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ERC Consolidator Grant for further development of new research methods for the social sciences

Published: 01st February 2023 Last updated: 02nd February 2023

Joris Mulder (Department of Methodology and Statistics) is the recipient of a Consolidator Grant awarded by the European Research Council (ERC). With this two million euro project, Joris will improve and further develop innovative research methods for challenging research problems for nonlinear social science. The new methods will allow his team, and in the end the scientific community as a whole, to get a deeper and more nuanced understanding of complex nonlinear mechanisms between variables and about complex nonlinear processes over time. These methods will for instance result in novel insights about peoples’ well-being around stressful life events or about nonlinear integration processes of new workers in organizations. The methods also aim to make better predictions about behavior and about social interactions in the future.

Joris Mulder: "Researchers in the social sciences are aware that people's life courses do not develop in a linear manner and that the outcome of research often depends on human perception. Technological innovations are in full swing, producing rich, extensive and complex data. However, the research methods used to process these data are often outdated."

Joris Mulder MTO

"Within this project, we will develop advanced Bayesian statistical methods to study nonlinear phenomena in social science research. After this project, we will be able to better understand complex nonlinear mechanisms, learn how these mechanisms evolve over time, and make more accurate predictions, for example, about people's well-being after stressful life events."


The project, entitled “Bayesian Gaussian Processes. Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nonlinear Social Science”, involves researchers from both inside and outside Tilburg University, including Dorien Kooij and Marc van Veldhoven (HR Studies at Tilburg University), Jaap Denissen and Ellen Hamaker (Utrecht University), Roger Leenders (Tilburg University, JADS), Jemery Oakley (University of Sheffield, UK), Eric-Jan Wagenmakers (University of Amsterdam) and Rick Aalbers (Radboud University). Among other things, these professors contribute with their substantive expertise on the impact of stressful "life events" such as divorces, job loss, or lockdowns due to a pandemic, on employee well-being changing over time (e.g., due to burnout), and on the integration processes of new employees in large organizations while taking into account cultural differences.

About the ERC Consolidator grant

ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to promising scientists to continue their innovative research. The grant amounts up to two million euros and can be used to finance a research team and support staff. Read the press release by the European Research Council.