Forschungsgruppe Zeitgenössische Solidaritätsstudien

Solidarität in Forschung und Praxis

Wofür wir stehen:

Solidarität bietet neue Lösungsstrategien für einige der wichtigsten gesellschaftlichen Herausforderungen. Wir sehen Solidarität dabei nicht als unspezifischen Begriff, der jegliche prosoziale Praxis bezeichnet, sondern als präzise ausdifferenziertes Konzept, das konkrete Anleitungen für Politikgestaltung bieten kann. Unsere Forschung versucht mithilfe empirischer Analysen und theoretisch fundierter Arbeit zur Entwicklung von Politikinhalten und Institutionen beizutragen, welche die Bereitschaft von Menschen, andere zu unterstützen, in den Vordergrund stellen, und soziale Gerechtigkeit im Blick haben. Wir möchten dabei helfen, politische und ökonomische Verhältnisse zu schaffen, in denen sich Menschen und Gesellschaften gut entfalten können. Wir sind davon überzeugt, dass eine Welt mit mehr Solidarität eine lebenswertere Welt ist.

Director: Barbara Prainsack

Barbara Prainsack is Professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna. Prior to moving to Vienna she worked at King’s College London for ten years, where she continues to hold a professorial affiliation at the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine as her secondary affiliation. Barbara’s research focuses on regulatory, social and ethical aspects of biomedicine and bioscience, often by bringing marginalised and peripheral perspectives into regulatory debates. Her current projects explore the political meaning and effect of participatory practices in medicine, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Together with Alena Buyx she also contributes to the formulation of new legal and ethical instruments in medicine and healthcare, promoting a solidarity-based perspective. Her most recent book is Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century? (NYU Press, 2017). Barbara is a member of the Austrian Bioethics Commission, a member of the European Group on Ethics and New Technologies advising the European Commission, and a member of the Ethics Group of the National DNA Database in the UK. Together with Aarno Palotie and Stephen Holgate she led the European Science Foundation's (ESF) Forward Look on Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen (2012). Barbara is a member of the British Royal Academy of Arts, and an elected foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.


Seliem El-Sayed

Seliem El-Sayed earned his Master’s degree in International Public Management and Political Science from Institut d’études politiques de Paris (SciencesPo) and Freie Universität Berlin (2020), partly funded by a scholarship of the Franco-German University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from University College Maastricht in Liberal Arts and Sciences (2017) with a concentration on International Relations and Law. During his undergraduate studies, he spent a trimester at the University of California (Santa Cruz) doing coursework in Critical Legal Studies and Constitutional Law. For his graduate thesis he evaluated the German litigation framework’s ability to safeguard citizens from algorithmic discrimination. As a pre-doctoral research fellow within the Digitize! Project he is developing ethical and social standards for the collection and use of data in Computational Social Sciences.



Katharina Kieslich

Katharina Kieslich earned a PhD in Political Science from University College London (2015) and a Masters degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Exeter (2007). Her current research focuses on comparative health policy, public and patient involvement (PPI) in health priority-setting, social values in health prioritisation, and health technology assessment. Previous publications include 'Social values and health priority setting in Germany', 'Public participation in decision-making on the coverage of new antivirals for hepatitis C', 'Accounting for Technical, Ethical, and Political Factors in Priority Setting', and 'Cost effective but unaffordable: an emerging challenge for health systems'. As part of CeSCoS, Katharina explores the role of issue characteristics, i.e. the features of policy problems, in the allocation of health resources. Before joining the Department of Political Science in June 2018 Katharina was based at the School of Population Health and Environmental Sciences, King’s College London.

Katharina T. Paul

Katharina T. Paul holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam (2009). Before joining the University of Vienna in 2013, she was assistant professor of comparative health policy at Erasmus University Rotterdam (2010-2013). She currently leads an Elise Richter Project (FWF) and a work package on health and data diplomacy in a European consortium (H2020 project InsSciDE). Her research interests include health governance and policy, and the role of knowledge and non-knowledge in evidence-based policy. She has particularly studied vaccination policy from such a perspective and supervises two junior researchers in her project team.

Mirjam Pot

Mirjam Pot holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Vienna (2010 and 2016) and a Master’s degree in Urban Geography from Utrecht University (2011). From 2016 to 2017, she was employed as a research assistant at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna, working in the field of Comparative Social Policy Research and International Urban Sociology. She has been a pre-doctoral research fellow at CeScoS since 2018. In her PhD project she uses interpretive methods to analyse practices of personalised medicine and their effects on conceptualisations and enactments of solidarity.

Lukas Schlögl

Lukas Schlögl earned a PhD in Quantitative Social Science from King’s College London (2017) and a Master’s (‘Magister’) degree in International Development from the University of Vienna (2013). His current work focuses on the interplay of technological change and political behaviour in developing countries. Previous publications include 'The Rise of the Robot Reserve Army', ‘Inequality and the Tails’, ‘A Household-Asset Approach to Social Stratification’ and ‘Politikkohärenz durch Kohärenzpolitik’. As part of CeSCoS, Lukas explores links between workplace automation and social and political behaviour. Before joining the Department of Political Science in October 2018 Lukas was based at the Department of International Development, King’s College London.

