About Us

Ludger Helms

Ludger Helms Ludger Helms has been Professor of Political Science and Chair of Comparative Politics at the University of Innsbruck since 2008. He holds a PhD from the University of Heidelberg and received his venia legendi from Humboldt University , Berlin. Before moving to Innsbruck he was a Senior Research Professor in the Department of International Relations at Webster University in Vienna. He has held official visiting affiliations with leading universities around the world, including the University of California at Berkeley , Harvard University , Barnard College/Columbia University , the London School of Economics and Political Science , the Central European University , the Libera Università Inernationale degli Studi Sociali , and the University of Tokyo .

Professor Helms is a co-editor of two international book series, Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership (Palgrave Macmillan), and Politics and Governance in the Smaller European Democracies (Nomos), and a member of the editorial boards of several major international journals, including Government and Opposition (Cambridge University Press), and European Political Science (Sage). His published work includes five single-authored books, more than 70 articles in international journals, more than 40 book chapters as well as seven edited or co-edited volumes. A copy of his CV can be downloaded here .

David Willumsen

willumsen-profile-picture David Willumsen has worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher (Universitätsassistent) at the University of Innsbruck since October 2016. He holds a PhD from the European University Institute, Florence , which he defended in December 2013, having spent four months as an exchange student at ETH Zürich in 2011. Before moving to Innsbruck, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at LMU Munich , working on a project on the effects of staggered membership renewal in upper chambers. He has also previously taught and worked as a researcher at the University of Zurich .

His thesis has been published under the title The Acceptance of Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies (Oxford University Press) in 2017, and he has published research articles in the European Journal of Political Research, European Union Politics, J ournal of European Public Policy , Parliamentary Affairs , Party Politics , and West European Politics . A copy of his CV can be downloaded here .

Marcelo Jenny

Marcelo Jenny is a Professor in Electoral Research and Political Communication at the University of Innsbruck since March 2016. He holds a Magister degree in Political Science and Communication from the University of Vienna (1994), and a Doctorate from the University of Mannheim (2009). Before moving to Innsbruck he was a Post-Doc Researcher at the Department of Government at the University of Vienna and a member of the Austrian Election Study (AUTNES) team.

Marcelo Jenny is a co-author of the book “Die österreichischen Abgeordneten: Individuelle Präferenzen und politisches Verhalten“ (2001). He has published research articles in Electoral Studies, Public Administration, Quality & Quantity, Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen and Austrian Journal of Political Science. His research interests cover individual data and aggregate data based elections research, campaigning, parliamentary debates, sentiment analysis, political elites and legislative politics. A copy of his CV can be downloaded here .

Lore Hayek

Lore Hayek has worked as a Post-Doctoral Researcher (Universitätsassistent) at the University of Innsbruck since April 2016. She studied Political Science (Mag. phil.) at the University of Innsbruck and Social Research Methods (MSc) at the London School of Economics and Political Science . From 2009 to 2012 she was a Pre-doc Researcher with the Austrian National Election Study (AUTNES) . In 2016 she obtained her PhD from the University of Innsbruck with a thesis on election posters in Austrian national elections between 1945 and 2013.

Her thesis „Design politischer Parteien: Plakatwerbung in österreichischen Wahlkämpfen“ was published in 2016 (Lit Verlag/Vienna). A copy of her CV can be downloaded here .

Julia Fischer

Julia Fischer Julia Fischer is a graduate student of political science. Currently, she is working on her PhD with supervision by Prof. Ludger Helms (University of Innsbruck) and Prof. Hester van de Bovenkamp (Erasmus University Rotterdam). Her thesis is about the value of representation to democracy. She is exploring patient organizations as case of interest group representation, aiming to contribute to the puzzle over what representation of political interests looks like in practice. In addition to its scholarly value, her comparative study seeks to reach practical significance by developing recommendations on how to master representation.

Jan Sebastian Schneberger

Jan Sebastian Schneberger is a graduate student of European and International Studies. Currently, he is working on his PhD thesis on executive leadership in times of crisis, supervised by Professor Ludger Helms. He seeks to identify factors that may explain success, or failure, of political chief executives in coping with crises, and he uses novel approaches, such as the concept of Leadership Capital, that provide new instruments for analyzing the performance of public office holders from a behaviorist perspective. This combines with a strong interest in studying the institutional opportunities and constraints of political chief executives in different types of political regime.

Trix van Mierlo

Trix van Mierlo is a University assistant at the Doctoral Program Spheres of Governance: Institutions and Agency.

She holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, which she obtained at the University of Utrecht. Her master’s dissertation focused on the Mechanisms-Process Approach to Contentious Politics and unravelled the mechanisms to mobilisation for a social movement campaign protesting extrajudicial killings during the drug war in the Philippines, where she did fieldwork in 2016.

She is currently working on her PhD on mechanisms to mobilisation for collective action in sub-national authoritarian enclaves within consolidating democracies.

Former Members

Ekaterina R. Rashkova-Gerbrands

Ekaterina Rashkova Ekaterina R. Rashkova is Senior Lecturer (UD 1) at the Utrecht University School of Governance . Prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Innsbruck , where she found the Comparative Politics Research Group (CPRG). She has also held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University (the Netherlands) and worked at Sussex University (United Kingdom). She obtained her PhD in political science from the University of Pittsbrugh (United States) in 2010, where she specialized in Comparative Politics and International Relations.  She also holds two Master degrees and a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis (United States). Her dissertation entitled “Political Learning and the Number of Parties: Why Age Matters” received the UniCredit and Universities Foundation’s Best CEE Ph.D. Thesis Award in May 2011. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Ekaterina was a Junior EURIAS Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies ( NIAS ). At the moment, her research focuses on gender representation within radical right parties and on the effect of electoral law on party competition. Her work compares new and established democracies and has appeared, among others, in Comparative European Politics, Party Politics, Representation and Political Studies , as well as in several edited book volumes. She is an editor of European Political Science .

More about her project at NIAS can be found here .

Katharina Crepaz

Katharina Crepaz Katharina Crepaz completed her PhD-studies in Political Science at the University of Innsbruck in March 2015 (main supervisor: Professor Ludger Helms), and is now a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich, and at the Chair of Sociology at the Technical University of Munich. ( Weblink ) ( Email )

Eva-Maria Hochhauser

Eva-Maria Hochhauser Eva-Maria Hochhauser pursued graduate studies in comparative politics, working towards a PhD thesis on party politics in France, supervised by Prof. Ludger Helms. In her thesis Ms. Hochhauser examines change (or the lack thereof) in parties’ organization, strategies, and policy positions.  Contrary to other studies, her project seeks to explain party change by focusing on intra-party politics and party ideology. To do so, she analyzes intra-party conflicts on party conventions, over presidential candidates and party manifestos, as well as selected publications written by protagonists of intra-party conflicts for two selected French parties, the Parti socialiste (PS) and the Union pour un mouvement populaire (UMP).