One of my primary motivations to become an academic was that I love teaching.
Since I finished my Habilitation in January 2010, I have also been formally allowed to take on PhD students. This experience is very rewarding and I am very lucky to be supervising a few very talented early-career researchers.
I think of a PhD thesis as a project that needs to be planned, monitored and quality-checked. Once I am convinced that someone has some doable ideas, has proven him or herself in other contexts, shows analytical skills and has the self-discipline to work on his or her own for several years, I regularly meet with my PhD students, agree with them on milestones of their work and advise them about their projects. My PhD students and I agree on morally binding rules and project plans that are revised at least every 12 months. I adhere to the recommendations set out in the best-practice paper by the PhD-completion-interest organisation THESIS and the German Professorial Association DHV.

I regularly teach workshops to professionalise PhD students, such as on publishing in peer-reviewed journals and on attending conferences.

Track record

6 completed PhDs as primary supervisor

1 completed PhD as joint supervisor

1 completed Habilitation as primary mentor

external examination for Habilitation completed (Univ of Hamburg, Univ of Cologne)

6 ongoing PhDs as primary supervisor


2016-2020, I mentored  Prof. Dr. habil. Sabrina Jasmin Mayer for her Habilitation at the University of Duisburg-Essen, which she successfully defended in October 2020.

Past PhD students

2010 – 2013 (University of Cologne)

Dr. Katrin Prinzen, B.A. in Communication Science, B.A.+M.A (Diplom) in the Social Sciences (both in Duisburg-Essen)
Katrin studied conflicts between generations in modern welfare states. So far, Katrin has published several articles, one that came out of her master thesis (Politische Vierteljahresschrift), one from her doctoral thesis and three other together with me that originated from a grant project by the Thyssen foundation (Quality & Quantity, Social Indicators Research, Zeitschrift für Sozialreform). See the table of contents of the dissertation here.
She won the prize for the best MA thesis at her faculty and was offered a prestigious scholarship by the German Rentenversicherung to fund her PhD. She spent half a year in Turkey working for a big environmental NGO.
After finishing her PhD, she stayed on as a postdoctoral research associate for Prof Karsten Hank at the University of Cologne. In 2016, she moved to the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz into a management position in the context of a virtual campus project.

2011-2014 (University of Cologne)

Dr. Christian Weyand, B.A.+M.A. (Diplom) in the Social Sciences (Cologne)
Christian worked on the impact of citizens’ monitoring of policy-making and the perceptions thereof on the political process. He won a three-year PhD scholarship from the Cologne Graduate School and started his programme in 2010. See the dissertation here.
During his studies in Cologne, he spent half a year as an ERASMUS student at the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland and another term at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He moved to the private sector and works for a commercial market research company.

2012-2016 (Duisburg-Essen)

Dr. Florian Rabuza, Master-equivalent (Staatsexamen I) in Political Science and German Studies (Stuttgart)
Florian worked on the context-dependent impact of formal education on political participation across Europe. See the dissertation in German here.
Florian held a part-time position (50 %) as a research associate and lecturer in methods of political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Formerly, he had been employed at the Department of Political Science and Political Sociology at the University of Stuttgart when he had also regularly attended training courses in applied statistics and experimental design. For his MA thesis, he won the Faculty prize in 2010. For his PhD, he won the Sparkassenpreis Duisburg at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He left academia in autumn 2016 to establish himself as a data scientist in the Stuttgart area. In 2020, he works as a senior data scientist for Kaufland.


Pia Beermann, B.A in Political Science (University of Mannheim) and M.Sc. in Sociology and Empirical Social Research (University of Cologne) worked at the interdisciplinary project Big Risks for 6 months before she left for a job in market research. Her proposal was ready for submission to the PhD board when she decided to leave academia for good and to start working for a market research company.

2011-2017 (Duisburg-Essen)

Dr. Regina Weber, B.A.+M.A. (Magister) in History and Political Science (Potsdam)
Regina worked on political participation of young people across diverse liberal democracies, focusing on a comparison between Germany and Israel. Besides her PhD, she has a fulltime job as policy advisor at the Hans Boeckler Foundation in Duesseldorf. While a student, Regina spent a year at Charles University Prague. Further short-term postings abroad were with the OSCE in Vienna and the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Tel Aviv. Regina was and is very active in student, equal opportunity and trade union politics. During her studies, for instance, she led the student government body at the University of Aachen and was a member in the German National Bologna Follow-Up Group. Regina has published several policy reports, and a revised version of her master’s thesis on women in right-wing extremism as a monograph.
Her dissertation can be found here.

