IQSS starts new program for research on ‘extraordinary claims’

CGIS Knafel building.

The CGIS Knafel building. Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

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The Institute for Quantitative Social Science has launched a program called “Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence” to help Harvard faculty develop research and evidence in support of claims that may be contrarian or unstudied.

In a recent announcement about the program, organizers emphasized the ECEE program’s support of “advancing scientific advancement through high-risk research.” They added that “IQSS aims to catalyze rigorous research that will move the dominant position of the scientific community the farthest distance” and plans to support work that could alter accepted or dominant views in a given field or discipline within the social sciences.

ECEE offers technical assistance, access to space, staff support, funding, and extensive research infrastructure for successful applicants who are Harvard ladder faculty conducting research with a social science component.

“Participants are encouraged to make use of any part of IQSS research infrastructure that will help strengthen their extraordinary claim,” said Steven Worthington, data science services manager and senior data scientist at IQSS.

Worthington added that future possibilities for program participants may include “building out research efforts as an IQSS scientific program, with extensive research and administrative services or space, or using IQSS incubation services, under which many research projects have become ongoing scientific programs, independent programs elsewhere at Harvard, external nonprofits, and commercial startups.”

“Through the Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence program, we aim to support researchers seeking to change our common understanding of the world in ways we do not now perceive,” said Gary King, Weatherhead University Professor and IQSS director. “Leveraging the extensive research infrastructure at IQSS, this program will equip researchers to develop the empirical basis necessary to challenge conventional understandings and turn blind spots into new areas for understanding.”