balazs vedres

network scientist, associate professor, entrepreneur


I am a network scientist, founder and director of the Center for Network Science and associate professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, at Central European University.


My research furthers the agenda of understanding historical dynamics in network systems, combining insights from network science, economic sociology, historical sociology, and studies of complexity in physics and biology. My research findings were published in the top journals of sociology, with two recent articles in the American Journal of Sociology exploring the concept of structural folds: creative tensions in intersecting yet cognitively diverse cohesive communities. For the past ten years I was building an interdisciplinary center, the Center for Network Science at CEU, that is now becoming a department. I was building up the second PhD program in network science in the world. I am also an entrepreneur, co-founder of digital startups offering SaaS solutions based on network science and gamification. I had been translating my research outcomes into consulting for several business and government entities for the last twenty years.


My most recent research follows video game designers, jazz musicians, and software developers as they weave collaborative networks through their projects, recording sessions, repositories. I am answering questions about the sources of creativity, the significance of gender diversity, and the nature of gender inequality. At a more general level I am investigating the historical sustainability of innovation systems. I am also engaged in research that explores the networked evolution of the global economy in a monograph in the works for Cambridge University Press titled "Network Science of Economic Globalization."


Ph. D. in Sociology
Columbia University, New York


M. Sc.; Ph.D. studies in Economics and Sociology
Corvinus University, Budapest


B. A. in Economics and Sociology
Corvinus University, Budapest



Center for Network Science, Central European University

2008 - Current

Associate Professor
Center for Network Science and the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University

2008 - Current

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University

2004 - 2008


Elected to be member of the European Academy of Sociology.


Fulbright Visiting Scholar.
Northwestern University.


Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship.
European University Institute.


Roger V. Gould Prize.
Editorial Board, American Journal of Sociology.


Prize for Best Article.
European Academy of Sociology.


Viviana Zelizer Award for Best Article.
Economic Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.



Balazs Vedres.
"Forbidden triads and creative success in jazz: the Miles Davis factor."
Applied Network Science.

This article argues for the importance of forbidden triads – open triads with high-weight edges – in predicting success in creative fields. Forbidden triads had been treated as a residual category beyond closed and open triads, yet I argue that these structures provide opportunities to combine socially evolved styles in new ways. Using data on the entire history of recorded jazz from 1896 to 2010, I show that observed collaborations have tolerated the openness of high weight triads more than expected, observed jazz sessions had more forbidden triads than expected, and the density of forbidden triads contributed to the success of recording sessions, measured by the number of record releases of session material. The article also shows that the sessions of Miles Davis had received an especially high boost from forbidden triads.

Download paper from publisher


DeVaan, Mathijs, Balazs Vedres, and David Stark.
"Game Changer: The Topology of Creativity."
American Journal of Sociology.

What accounts for creative success when the unit of innovation is a team? We hypothesize that the effects of structural folding on game changing success are especially strong when overlapping groups are cognitively distant. We study the historical mechanisms of team reassembly in the video game industry. We collected data on 12,422 video games and the career histories of 139,727 video game developers.

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Bruszt, Laszlo, and Vedres Balazs.
"Associating, mobilizing, politicizing: local developmental agency from without."
Theory and Society, 42(1): 1-23.

Decades of increase in external aid programs sparked a wide range of criticisms pointing to misaligned interests, lack of accountability, and the reproduction of developmental traps. The success of development from without is more likely if it generates domestic developmental agency. In this article, we contribute by conceptualizing and measuring dimensions of this agency, and we analyze the strategic case of European Union regional development programs in Eastern Europe.

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Balazs Vedres, and Marco Scotti (editors).
Networks in Social Policy Problems.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.

Network science is the key to managing social communities, designing the structure of efficient organizations and planning for sustainable development. This book applies network science to contemporary social policy problems: innovation, corruption and institutional capture, governance of global finance, and transitions in the global economic system.

Link to the publisher


David Stark and Balazs Vedres.
"Political Holes in the Economy: The Business Network of Partisan Firms in Hungary."
American Sociological Review 77(5):700-722.

This article redirects attention from the question of how business ties have an impact on politics to the question of how political ties have an impact on business. Specifically, do divisions within the field of politics become divisions in the field of business networks? To study co-evolution of political and economic fields, we conducted a historical network analysis of the relationship between firm-to-party ties and firm-to-firm ties in the Hungarian economy.

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Research project

With a team of researchers at CEU CNS, we were exploring the sources of gender inequality in software developer teams, using data on more than eight million accounts on GitHub. We found that gendered choices of developers, rather than their gender category matters in success and survival.

Research project

Together with Mathijs De Vaan and David Stark we analyzed the career moves of hundreds of thousands of vide game developers, as they move from project to project in the history of video games. We found that creativity depends on overlapping communities with diverse experiences.

Co-founder, board member

Bondweaver provides network science tools to organizations to manage and empower their key bonds. I have been co-founder of Bondweaver, a science-tech startup offering software-as-service tools to automate organizational network analysis for change management, managerial promotion, mergers, customer service quality, restructuring. The products of Bondweaver range from managerial dashboards to simple and easy to deploy tools for small teams, democratizing networks knowledge in the organization.


Gravitalent developed a unique gamified solution to talent assessment, with an engaging online game, and a data science engine in the background, measuring more than 400 variables in real time. This solution enabled HR professionals to obtain rich behavioral data in about ten minutes, that otherwise can be obtained only by hours of traditional psychometric tests. The company was acquired by a major HR services platform.



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