected based on their CV and letter of intent, which, among others, has to explain the scope of the visit and the intended objectives of the stay.
  • Formalities: Visitor has to take contact in good time before the period of the planned visit, since some administrative issues has to be completed. Non-EU visitor must qualify for a research stay in Italy, according to national law (visa, etc.). Visitor has to provide accident insurance, issued by the Home University or directly by the visitor. We are ready to help with formalities.
  • Costs: Approximate values: rent 300 (room) to 800 (studio flat) euro/month (private market); transport 35 euro/(solar)month; food 300 euro/month (but possibly cheaper if shopping wisely). See also here.
  • Funding: There is no direct funding available.
  • Website: http://labss.istc.cnr.it

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TU Delft, Delft, the Netherlands

  • Contact person: Emile Chappin
  • Research group: Faculty Technology Policy and Management, Department of Engineering Systems and Services, Energy and Industry Group. TU Delft is an engineering university. At this faculty, a tradition of agent-based modelling is built up around decision making support of infrastructure systems: energy markets, consumer behavior, ports, etc. Agent-based modelling has a strong position in our research and education, and, in our department we combine this with a variety of other modelling techniques (discrete event simulation and system dynamics).
  • Research visit style: We offer a limited number of visits per year (2-3), depending on staff availability and relevance of topics. There should be a topic link to one of our researchers in order to make the visit a win-win situation.
  • Research visit type: PhD researchers and up are welcome for individual stays. BSc/MSc level students may look into our educational programmes (see below).
  • Educational programme: TU Delft offers various BSc level (Dutch) and MSc level courses on agent-based modelling. Some of them are available for free on TU Delft’s OpenCourseWare site.
  • Procedure details: Contact us with a relevant content idea so we can formulate a feasible situation.
  • Costs: Not cheap, typical Northern/Western European prices.
  • Formalities: Internal agreement needs to be arranged.
  • Funding: There is no direct funding available.
  • Website: department site

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University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

More information follows

  • Contact person: Wander Jager
  • Research group:
  • Research visit style:
  • Research visit type: Focus on implementaion of behavioral theory in agent-based models
  • Educational programme:
  • Procedure details:
  • Formalities:
  • Costs:
  • Funding:
  • Website: https://www.rug.nl/staff/departments/17996

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Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands

  • Contact person: Gert Jan Hofstede
  • Research group: Silico Centre Wageningen, Information Technology Group, Social Sciences. Wageningen University is part of 4TU, a university for Life Sciences. The Information Technology group researchers software engineering, knowledge engineering, and socio-technical systems. At Silico Centre, agent-based modelling research on complex adaptive systems in the life sciences is coordinated, and Summer Schools are held bi-annually.
  • Research visit style: We offer a limited number of visits per year (2-3), depending on staff availability and relevance of topics. There should be a topic link to one of our researchers.
  • Research visit type: PhD researchers and up are welcome for individual stays. BSc/MSc level students may look into our educational programmes (see below).
  • Educational programme: Wageningen university offers various BSc level (Dutch) and MSc level courses on agent-based modelling. Some of them are available for free on our EdX open courseware site.
  • Procedure details: Contact us with a relevant content idea so we can formulate a feasible situation.
  • Formalities: Internal agreement needs to be arranged.
  • Costs: Not cheap, typical Northern/Western European prices.
  • Funding: There is no direct funding available.
  • Website: department site, Silico site

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Norwegian College of Fisheries Science (NCFS), Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries, and Economics (BFE), University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), Tromsø, Norway

