Dr Vyacheslav Polonski (@DrPolonski) is a UX researcher at Google specializing in human-centred machine learning and network science. As one of the Founding Fellows of Google’s PAIR Guidebook he helps teams around the world build inclusive AI products for everyone.

His DPhil thesis at the Oxford Internet Institute examined young people’s social media choices and behaviours in a multi-platform context. This research was funded by the ESRC and the German National Academic Foundation, which is Germany’s largest and most prestigious funding body. Previously, Vyacheslav completed the MSc in the Social Sciences of the Internet with Distinction and was a GSAS Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. During his BSc Management at LSE, he has also been a recipient of the LSE Stelios Scholarship and the Heinrich-Böll-Scholarship.

During his time at the OII, he was actively engaged in student life and worked as a Research Assistant on several projects. With training in sociology and social network analysis, Vyacheslav investigated the role of social media in political campaigns, such as the Brexit referendum in 2016 and the General Election in 2017. He also worked as a Teaching Assistant of the Social Dynamics of the Internet course and was accredited as Associate Fellow (AFHEA) of the Higher Education Academy. His volunteering activities in Oxford earned him the Vice-Chancellors’ Award and the inaugural Kellogg College Community Engagement and Academic Merit Award.

In 2018, Vyacheslav was featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for his entrepreneurial work on the personalisation of democracy. He was also selected as one of Germany’s Top 30 Innovators and Influencers under 30 by the German edition of Forbes magazine. Along with his other accolades, Vyacheslav was selected as one of 100 Visionary Leaders Under 30 alongside the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Vyacheslav is an active member of the World Economic Forum having participated in multiple conferences as a Global Shaper (2015, 2016, 2017) and member of the WEF Expert Network (2017, 2018). Recently, he was invited to the European Parliament to debunk common myths about millennials, machine learning and AI. His other past speaking engagements included conferences in the UK, USA, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Canada, China and the UAE.

Vyacheslav’s research and commentary have been highlighted in the media, including in The Independent, Forbes, Newsweek, Euronews, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Scientific American and The New York Times.

Research interests

UX research, network science, social network analysis, online communities, user behaviour, group dynamics, social interaction, big data, social media, network effects, knowledge networks, information diffusion, product adoption, machine learning, artificial intelligence

Positions held at the OII
– DPhil student, October 2013 – December 2017
– MSc Student, October 2012 – August 2013

Supervisors at the OII
– Dr Bernie Hogan


Conference papers

  • Polonski, V.W. and Hogan, B. (2015) "Assessing the structural correlates between friendship networks and conversational agency in Facebook groups", Proceedings of the Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media,. Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. 674-677.



  • 30 Under 30 Europe 2018

    24 January 2018 Forbes

    Oxford Internet Institute DPhil student Vyacheslav Polonski announced as one of Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 for 2018.

  • Is Social Media Destroying Democracy?

    5 August 2016 Newsweek

    Today's citizens have the power to assemble online and it's disrupting traditional political systems, says Vyacheslav Polonski.

  • The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed

    4 August 2016 World Economic Forum

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski says that the internet has rewired civil society, propelling collective action into a radically new dimension. Democracy is now not only exercised at the ballot box, but lived and experienced online on a day-to-day basis.

  • Social Networks Could Predict the Next Brexit

    30 June 2016 Bloomberg

    In an article analyzing the Instagram activity that preceded the EU Referendum, Vyacheslav Polonski, of Oxford University, found that "leave" supporters far outnumbered and were more active than "remainers."

  • Impact of social media on the outcome of the EU referendum

    30 June 2016 EU Referendum Analysis 2016

    Social media has changed the nature of political campaigning and will continue to play a key role in future elections around the world, says Vyacheslav W. Polonski in a discussion of the impact of social media on the outcome of the EU referendum.

  • Views from Oxford on the EU referendum result

    28 June 2016 Oxford Today

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski gives his response to the EU referendum result, discussing the role of social media role in the debate.

  • ‘Brexit’ Talk on Social Media Favored the ‘Leave’ Side

    24 June 2016 New York Times

    DPhil student Vyacheslav Polonski has published a study of Brexit campaigns’ activity on Instagram. He analyzed the activities of over 15,000 users who engaged in the referendum debate, finding that E.U. skeptics and Brexit supporters dominate.

  • Live Coverage: E.U. Referendum: Britain Votes to Leave

    24 June 2016 ACQ5

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski, says the campaign to leave routinely outmuscled its rival, with more vocal and active supporters across almost all social media platforms.

  • EU referendum — views from Oxford

    24 June 2016 University of Oxford

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski gives his response to the EU referendum result, discussing the role of social media role in the debate.

  • Klauwen uit voor Europa

    22 June 2016 Trouw

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski is quoted on the impact of social media on the EU Referendum.

  • Partidários do Brexit levam vantagem em ofensiva on-line, dizem analistas

    21 June 2016 O Globo

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski is quoted on the impact of social media on the EU Referendum.

  • #Nofilter debate: Brexit campaigners dominate on Instagram

    9 June 2016 The Conversation

    Instagram is where some of the most interesting EU referendum campaigning is playing out, says Vyacheslav W. Polonski.

  • Is it ‘workin’? Social media playing key role in referendum battle

    26 May 2016 BBC News

    The battle between the Remain and Leave sides in the EU referendum is in full swing and social media is being used by both camps to try to win the race. Research by Vyacheslav W. Polonski is referenced.

  • How Well Does China Embrace the Internet?

    10 September 2015 Huffington Post

    OII doctoral student, Vyacheslav Polonski, explores the use of the internet in China. Using recent data on the diffusion and adoption of the web he concludes there are many reasons to be optimistic about China's internet growth.

  • Die Macht der sozialen Netzwerke

    25 August 2015 Der Tagesspeigel

    Vyacheslav W. Polonski discusses social influence, one of the most cited and yet least understood concepts in strategy and public policy today.