Wanda Spahl

Wanda Spahl earned her Master’s degree in Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy at Vienna University of Economics and Business (2017). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (2014) and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication Studies (2013) from University of Vienna. In 2012, funded by a Danish Government Scholarship, she studied at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre in Copenhagen. In 2016 she conducted fieldwork in Ankara during her research stay at Bilkent University (‘Stratified membership: health care access for urban refugees in Turkey’). As a pre-doctoral research fellow at CeSCoS Wanda analyses policies and practices at the intersection between the health system and the asylum system in Austria.

Nina Spurny

Nina Spurny is the Centre Manager of CeSCoS. She holds a Master’s degree in Media Management from the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten (2016). Before joining the Department of Political Science in October 2017, she was in charge of content production and editorial work at various Magazines and at the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation. In her role at CeSCoS she is responsible for the internal and external communication, daily operations, event management and general administrative tasks.

Elias Weiss

Elias Weiss earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Vienna. In his bachelor thesis he discussed the duration of parliamentary periods. Right now he is a master's student at the Department of Political Science and is currently the teaching assistant in Comparative Policy Analysis (CeSCoS) to Professor Barbara Prainsack. Additionally he is also involved in the current Future of Work research area of CeSCoS.

Please find information about the advisory board members here.

Solidarity Affiliates:

Alena Buyx (Solidarity Fellow)

Alena Buyx is the director of the Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine at the Technical University Munich. Before that, she was Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine at Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel. Prior to moving to Kiel, she held appointments at London, Münster and Harvard. Her research is in biomedical and public health ethics, with a particular focus on issues of governance and policy. Currently, Alena explores various issues in research ethics and examines participatory practices in medicine, often in the form of mixed-methods studies. She also works on the ethical implications of developing novel clinical applications, for example in the neurosciences. Together with Barbara Prainsack she also contributes to the formulation of new legal and ethical instruments in medicine, promoting a solidarity-based perspective. Their book Solidarity in Biomedicine and Beyond was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Alena oversees clinical ethics advisory at Germany’s second-largest university hospital and regularly consults on research ethics, for example for the World Bank, or large European research consortia. She was a member of the Central Ethics Committee of the German Medical Association and currently is a member of the Advisory Board of European Forum Alpbach and the German Ethics Council.

Saheli Datta (Solidarity Fellow)

Saheli holds a PhD and MSc from King's College London, London and a BA in Economics from Columbia University, New York. Saheli's research focuses on understanding the political-economic implications of emerging health technologies from a comparative perspective. Her recent publications include An endogenous explanation of growth: direct-to-consumer stem cell therapies in PR China, India and the USA (Regenerative Medicine 13(5), 559-579. 2018); Emerging dynamics of evidence and trust in online user-to-user engagement: the case of 'unproven' stem cell therapies (Critical Public Health 28(3), 352-362. 2018. Download free at or A full list of publications can be viewed here.
Currently, Saheli is based at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (GHSM), King's College London as a Research Associate for the European Commission H2020 funded Human Brain Project (HBP) led by Professor Nikolas Rose. At King's, Saheli also serves as the Research Ethics Officer for the KCL Research Ethics Office, member of the HBP's Communication Working Group (HBP-CWG) and steering committee member of the Biotechnology and Society research hub at King's (BIOS). As a Research Fellow at CeSCoS, Saheli is working on the Political Economy of Ethics in European Dual-Use Research drawing on the specific case of Robotics Research in Europe.

Puneet Kishor (Solidarity Fellow)

Puneet's interest in medical information began during the boom years for personal-fitness devices when a new gadget seemed to come out every other week in the Bay Area. As the Manager of Science and Data Policy at Creative Commons in San Francisco at that time, Puneet's data-worldview was of unstinted openness. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Puneet brought together policy, technology, ethics and legal experts in Washington DC to focus on the tension between sharing medical data and preserving privacy. The consensus of the workshop was for dramatic change in the constraints of research funding to allow greater openness. Over the years, however, Puneet's enthusiasm for data sharing has been tempered by the cavalier collection and use of data by technology companies. While the power of technology to do good is undoubtable, it has to be checked by public participation and governance to limit harm. As a Research Fellow at CeSCoS, Puneet is focusing on the need and mechanisms for balance between sharing and privacy. He is currently based in Berlin where he divides his time between data policy and art+science.

Listen to Puneets seminar with the title "You keep using that word 'blockchain'. I do not think it means what you think it means” here. Find the slides here. The seminar took place on 21 November 2018.