  • Contact person: Melania Borit
  • Research group: BRIDGE – Fisheries management, harvest technology, and biology. The research group BRIDGE carries out research within the following main areas: fisheries management; fisheries biology; marine ecology and oceanography; harvest technology. Several of the BRIDGE members work to some degree with agent/individual-based modelling (exploring animal behaviour, fisheries models, or possibilities of using qualitative data to inform agent-based models). However, the strength of NCFS (and BRIDGE) does not lie in agent-based modelling, but in the mono-, multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary expertise in fisheries. Thus, we welcome visitors whose main aim is to learn more about fisheries.
  • Research visit style: The typical research visit would last from 1 to 4 weeks (longer stays are possible if necessary, but this option has to be discussed well in advance). NCFS offers a desk, internet access, access to sources available through the UiT University Library, access to fisheries literature and fisheries experts from various domains: biology, ecology, technology, environmental economics, marketing, social sciences, law, history etc. The visitor will be asked to: have at least one presentation for the research group/department; participate in the relevant research group/department meetings and activities; write a short report at the end of the visit describing the outcome of the stay.
  • Research visit type: Focus Any (undergraduate, Master’s student, doctoral/ post-doctoral researcher, early-career researcher etc.). For Master’s students, from Autumn 2018 there might be the possibility of taking a mini research project course of 10 ECTS that it is possible to connect to the research stay. Visitors are allowed to follow the public sessions of almost any course at UiT, but they will not be allowed to take the exam, unless they are enrolled in the course.
  • Educational programme: None, but the International Fisheries Management Master’s program might be relevant.
  • Procedure details: We welcome maximum two visitors per semester, depending on staff availability and relevance of topics. We do not take visitors in May-August and December. Visitors will be selected based on their CV and letter of intent, which, among others, has to explain the scope of the visit and the intended learning objectives of the stay.
  • Formalities: The visitor has to take contact in good time before the period of the planned visit, as the contact person has to seek for approval of the visit from the NCFS leadership and take care of a number of administrative matters. The visitor will have to manage visa requirements and medical insurance issues by himself/herslef, as NCFS is not able to provide help with any of these.
  • Costs: Approximate values: rent – 500 (room) to 1000 (studio flat) euro / month (private market; if applied for in due time, UiT might be able to offer accommodation at better prices than the private market.); transport – 40 euro / month (period card for bus, unlimited number of travels); food – 400 euro / month (but possibly cheaper if shopping wisely).
  • Funding: There is no direct funding available. However, the visitor is welcome to participate in local tasks for which funding is available (e.g. data entry, report writing).
  • Website: NCFS

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Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland

  • Contact person: Bogumił Kamiński
  • Research group: Decision Analysis and Support Unit, we specialize in technical aspects of agent-based simulation, like: design and analysis of computer experiments, large scale simulations on massively distributed infrastructures; of particular interests for us is involvement in development of Julia programming language. However, we also do applied research (mostly economic and managerial agent-based simulation modelling).
  • Research visit style: We can provide a desk, library and internet access, for long or short periods of time. If arranged before arrival (requires grant request) we can provide access to HPC cluster (up to Okeanos machine)
  • Research visit type: masters, PhD, post-doc, any agent-based social simulation discussion/collaboration; preferred topics are design and analysis of simulation experiments, running simulations on massively parallel infrastructures and applications of Julia programming language.
  • Educational programme: 3 masters courses on simulation/ABM/HPC
  • Procedure details: Email us to negotiate, we are flexible – we have had people from 5 days up to 6 months.
  • Formalities: Depending on the sources of funding (espeially if additionally applying for EU grants). If no funding needed formalities are minimal
  • Costs: Accomodation can be got from around 20 EUR/night upwards. Food etc. from about 10 EUR/day a day. Warsaw has a very good public transport and a convinient access to the airport.
  • Funding: Most of our visitors apply for EU funding, our university has significant experience in supporting such applications.
  • Website: General website, see also Bogumił Kamiński’s website

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Linnaeus University, Växhjö, Sweden

  • Contact person: Giangiacomo Bravo
  • Research group: The group of people working on social simulation is small but dedicated. We are members of the computational social science group of the Centre for Data Intensive Sciences and Applications (DISA@LNU). We mainly work on applications of social simulation on environmental issues, commons/natural resource management, along with more abstract theoretical questions.
  • Research visit style: Visits can be anything from a few days to several months. Depending on the length, time and research topic of the visit, we can offer access to network, library and printing facilities, a desk, supervision for works that aligns with our interests, as well as a group of people to discuss social simulation with. In addition, we can offer high-performance computing facilities (of medium size: don’t expect thousands of cores).
  • Research visit type: Researchers from different disciplines and with different experience are welcomed for any social simulation discussion/collaboration. If staying longer than a few days, you’ll probably be asked to present your work in a seminar during your visit.
  • Educational programme: We offer a master-level introductory course in modelling and social simulation running in November-December (see here).
  • Procedure details: Contact us well in advance to discuss your potential visit. We are flexible over time and involvement of the local staff. The project/purpose of the visit would need to make sense.
  • Formalities:
  • Costs: Costs of living in Sweden are typically high, especially housing. University residences and small apartments may be available depending on the time of your staying (another reason to plan your visit in advance).
  • Funding: We do not typically have funds for visitors. However, check if you are eligible for scholarships on the Swedish Institute website.
  • Website: General webpage, see also Gianciacomo’s website