2014 – 2017 (University of Konstanz)

Dr. Dominik Lober, Master-equivalent (Staatsexamen I) in Political Science, History, and Geography (Heidelberg)
Dominik worked on the generational cleavage with regard to welfare spending across European countries. He was particularly interested in the attitudes and preferences of older people, i.e. their willingness to accept cutbacks in their own benefits (e.g. pension payments) in order to increase benefits for the younger generations (e.g. education spending). Between October 2014 and December 2017, Dominik was a PhD student at the Graduate School of Decision Sciences at the University of Konstanz and was affiliated with the Chair of Political Science, Policy Analysis and Political Theory of Marius Busemeyer. During his studies, Dominik received a scholarship by the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation and worked as a student assistant for the Chair of International and Comparative Political Economy of Stefanie Walter, and the Chair of Economic and Social Geography of Michael Handke.
Dominik moved to consultancy after his PhD in the Stuttgart area.
I acted as the advisor to Dominik. His day-to-day supervision were in the hands of Marius R. Busemeyer and Christian Breunig at the University of Konstanz.

2014 – 2018 (Duisburg-Essen)

Dr. Stefano Ronchi, B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pavia, M.A. in International Labour and Social Policies from the University of Milan, M. Res. in Public Policy and Social Change at Collegio Carlo Alberto at Turin.
His Master thesis in Milan won a local prize as best dissertation on social policy. He joined the research training group SOCLIFE “Social Order and Life Chances in Cross-National Comparison” at the University of Cologne. His work deals with comparative welfare state analysis, focusing on the by now EU mainstream approach known as “social investment”. He is interested in assessing whether this new blueprint may actually lead to the desired outcomes in the variety of “Social Europes”, wherein in peripheral countries a mix of unfavourable policy legacies, scarce income security and post-crisis tightened fiscal constraints provides all but a breeding ground for the social investment strategy.
During his PhD studies, he held to visiting fellowships, one at the University of Antwerp and one at the University of Leuven, Belgium and the EUI in Florence.
Between October 2018 and September 2019, Stefano was a Max Weber Fellow at the EUI in Florence, working with Anton Hemerijck. Since October 2019, he has been a postdoc at the University of Milan.

2014 – 2021 (Duisburg-Essen)

Evelyn Funk, M.A. (Magistra Artium) in Political Science, Cultural Anthropology and Slavonic Studies from the University of Cologne.
Evelyn works on the impact of civic education in developing democracies. She was a student at Cologne University and the European University of St. Petersburg in Russia. During her studies, she received a scholarship by the German National Academic Foundation. After completing a 9-months Postgraduate Training Programme for Development Cooperation of the German Development Institute (DIE-GDI) in Bonn, she worked as a research associate at the Center for Evaluation in Saarbrucken for about 2 years, the University of Duisburg-Essen for various projects and the German Development Institute. Se has been self-employed since 2019.
Her work experience abroad includes one year volunteer work in Belarus, three months research in Kazakhstan and Tanzania each, and further missions to India, Kenya and Madagascar. Evelyn stoped pursuing her PhD studies in order to work fulltime as an evaluator in her own company.

2016-2020 (Duisburg-Essen)

Dr. Anne-Kathrin Fischer, B.A. in Social Science with focus on media studies (University of Siegen) and M.A. in Sociology (University of Münster).
Anne-Kathrin worked on the interdisciplinary project “Big risks”: perceptions, management and neuralgic societal risks in the 21st century at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The project wasabout the ways in which the public deals with neuralgic societal risks such as climate change, demographic change or state deficits in the 21st century. It wasfinanced by the Funk Foundation. Anne-Kathrin is particularly interested in the political determinants of public opinion and the individual perception of global risks.
During her studies, she spent half a year as at the San Diego State University on a German Academic Exchange Service scholarship. As a student assistant for the Chair of Political and Administrative Science Nicolai Dose (University of Duisburg-Essen) she worked on a research project about the shrinking membership base of political parties, leading to several publications, especially the monograph in German:
Dose, Nicolai/Fischer, Anne-Kathrin/Golla, Nathalie (2016): Die Partei im regionalen Fokus: Mitgliederschwund, Alterungsprozesse und Mitgliederpartizipation bei der SPD – Ergebnisse zweier empirischer Studien. Nomos, Baden-Baden.

