22 February 2024

Social networks explored in new SODAS project


How do social networks actually emerge and how do different social behavioural strategies affect their structure? This is what Josefine Bohr Brask will explore with the support of a large grant from Novo Nordisk.

People in silhouette form wander around and meet.
Photo: Mario Purisic, Unsplash

Social networks play an important role for both humans and animals. They are therefore of great scientific interest.

"Our social networks affect our health and well-being - and ultimately our survival. And they play a crucial role in the spread of diseases and information," emphasises postdoc Josefine Bohr Brask, who is affiliated with SODAS.

In a new project supported by a Data Science Emerging Investigator grant from Novo Nordisk of DKK 8.5 million, she will investigate the emergence and significance of social network structures.

"A central question about social networks is how the complex structures emerge as a result of the behavioural strategies individuals use to select their social partners," she says and elaborates:

"Answering this question is crucial for understanding social systems and for predicting their response to future societal and environmental challenges."

Developing new methods

Social networks refer to the pattern of social connections between individuals in a population.

"For example, the friendships between children in a school class, the grouping patterns of a pod of dolphins and the social interactions within a group of chimpanzees can be described as a social network. Each node in the network is an individual, while the links are their social connections," explains Josefine Bohr Brask.

In the project, she will develop and use new methods for the study of networks in two main methodological areas: statistical analysis of network data and simulation of networks via computer algorithms (generative network modelling).

"We hope that with these new methods we can strengthen network research and increase our understanding of how social network structures emerge," she says.


Josefine Bohr Brask
Postdoc, SODAS
Mail: jbbrask@bio.ku.dk 
Phone: +45 35 32 85 04

Simon Knokgaard Halskov
Press and communications officer
Mail: sih@samf.ku.dk 
Phone: +45 93 56 53 29


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