Who We Are

History

Volunteer Science was invented in 2012 by David Lazer and Waleed Meleis, two professors at Northeastern University who were trying to perform online network experiments. They wanted to try to use experiments created by other labs but found their code to be too idiosyncratic and many of the dependencies already out of date. They realized they needed to build their own studies from scratch and decided early on that they would make their studies reproducible and sharable with other labs. At the same time, crowdsourcing and citizen science had begun taking off with ReCAPTCHA, Galaxy Zoo, and Fold.it building off the success of the SETI@home project. David and Waleed recognized that if scientists could capture a tiny fraction of the billions of hours a day people spend playing online games, behavioral researchers would never want for subjects again.

In 2013, David and Waleed met Jeff Hoye through a mutual friend. An expert in distributed computing and serial entrepreneur, Jeff built and launched VolunteerScience.com in 2013 as a research project at Northeastern University. A year later, Jason joined the project to lead the validation study and manage its operations. In the ensuing, six years, over 100 researchers have used Volunteer Science to recruit over half a million participants in 1,000 experiments.

In 2019, Volunteer Science was transitioned out of Northeastern University and into Volunteer Science Inc, a C-corporation dedicated to ensuring the survival of the technology.

Leadership

Jason Radford, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Jason has been running Volunteer Science since 2014 where he led the validation of the platform, oversaw $5 million in research funding through the platform, and helped transition the technology from Northeastern University into Volunteer Science Inc. Jason is a graduate of the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Chicago where he studied organizational effectiveness and computational sociology.

Jeff Hoye

Chief Architect

Jeff is a software developer and serial entrepreneur. Jeff has founded five companies that have raised over $20 million dollars. His expertise is in distributed systems, computer graphics, and android apps. In his spare time, he's developing a physics based MMO called Neptune Live.

David Lazer, Ph.D.

Board Member

David is a political scientist at Northeastern University, leading figure in computational social science, and a founder of VolunteerScience.com, whose research has been published in top scientific journals ranging from Science to the American Political Science Review, and been covered in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, ABC news, NPR, among many other outlets.

Waleed Meleis, Ph.D.

Board Chair

Waleed is associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University. He is a founder of the Volunteer Science framework and has published more than 45 papers in peer-reviewed conferences and journals. Projects under his supervision have been profiled by CNN, PC World, Engadget, Forbes, Herald News, and TechNews.