After two years at the Institute for Sustanability Studies in Potsdam, Anne moved to become a survey specialist at the Bundesbank in Frankfurt.

Current PhD students

Since 2014

Since 2017

Hayfat Hamidou-Schmidt, BA in Political Science and M.A. in Survey Methodology (both University of Duisburg-Essen).

Hayfat is a research associate and lecturer at the Department of Political Science at University of Duisburg-Essen. In her PhD thesis she focusses on political attitudes and behaviour of naturalized citizens in Germany. Using data from the First Immigrant Election Study (IMGES), her main interest lies in understanding and explaining different facets of Political Xenophobia among immigrant origin citizens. She published her first thesis-paper with Sabrina Mayer at Political Psychology (Open Access). As a lecturer, she has taught different levels of expertise and covers methodological (applied regression analysis in Stata, content analysis in MaxQDA) as well as substantive courses in Migration Research, Political Psychology, such as political attitudes, and Political Behaviour.

Since 2019

Jonas Elis, B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Survey Methodology (both University of Duisburg-Essen).
Jonas Elis works on the First Immigrant Election Study (IMGES) at the University of Duisburg-Essen which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The study investigates the voting behaviour of the two most relevant migration groups in Germany, namely German citizens of Turkish descent and of Russian/Soviet descent, during the federal election in 2017. Jonas is primarily interested in survey research in political science and has worked on several academic projects based in Germany and Europe that dealt with migration as well as ethnic and religious group relations. He studied in Argentina before coming to Duisburg and spent researchlrealted episodes abroad in Norway and Ghana.

Since 2020

Patrick Clasen, B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in International Relations and Development Policy (both University of Duisburg-Essen).  Patrick Clasen works on the political psychology of fiscal solidarity in the European Union. He wants to find out what makes people willing to contribute to transnational financial transfers in the EU. He wants to understand how individuals form their policy preferences in general and specifically when it comes to fiscal and budgetary policy in the EU.

Before, he published on the role of Europarties during the European elections 2019, and on the resolution of conflict among Committee-chairs in the European Parliament. Since 2016 he has been working as a political advisor for budgetary policy to a Member of the European Parliament.

Since 2021

Johanna I. Plenter née Weber, B.A. in Political Science and English & American Studies (University of Wuppertal) and M.A. in Political Science (University of Münster). Johanna works on the representation of gig workers’ interests across different party systems in the European Union. She is primarily interested in strategies of left-wing parties to address these workers and win them over as voters. Johanna currently works at the University of Düsseldorf as a research associate where she is also pursuing her PhD. In her teaching, she covers comparative welfare state research, social inequality research as well as party and electoral research. Her work experience abroad includes 10 months volunteer work in Romania and a two-month internship in Hungary.

Jakob Kemper, B.A. in Political Science (University of Duisburg-Essen) and M.A. in Methods of Empirical Social Research (Ruhr University Bochum). Jakob works on the project „The Ties that Bind: Experimental Analyses of Political Solidarities in Modern European Democracies“ (POLITSOLID), which is funded by the European Research Council (ERC). His main research interests include solidarity, social trust, experimental research and statistical methods. He  spent a semester abroad at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, USA. For his BA thesis in 2018, Jakob conducted a field experiment on the responsiveness of support offices of Bundestag MPs, showing that senders with foreign names are treated worse on average.

Since 2022

Adriana Cassis, M.A in Development and Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen and B.A in Political Science and International Relations from Universidad Casa Grande (Ecuador).

Adriana is part of the International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE). Adriana is interested in migrant transnationalism and in her PhD project she wants to investigate the transnational political and economic behavior of second-generation immigrants. Through a comparative study she wants to understand the determinants for transnational behavior and the impact of this behavior for host countries. Adriana has experience as a teaching assistant from her time at her home university in Ecuador and has worked for NGO’s and presidential political campaigns. She also completed a research internship at the University of Tokyo in 2017 and a semester abroad at the University of New Brunswick in Canada in 2014.

Since 2024

Philipp Kemper, B.A. in Social Science (Ruhr University Bochum) and M.A. in International Relations and Development Policy (University of Duisburg-Essen). Philipp works on the project POLITSOLID („The Ties that Bind: Experimental Analyses of Political Solidarities in Modern European Democracies“), which is funded by the European Research Council (ERC). His main research interests include political solidarity, socio-economic inequality, democratization, development policy, and statistical methods. During his studies, he gained theoretical and practical experience in public policy evaluation.