Sondre Ulvund Solstad


I write for The Economist as Senior Data Journalist. I write data-driven articles, as well as models, algorithms and simulations.

Since starting at the paper in February 2020, my work has been cited by the New York Times, CNN, Wired, Foreign Policy, BBC World News, Le Monde, Nature, Der Spiegel, National Geographic, the UN, WHO, World Bank, in the annual lecture of the Royal Medical Society in the UK, and been made the subject of a documentary short by Vox. Two of my projects, “The covid-19 risk estimator” and “The pandemic’s true death toll” have featured semi-permanently on top of The Economist home page, and my article “Tracking the stealthy killer” was named among “the best data journalism of the pandemic so far” by the Press Gazette.

For my work covering the pandemic, I was shortlisted for “Data Journalist of the Year 2020” by the Society of Editors. My model of global excess deaths was shortlisted for “Innovation of the Year” at the British Journalism Awards. I am currently, upon invitation, advising the World Health Organization on how to best model the pandemic through the TAG working group on excess deaths.

Previously, I researched and taught international relations, formal and quantitative methods, and comparative political economy at Princeton University.

Broadly, my interests center on technology, innovation, and the role of money and other resources in political competition. But I am interested in almost everything: if you have and idea, analysis or data you think should be covered, let me know. I am especially interested in information which can inspire action.

I received my doctorate from Princeton University in 2019 for the dissertation “The Political Causes and Consequences of New Technology” (committee chair: Helen V. Milner). In this work, I considered the ways new technology change countries’ international relations, domestic politics, and economic fortunes. For this and other work, I was in 2018 and again in 2019 awarded the Fellowship of Woodrow Wilson Scholars, for outstanding research in the public interest among PhD students at Princeton University. As preceptor at the university, I assisted in instruction of Statistics, Bayesian Machine Learning (both PhD level), and International Relations (B.A.).

I studied International Relations (B.A.) at New York University, Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Mandarin Chinese at Peking University. In the Fall of 2013, I was the inaugural intern of GiveDirectly, a US-based non-profit. Prior to my studies, I served as a conscript in the North Brigade of the Norwegian Army.

In my spare time, I continue my academic research, and write opinion pieces for other publications.

In addition to understanding things, I enjoy jazz, watching pro MOBA and chess, coffee, reading philosophy, the detective show “Day and Night”, and travel.

I live in London, UK.

I can be reached at: