The HUMAN Project

For the first time ever we are now able to quantify the human condition using rigorous science and big data approaches to understand what makes us well and what makes us ill by measuring the feedback mechanisms between biology, behavior, and our environment in the bio-behavioral complex. The HUMAN Project will be the first true study of all of the factors that make humans…human.


To elucidate novel insights into human health and behavior only achievable through the interdisciplinary analysis of a large dataset of measurements collected on a large cohort over the span of decades, and translate that research into evidenced-based public policies when possible. The HUMAN Project will measure as many aspects as possible of 10,000 New York City resident volunteers in approximately 2,500 households to accomplish this, and in doing so enable the development of new theories, therapeutics, and policy recommendations currently unattainable through traditional studies of human beings.


What are the roots of human behavior and how does it impact our health? How do we make decisions, and what forces shape those decisions? How can we apply what we learn about human health and behavior to inform and improve public policy to make it more effective? The HUMAN Project (formerly known as the Kavli HUMAN Project) aims to better understand the complex, interwoven, causative roots of human health and behavior using interdisciplinary big data analytics. We propose to gather diverse information about a large set of families within a major metropolitan area at an unprecedented level of breadth and detail. This study will provide new insights and understanding into how our biology, our environment, and our behavior interact to determine our health. The HUMAN Project is the first truly comprehensive large-scale survey intended to characterize the major forces that shape the human condition. Data sets will be gathered from medical records, genetic and microbiome data, patterns of physical activity, psychological profiling, educational tracking, economic activity, employment, geolocation and environmental sensors, and social networks for 10,000 people living in New York City.


The HUMAN Project website provides an in-depth look at all aspects of the endeavor, including the latest news, highlights and developments, as well as background information on the goals and methods behind the project.

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Behind the Scenes of an Audaciously Ambitious Social-Science Project -
In 2017, researchers at New York University will begin to assemble a similarly massive database with the Kavli HUMAN Project, an audaciously ambitious study that will track the biology and behavior of 10,000 New Yorkers for the next 20 years.

Your Data Footprint Is Affecting Your Life In Ways You Can't Even Imagine - Fast Company
Job decisions, college admissions, health care decisions: All are now being fundamentally altered by your big data, and you might not even know.

Big Data to provide unprecedented insights on health and behavior - EurekAlert
The Kavli HUMAN Project (KHP) will use Big Data approaches to aggregate and analyze a variety of measurements gathered over 20 years on 10,000 individuals in roughly 2,500 households in New York City to determine how human health and behavior co-evolve over the lifecycle.


The HUMAN Project was initiated by The Kavli Foundation in 2014, in partnership with New York University’s Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Decision Making.