30 September 2020

Professor of social data is appointed Prorector

New Prorector

Professor David Dreyer Lassen will take up a new position as Prorector at the University of Copenhagen on 1 January 2021. He will be in charge of research, innovation and overall relations with foundations and businesses.

Professor David Dreyer Lassen
The University's coming Prorector for Research, David Dreyer Lassen, comes from a position as professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen and chair of the Independent Research Fund Denmark. Photo: The Independent Research Fund Denmark.

Professor David Dreyer Lassen, 46, is the new Prorector for Research at the University of Copenhagen. The Rector, backed by the Board, has appointed him for a five-year period.

David Dreyer Lassen comes from a position as professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen and chair of the Independent Research Fund Denmark. He is Deputy Director of the Danish National Research Foundation's Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality, and he has founded the Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS) of which he is currently the director. The Centre combines computer science and social science. Dreyer Lassen was awarded the EliteForsk Prize in 2016 and has received large grants from the Danish Council for Independent Research, the European Research Council and the Villum Foundation.

An eye for research – and sustainability

As Prorector for Research, David Dreyer Lassen will be part of the University's senior management.

David Dreyer Lassen will chair the University of Copenhagen's Research and Innovation Council, which is responsible for identifying, pursuing and supporting the University's strategic development in research, innovation, research training and business partnering. This concerns relations to both policy-makers and foundations. He will have a specific management responsibility for Research & Innovation, a department in the University’s central administration.

“David is an internationally recognised high-level scholar with a research area that is both interdisciplinary and radically new. He has management experience from the University and has been part of establishing a new English-language programme. I'm looking forward to having him on board in our day-to-day management," Rector Henrik C. Wegener says.

Wegener points out that, among other things, Dreyer will be tasked with ensuring the development of basic research that is driven by pure curiosity and the more focused problem-and solution-oriented research relating to major societal challenges  such as green technologies and sustainable development.

Big data nerd

David Dreyer Lassen's field of research is 'big data'; the huge and complex data volumes that exist in the high-tech world as well as the tools and processes that are needed to handle and exploit the data. The Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS) works more specifically with'social big data’ – the often unstructured data from large and fast-growing digital databases of information, on social media platforms, in electronic payment systems, via website traffic, in GPS devices and digital cameras – everything that people do or write and which leaves a digital footprint.

“Knowledge will only become more important. As an institution, the university is a crucial producer and communicator of new knowledge that tells us new things about ourselves and the world around us. In many ways UCPH contributes to setting the direction for the Danish society through its well-educated graduates with a good research-based degree, joint expertise at the highest level, concrete solutions and new insights," David Dreyer Lassen says, and continues:

"I look forward to being part of reinforcing the University of Copenhagen as an influential creator of new knowledge within – and across – all of the main subject areas to the benefit of the Danish society and the international world of research. There must be room for experimental ideas and difficult questions, both those that address the challenges of tomorrow and those that give rise to future research and development.”