Research Projects

Current research projects at the Department.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Brand (Project leader)

Social-Ecological Transformation: Industrial Conversion and the Role of Labour (CON-LABOUR)

Project fellow: Heinz Högelsberger, Danyal Maneka & Markus Wissen

Duration: June 2018 – May 2020

Third-party funded by: Klima- und Energiefonds (KLIEN)

Dr. Tamara Ehs (Project leader)

Das politische Gericht. Richterbestellung und Rechtsprechung im Vergleich

Duration: February 2018 – January 2020

Third-party funded by: OeNB – Anniversary Fund

Senior Lecturer Dr. Karin Liebhart (Projekt leader)

Gedenkjahr 2018: Vergangenheit im Fokus politischer und öffentlicher Kommunikation

Project fellows: Patrick Aprent, Petra Bernhart

Duration: June 2018 – December 2019

Third-party funded by: Bundeskanzleramt, Geschäftsstelle des Beirates für das Gedenk- und Erinnerungsjahr 2018


Responsibility - Freedom of Expression: The World of NGOs - Information und Koordination für Stiftungen, Nicht-Regierungs- und Non-Profit-Organisationen in Österreich (FreeEX)


Duration: August 2018 – July 2019

Third-party funded by: European Union - Horizon 2020 - EACEA - Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, program: Europe for Citizens


The Austrian Presidential Elections 2016: A Case study in Visual Political Storytelling

Project fellows: Petra Bernhart

Duration: February 2017 – January 2019

Third-party funded by: OeNB – Anniversary Fund

Further information:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Oliver Marchart (Project leader)

Making Democracy. Aushandlungen von Freiheit, Gleichheit und Solidarität unter Jugendlichen

Project fellows: Elke Rajal, N.N.

Former project fellow: Ines Garnitschnig

Duration: September 2017 – September 2019

Third-party funded by: Sparkling Science - a programme of Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. Programme organisation: Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH) - OeAD

Further information

Dr. Katharina T. Paul (Project leader)

InsSciDE – Inventing a shared Science Diplomacy for Europe

Project fellow: Anna Pichelstorfer

Former project fellow: Myriam Gatisch

Duration: January 2018 – November 2021

Third-party funded by: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program

Further information:


KNOW-VACC: Knowledge production and governance in vaccination policy

Project assistent: Katharina Riesinger

Duration: March 2017 – February 2021

Third-party funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – Elise Richter grant

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sieglinde Rosenberger (Project leader)

REvolTURN – Managing migrant return through ‘voluntariness’

Project fellow: Reinhard Schweitzer

Duration: October 2018 – September 2020

Third-party funded by: European Commission, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (IF)

The European Union and many of its Member States increasingly rely on public policies for the so-called ‘voluntary return’ of irregular migrants and (refused) asylum seekers. Very little is known about how these approaches work in practice and whether they meet stated policy goals and discharge state obligations regarding migrants’ human rights. The project REvolTURN addresses this research gap through a close and comparative analysis of ‘voluntary return’ policies in Austria and the UK, including their adoption, implementation and immediate outcome. It examines 1) how voluntariness of return is constructed and framed in law, policy and public discourse, 2) which notions of voluntariness are crucial for policy implementation, and 3) what impact this has on migrants’ own decision-making about their return. REvolTURN thereby addresses a key priority of the Horizon 2020 work programme: to better manage migration; and will contribute to recent scholarship regarding the in/effectiveness of migration policies and the agency of migrants holding no or highly precarious statuses.


PETICIPATE – Petitions and Parliamentary Citizens‘ Initiatives: Linking Citizens and Parliament?

Project fellows: Elio Dalpra, Jeremias Stadlmair & Benedikt Seisl

Cooperation partner: Legal, Legislative and Research Services of Austrian Parliament

Duration: March 2018 – August 2020

Third-party funded by: Austrian National Bank, Jubiläumsfonds

Against the backdrop of decreasing support for institutions and actors of representative democracy, instruments of participatory democracy aim to reconnect citizens and political actors. Petitions and Parliamentary Citizens‘ Initiatives (PCIs) enable citizens to submit initiatives to the Austrian Parliament, either by supplying 500 signatures of support (Parliamentary Citizens’ Initiative) or via a Member of Parliament (Petition). Therefore, PCIs broaden the participatory repertoire in the political system of Austria. In the project, we scrutinise the functions of PCIs for different societal groups and actors, such as public mobilisation, issue-specific policy change, or opposition to government. Overall, we want the explore the potential of PCIs for strengthening the linkage between citizens and representative politics on one hand and their function as instrument of political protest on the other hand.

