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Catholic Advanced Analytics Center

Catholic Advanced Analytics Center

The Catholic Advanced Analytics Center (CAAC) aims to improve decision-making in the Catholic Church through data analytics and to facilitate spiritual growth for Catholics using new technology. It focuses on both global data collection (managing it as an asset) and the use of advanced data science techniques to extract insights that improve the faith experience. The CAAC identifies pressing issues that could be addressed using analytics and develops compelling use cases, including proof of concept, pilot, and roll-out. Another key goal is to build capabilities by providing training in analytics to church officials and theologians.

Research Projects

Current research projects include:

Synodal consultations (for the synod of bishops at the Vatican)

  • Listening to the concerns and experiences of Catholics across the globe.
  • Collecting a variety of data: (open-ended) survey data, focus group reports, and online social media data (multimodal: text, image, video).
  • Using Natural Language Processing and computer vision models to analyze collected data.

Designing a Catholic chatbot for the young generation

  • Construction of dedicated (Q&A) datasets to train a chatbot.
  • Using prompting, RAG, and fine-tuning to build a chatbot that has access to private documents.
  • Experimenting with different underlying base LLMs to assess accuracy and validity.

High school students: their struggles, attitudes towards faith/religion, and their continuation in higher education

  • Asking high school students questions about things they struggle with in their personal lives and how they deal with these problems.
  • Development of personalized, AI-powered messages to stimulate personal growth.
  • Repeated interactions and monitoring over time to study the effects of such interventions to stimulate growth

Prof. Dr. Martijn de Jong

Professor of Marketing Research at ESE

Biography of “Executive Director” prof. dr. Martijn de Jong:

Martijn de Jong is a professor of quantitative marketing at the Erasmus School of Economics, and formerly a visiting scholar at Columbia Business School and New York University. He has acted as a data science & artificial intelligence consultant for various companies in the market research, luxury & defense industries, for the Catholic Church, and also served as a legal expert witness.

His teaching focuses on global brand strategy and data science techniques, and he serves as the academic director of the master program in marketing. Methodological interests include market research techniques (conjoint analysis, survey methodology, computational text analysis), Bayesian statistics, and machine learning (deep learning). His substantive research interest lies in branding, the development of cross-national consumer behavior theories, sensitive consumer behavior, and consumer well-being.

He was named an MSI Young Scholar in 2009. Furthermore, he is the recipient of the 2020 American Marketing Association Global Marketing award, the 2015 Paul E. Green award for best paper in the Journal of Marketing Research, Tilburg University’s dissertation award 2007, the Johannes Cornelis Ruigrok award 2009, the ERIM outstanding young researcher award 2009, the Erasmus Research prize 2010, and the Christiaan Huygens award 2010.


Prof. dr. Martijn G. de Jong (professor of Marketing Research, Erasmus School of Economics)

Prof. dr. Paul van Geest (professor of Theology and Economic Thought, Erasmus School of Philosophy)

Dr. Cees van Halem (director, Erasmus Economics & Theology Institute)

Dr. Bill Banning (lecturer in theology and worldview, d’Outremont College)

Rev. Dr. Michel Remery MSc (director of DeoQuest, priest of the diocese of Rotterdam)