Eva M. Hejzlarová

Eva M. Hejzlarová holds a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities (2005) and a Master´s degree in Public and Social Policy (2007) from Charles University, Prague. She earned a PhD in Public Policy in 2012 from Charles University and has been working at the Department of Public and Social Policy since 2013. At the Department she focuses on methodological courses and in her research she uses the frames of interpretive policy analysis. Her doctoral research covered the topic of single mothers and their relation to policy design applied on their families´ difficult situation. Currently, she is working on a research analysing Czech home-birth debate, trying to understand the dynamics of various sorts of expertise and emotions in the controversy. At the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Eva is an editor of Central European Journal of Public Policy and a member of the Comission for Ethics in Research. 

Ilpo Helén (Solidarity Fellow)

Ilpo Helén is Professor of Sociology at the University of Eastern Finland and Adjunct Professor (Docent) in sociology at the University of Helsinki. His current studies focus on politics and economy of biomedicine, medical genomics and biobanking, and on biopolitics of healthcare. He has developed an approach for critical analysis of the government of life and related technologies embedded in Foucauldian critical genealogy and in science and technology studies. He is author of several books and articles published in, for example, in Economy and Society, Science and Technology Studies, Acta Sociologica and European Journal of Human Genetics. Currently, he is in charge of two research projects: Good(s) for Health consortium is focused on flexibility of bioinformation in scientific, clinical and commercial utilization of medical databases, and the studies of the project Data-driven Society in the Making concentrate on politics and economies of future-making associated with data-driven medicine. Both projects are funded by the Academy of Finland.

Flavia Fossati (Solidarity Fellow)

Flavia Fossati is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice and Public Administration at the University of Lausanne. Before her role at the University of Lausanne she has been Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna from October 2018 until July 2019. She studied Political Science, Sociology and International Law at the University of Zurich and holds a PhD from the same institution, which she earned in the framework of the NCCR-Democracy 21 (National Center for Excellence in Research on Democracy). Before joining the University of Vienna she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lausanne in the framework of the NCCR on-the move (National Centre for Excellence in Research on Migration and Mobility) and has been a visiting fellow at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and at the Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare at Malmö University (Sweden). 
Her research interests include social inequality; social, labor market and migration policy; discrimination research; survey experiments; electoral behavior and welfare state preferences. Currently she is working on discrimination in the hiring process and analyses how social policy measures can help (re-)integrating vulnerable jobseekers, including immigrants and refugees, into the labor market. Flavia is Member of the International Advisory Board of the NCCR on-the move. 

Francesco Camboni (Solidarity Fellow)

Francesco Camboni holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from University of Turin (2014) and a Master's degree in Philosophical Sciences from Università Vita-Salute San Raffele (2017). Currently, Francesco is a third-year Ph.D. Student at FINO Consortium and has been a member of "LabOnt – Center for Ontology" since 2018. He has been working as a seminar lecturer and teaching assistant in Theoretical Philosophy (course leader: Prof. Tiziana Andina) since 2018.
Francesco’s research interests range from social philosophy to moral philosophy, from philosophical anthropology to the social sciences, and these spheres of interest are intended to converge within its research project, that is devoted to the concept of solidarity. Being more specific still, Francesco’s ultimate research goal is to develop an account of solidarity that bridges the gap between three large traditions, namely, Durkheim’s classical sociological theory, philosophical anthropology, and contemporary social ontology.

Fiona Coyle (Solidarity Fellow)

Fiona Coyle earned her Research Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies at The University of Edinburgh’s Department of Social and Political Science (2015) and a Master’s of Art in Philosophy (2013) from the University of Aberdeen. Fiona’s research explores how the genome editing debate in the UK is architected through tools, such as the inclusion and exclusion of actors, rhetorical devices and argumentative patterns and utilises the notion of ‘agora', to analyse spaces of regulatory debate. Her interest sits at the intersection of STS and philosophy and seeks to promote understanding of how societal and ethical arguments surrounding new technologies such as mitochondrial donation and the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing platform are produced, reproduced and mobilised. In 2018 Fiona undertook the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Scottish Parliament Internship and wrote a briefing note for the Scottish Parliament titled: The Regulation and Governance of Medical Devices in Scotland. Before her research Master’s and PhD, Fiona worked as an educational administrator for the Scottish National Health Service, organising the integration of new and emerging telehealth technologies into the service, and as a Research Associate at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics.

Isabella M. Radhuber (Solidarity Fellow)

Isabella M. Radhuber earned a Dr phil in Political Science from the University of Vienna (2012). Before joining the University of Vienna, she was a Marie S. Curie Fellow (FWF-funded) at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge and the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Previously, she also worked as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in The Haag, the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin, and at the Postgraduate Center in Development Sciences in La Paz, while providing counselling for civil society organizations. Her research focusses on North-South relations, human-nature relations, decolonization, resource and finance politics and broader questions of societal democratization. She lived and researched in Latin America for several years, and she is also a member of the research group International Political Ecology of the University of Vienna.


An up-to-date record of all publications published by our research group is available here: