UCL Social Data Institute


Meet the Team

James smiling

Academic Director

James Cheshire is the inaugural director of the institute and is Professor of Geographic Information and Cartography in the Department of Geography. He has been heavily involved in the expansion of data science teaching within the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences and across the university. His research focuses on visualisation and analysis of new forms of data for the study of social science and he is co-author of the critically acclaimed books London: The Information Capital, Where the Animals Go and Atlas of the Invisible. James is the recipient of a number of major awards from the Royal Geographical Society, The American Association of Geographers, The North American Cartographic Information Society and British Cartographic Society.   


Institute Manager

Moira Hague is the first point of contact for matters relating to the Social Data Institute, working closely with the Academic Director. She is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day running of the Institute including; events, press and social media, website and office administration, HR and finance as well as supporting strategic initiatives and helping to grow the internal and external profile of this new unit.


Deputy Director: Education

Tom O'Grady is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science. His research uses advanced quantitative and computational methods to analyse political discourse and public opinion data. He recently published a book on British welfare reforms since the 1980s, analysing the relationship between discourse and opinion. He has also written about the under-representation of working-class people in British politics and the foundations of popular support for redistribution and welfare. An experienced and award-winning teacher of quantitative methods and data science he is a core member of Q-Step, designing and teaching their cutting-edge data science curriculum to undergraduates in the social sciences. 


Deputy Director

Néstor Castañeda is Associate Professor of Latin American Political Economy in the Institute of the Americas. He is a political economist who studies the politics of inequality and redistribution in developing economies. His current research seeks to understand the difficulties of making taxation more efficient and progressive in developing countries. His research also aims to understand the macro and micro-level factors explaining the resilience of inequality in Latin America. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Latin American Economics, Political Economy of Economic Development, and Social Science Research Methods. 


Deputy Director

Lars Nesheim is a Professor of Economics at UCL and Co-Director of the Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice (cemmap). He teaches industrial organization, econometrics and urban economics. His research interests focus on structural econometrics, computational economics, industrial organization, urban economics, economic dynamics and hedonic models. He is an academic advisor to the Competition Commission, to OFCOM, and to KPMG.


Lecturer in Social Data Science

Igor Tkalec is a Lecturer in Social Data Science at UCL. His research interest intersects political economy, social policy, and research methods with an emphasis on data science. His current research focuses on data storytelling and the utility of machine learning models for answering pressing social issues. He has taught social science research design, introduction to statistics and econometrics, data storytelling, and international political economy.