From the evening of Sunday, June 9, to the morning of Friday, June 21, 2019, the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) sponsored the 3rd Summer Institute in Social-Science Genomics, held at the Pepper Tree Inn in Santa Barbara, California.

The purpose of this two-week workshop was to introduce graduate students and beginning faculty in economics, sociology, psychology, statistics, genetics, and other disciplines to the methods of social-science genomics—the analysis of genomic data in social science research. The program included interpretation and estimation of twin and family studies; the biology of genetics, gene expression, and epigenetics; design and analysis of genetic-association studies; analysis of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions; genetic estimation and use of polygenic scores; environmental pathways for genetic associations; ethical issues in social-science genomics; as well as applications of genomic data in the social sciences.

The co-organizers and principal faculty of the Summer Institute were Daniel Benjamin (University of Southern California), David Cesarini (NYU), and Patrick Turley (Harvard-MIT Broad Institute), who were in attendance for the full program. Visiting faculty included Silvia Barcellos (University of Southern California), Jonathan Beauchamp (University of Toronto), Dalton Conley (NYU), Tõnu Esko (University of Tartu and Harvard-MIT Broad Institute), Kathryn Paige Harden (University of Texas-Austin), Matt Keller (University of Colorado Boulder), James Lee (University of Minnesota), Philipp Koellinger (Vrije University University Amsterdam), Michelle Meyer (Geisinger Health System), and Aysu Okbay (Vrije University Amsterdam).


The 2019 workshop schedule can be found here.


The instructional program was highly quantitative. Participants were instructed to come prepared to engage with both mathematical derivation and computational analysis. Participants were expected to learn relevant software packages and solve problem sets throughout the workshop. The schedule was designed to provide opportunities for students to discuss their ideas and research with the organizers, visiting faculty, and other participants.



Participation was restricted to Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, and untenured faculty within 10 years of the Ph.D. Most participant costs during the workshop, including housing and most meals, were covered, and a capped travel stipend (covering most, but not all, of anticipated travel costs) was also provided. Participants were required to complete one problem set in advance, and to fully attend and participate in all sessions of the program.


The Summer Institute in Social-Science Genomics is an initiative of the Russell Sage Foundation and its Biology and Social Science Working Group. It is co-sponsored with the JPB Foundation.