IDSS is part of the cross-disciplinary Schwarzman College of Computing and draws faculty from every school at MIT. We are uniquely positioned to organize research around complex societal challenges, leveraging technical knowledge, data analysis, policy expertise, and social science methodology.

In addition to the many projects and efforts of IDSS faculty, research staff, and students, we have organized some research groups to explore particular subjects.

Initiative on Combatting Systemic Racism (ICSR)

The Initiative on Combatting Systemic Racism aims to launch and coordinate cross-disciplinary research on how to identify and overcome racially discriminatory processes across a range of American institutions and policy domains. The effort brings together faculty and researchers from all five schools and the Schwarzman College of Computing at MIT, as well as partner institutions.

Building on the extensive social science literature on systemic racism, the Initiative’s focus is to use big data to develop and harness computational tools that can help effect structural and normative change towards racial equity.

IDSS Covid-19 Collaboration (Isolat)

In March of 2020, as Covid-19 cases were surging worldwide, IDSS organized a volunteer, interdisciplinary team to provide analysis of data associated with the coronavirus pandemic in order to inform policy makers. The IDSS Covid-19 Collaboration brought together faculty, postdocs, and students from across IDSS, MIT, and around the globe.

Isolat research findings had a local, national, and global impact. As MIT navigated the process of bringing students back to campus, Isolat research informed MIT re-opening policy with systems thinking and data analysis. Isolat research has been shared with other colleges and with governments both local and global.

Isolat research also led to the development of an online tool to help organizations implement successful strategies for Covid-19 testing: the Covid-19 Testing Impact Calculator at

Research to Policy Engagement Initiative

The Research to Policy Engagement Initiative, launched by the Technology and Policy Program, aims to bring scientific and technical knowledge to bear to inform solutions to complex policy problems. The initiative connects policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers from diverse disciplines.

The initiative also supports the work of students and postdocs working at the intersection of technology and policy through fellowships and research assistantships.

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Cambridge, MA 02139-4307