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Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Barcelona, Spain

  • Contact person: Josep Casanovas and Cristina Montanola-Sales
  • Research group: TThe goal of HPC modelling and simulation for social sciences group within BSC is to define future computational challenges to answer modelling of social sciences questions. To achieve this, we aim to exploring new HPC solutions for social modelling such as data storage, load balancing and optimization of fine-grain simulations besides developing a generic framework for simulation agent-based social dynamics to study the implications of this methodology in application areas such as epidemics, migrations or territorial urban planning.
  • Research visit style: We can provide a desk in our office with internet access, for long or short periods of time. Coffee and paper materials are provided for free.
  • Research visit type: No limitation if there is a specific project of interest.
  • Educational programme: BSC offers training through PRACE PATC . Additionally, we teach several BSc. and MSc. courses on simulation/HPC.
  • Procedure details: Contact us initially to discuss your potential visit, we are flexible on visits and stays.
  • Formalities: Need to negotiate your visit in time to make institutional arrangements (1-2 months)
  • Costs: No tuition fee, accommodation is about 60-100 € p.n., Food etc. from about 20 EUR/day a day. Public transport is cheap, including the access to the airport.
  • Funding: BSC offers several incoming mobility grants for visitors
  • Website: General webpage

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The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, UK

  • Contact person: Gary Polhill
  • Research group: The group of people working on social simulation at Hutton belong mainly to its Information and Computational Sciences Group, but also to the Social, Economic and Geographical Science Group. We work on applications of social simulation to land use, agriculture, energy and lifestyles, and are interested in theoretical foundations and methodology for social simulation.
  • Research visit style: Visits can be anything from a few days to several months. Depending on the nature of the visit, we can offer a desk and access to computing equipment, supervision for work that aligns with our interests, as well as a team of people to discuss social simulation with.
  • Research visit type: Previous visitors for longer stays have been at post-graduate (masters and Ph. D.) level, as part of their training, or to work in an ABM-friendly environment. Shorter stays are typically at post-doctoral / professorial level and entail collaboration or discussion on social simulation areas of mutual interest.
  • Educational programme: We don’t offer formal training courses.
  • Procedure details: Contact us initially to discuss your potential visit. There is no particular pattern to our availability over a typical year – for longer visits we will obviously not be available for discussion the whole time. Where there are constraints on our ability to host visitors, we’d prioritise those with interests most relevant to ours.
  • Formalities: The Institute has a formal procedure for visitors coming for longer than 2-3 days that needs to be completed well before the proposed arrival date. This procedure includes a requirement to demonstrate English-speaking skills (e.g. through IELTS certificate or similar qualification).
  • Costs: The Institute offers a reasonably-priced self-catering hostel on-site, but demand is high for this, and it has a maximum stay of three months. Otherwise, as Europe’s Energy Capital, accommodation costs in Aberdeen can be high due to competition with the oil industry. Allow for Scandinavian prices and you shouldn’t be shocked 🙂
  • Funding: We typically do not have funds available to support visitors’ costs; you will need to meet your food, accommodation and transport costs yourself.
  • Websites: Institute; Science Group; Gary Polhill

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Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

  • Contact person: Bruce Edmonds
  • Research group: Center for Policy Modelling
  • Research visit style: We can provide a desk in the CfPM (with the rest of us), library and internet access, for long or short periods of time.
  • Research visit type: Undergad or masters if there is a specific project of interest, PhD or above for any agent-based social simulation discussion/collaboration.
  • Educational programme: None
  • Procedure details: Email us to negotiate, we are flexible – we have had people from 5 days up to 12 months. The project/purpose of the visit would need to make sense.
  • Formalities: Need to negotiate your visit in time to make institutional arrangements (2 months).
  • Costs: Accomodation can be got from around €35 night upwards. Food etc. From about €20 a day.
  • Funding: For short stays in conjunction with a visiting lecture we might be able to cover a couple of nights+flight costs, but not normally.
  • Website: http://cfpm.org/, travel details at http://cfpm.org/contact/37/cfpm

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