NWO Roadmap Grant for Digital Infrastructure Social Sciences and Humanities

The collaboration between ODISSEI (Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations) and CLARIAH (Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities) and fifteen national partners has been awarded a Dutch Research Council (NWO) Large-scale Research Infrastructure Grant of €15.2 million. This new collaboration, Social Science and Humanities Open Cloud for the Netherlands (SSHOC-NL) will make it possible for researchers to securely and ethically link and analyse a huge range of data such as historical records, textual data, images, survey data, and social media data. This will help researchers address some of the most pressing issues that society faces such as polarisation, social inequalities, and environmental changes. SSHOC-NL builds the digital infrastructure to help researchers do that.


SSHOC-NL enables the further development of ODISSEI and CLARIAH. As two broad and successful digital infrastructures they want to open up new lines of research of considerable societal interest. While the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) cover a vast variety of domains, ranging from economics and sociology to linguistics and history, the infrastructural needs are largely unique to SSH as a whole, such as a need for secure and flexible analytical environments to analyse sensitive data and artefacts. By aligning innovations, such as the creation of this secure environment, SSHOC-NL can develop a digital infrastructure that is interoperable, allowing its data, tools and services to be shared, linked, and combined in imaginative and ground-breaking ways.

SSHOC-NL is an internationally unique effort, and an exciting one. The social sciences and humanities have joined forces to provide researchers with the computational skills, enriched data and secure services that will help them analyse societal transformations, crises and divides in ways that were impossible before. I am therefore very pleased with this wonderful grant that makes it possible to achieve this.

– Pearl Dykstra, Scientific Director ODISSEI

Focus on Social Issues

The interoperable infrastructural ecosystem SSHOC-NL will open up a great variety of foreseen and unforeseen interdisciplinary research lines. Three examples are:

Polarisation – By combining state-of-the-art insights from joint digital humanities and social science research, it is possible to truly understand how the simultaneous discourse in both traditional media outlets and new digital platforms develop and shape individuals’ attitudes, values and behaviour.

Social Inequalities – The Social Sciences and Humanities hold data on both historical and contemporary inequalities and taken together can help researchers understand how these are reinforced through time and reflected across society. 

Environmental Change – The rapid increase in computational power available for the analysis of geospatial data on individuals through the ODISSEI Secure SuperComputer (OSSC) allows researchers to combine geospatial data with historical data and data on local environmental policy to develop further new insights into the determinants and consequences of environmental change.

Social theory exerts a profound influence on the humanities, and the methods of humanities are constantly innovating social sciences. SSHOC-NL will start building the infrastructural foundation to consolidate these relations and create the conditions for groundbreaking new research. I am delighted about the NWO grant that makes this possible.

Dirk van Miert, Principal Investigator CLARIAH


ODISSEI – Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations is the national infrastructure for social sciences in the Netherlands. It consists of 47 paying member organisations, including social sciences and economics faculties, public research agencies and institutes like the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and CBS. 

Pearl Dykstra, Full Professor of Empirical Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, is Scientific Director of ODISSEI. ODISSEI is housed by the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

CLARIAH – Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities is a world-leading infrastructure in the field of humanities and incorporates KNAW and Humanities faculties from across the Netherlands. It services a diverse range of sub-fields including linguistics, media studies, socio-economic history, and literature. 

Dirk van Miert, Director of the Huygens Institute for History and Culture of the Netherlands and Associate Professor of Early Modern Cultural History at Utrecht University, is Principal Investigator of CLARIAH. CLARIAH is housed at the KNAW Huygens Institute.

Fifteen partners

SSHOC-NL consists of fifteen Dutch partners:

  • Centerdata
  • Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
  • Dutch Language Institute (INT)
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)
  • Huygens Institute
  • International Institute of Social History (IISG)
  • Meertens Institute
  • National Library (KB)
  • Statistics Netherlands (CBS)
  • SURF
  • The Netherlands Institute for Conservation+Art+Science+ (NICAS)
  • The Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision (NISV)
  • University of Amsterdam (UvA)
  • Utrecht University (UU)
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

About NWO Roadmap

The National Roadmap for Large-scale Research Infrastructures programme enables the construction or renovation of research facilities with an international appeal. Large scale infrastructures are essential to the position of Dutch science and make a significant contribution to innovation and to solving major social issues relating to environment, climate, health and civilization.

More information

Marjolein Kooistra, EUR-ESSB Press officer

odissei-data.nl / clariah.nl

Relevant links