About Us

Ludger Helms

Ludger HelmsLudger 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.

David Willumsen

willumsen-profile-pictureDavid 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 will be 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 Journal of European Public Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Party Politics, and West European Politics.

Eva-Maria Hochhauser

Eva-Maria HochhauserEva-Maria Hochhauser is a graduate student in comparative politics. Currently, she is writing 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 that, she will analyze 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).

 Julia Fischer

Julia FischerJulia 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

1ipnn7uuJan 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.


Former Members

Ekaterina R. Rashkova-Gerbrands

Ekaterina RashkovaEkaterina 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 CrepazKatharina 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)