Addressing these research objectives, we collect information on the proponents, content, and parliamentary processing of all PCIs from 1988 to 2017. In a second step, we conduct a process tracing of recent PCIs, including interviews with proponents of PCIs and Members of Parliament and participant observation.

The societal and scientific contribution of the project is threefold: First, it enables a better understanding of the parliamentary process and outcomes of PCIs and a conceptual connection between direct and representative forms of democracy. Second, proponents of PCIs may benefit from information on effects and factors contributing to the success of PCIs collected in this project. Third, we develop propositions for reforming PCIs in Austria.

Further information


Politics of Belonging in Spaces of Conviviality. Qualitative Analysis of Biographic Narratives and Accounts of Local Space of Autochthon Muslims in Zurich and Vienna

Project fellows: Christoph Novak

Other supervisor: Matteo Gianni (Département de science politique et relations internationales, University of Geneve)

Duration: May 2016 – April 2019

Third-party funded by: ÖAW – Austrian Academy of Sciences (Docteam-grant)


INSIDE the Deportation Gap - Social Membership for Non-Deported Persons

Former project fellows: Ilker Ataç, Theresa Schütze

Duration: January 2015 – December 2018

Third-party funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Further information

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Birgit Sauer (Project leader)

Mobilising narratives in a transnational space. New media as a political site for negotiating Malian-diasporic identifications

Project fellows: Syntia Hasenöhrl

Duration: October 2016 – September 2019

Third-party funded by: ÖAW – Austrian Academy of Sciences (Docteam grant)

The PhD project explores the identifications and belongings mobile agents articulate on a Malian-diasporic news portal. It investigates which opportunities for political mobilisation and, thus, agency emerge from such mediated mobilities.


MEET (Media Education for Equity and Tolerance)

Project fellows: Fanny Müller-Uri, Benjamin Opratko

Duration: December 2016 – April 2019

Third-party funded by: EU – European Union (Erasmus+ Programme)

Further information:



Univ.-Prof. Dr. Saskia Stachowitsch (Project leader)

Integrating Feminist International Relations and Feminist State Theory – The Case of Gender and Military Privatization

Project fellow: Astrid Bergmann

Former project fellow: Josefa Maria Stiegler

Duration: May 2013 – June 2019

Third-party funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – Elise Richter grant

Further information

Dr. Alice Vadrot (Project leader)


Project fellows: N.N.

Duration: November 2018 – October 2023

Third-party funded by: Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), established by the European Commission

In order to protect marine biodiversity and ensure that benefits are equally shared, the UN General Assembly has decided to develop a new legally binding treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Marine biodiversity data will play a central role: Firstly, in supporting intergovernmental efforts to identify, protect and monitor marine biodiversity. Secondly, in informing governments interested in particular aspects of marine biodiversity, including its economic use and its contribution to biosecurity. In examining how this data are represented and used, this project will create a novel understanding of the materiality of science-policy interrelations in global environmental politics as well as develop the methodologies to do so. This is crucial, because the capacities to develop and use data infrastructures are unequally distributed among countries and global initiatives for data sharing are significantly challenged by conflicting perceptions of who benefits from marine biodiversity research.

The central objective of MARIPOLDATA is to develop and apply a new multiscale methodology for grounding the analysis of science-policy interrelations in empirical research. An interdisciplinary team, led by the PI, will collect and analyse data across different policy-levels and spatial scales by combining 1) ethnographic studies at intergovernmental negotiation sites with 2) a comparative analysis of national marine biodiversity monitoring policies and practices and 3) bibliometric and network analyses and oral history interviews for mapping the field of marine biodiversity science.

Further information to be published soon