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.


Deborah Drgac

Deborah Drgac is a pre-doctoral researcher who is investigating the experimental knowledge of patients, family members, health professionals and care givers within the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS) and the research group Senescence and Healing of Wounds (ShoW) of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute. She earned her Bachelor's (2017) and Master's (2019) degree in sociology at the University of Vienna. Having specialized in health-sociology, she wrote her master thesis on food choices and nutrition in adolescence. During the COVID 19 pandemic she worked at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health Care and Consumer Protection. Further Deborah is pursuing her Master’s in public health at the Medical University in Vienna and is evaluating women’s mental health for her Master's thesis by exploring psychological distress in relation with social stigmatization of non-breastfeeding mothers. During her study she participated in health-related publications, focusing on aging population and frailty.

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.

Antonia Modelhart

Antonia Modelhart earned her Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna; she also spent time at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. Having specialised in medical anthropology and STS, in her Master’s thesis she focused on reproductive technologies. She then moved to Hamburg where she carried out research on antibiotic resistance in Germany and Ghana at the HafenCity University. Antonia is now back in Vienna as a pre-doctoral researcher within  the project “The politics and ethics of rare diseases research in Austria and beyond”, in cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD).

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 is a pre-doctoral researcher working on justice and solidarity in healthcare practices and policies. In her doctoral research project, she pursues the question of how primary care doctors decide which patients should receive what kind of healthcare services and how the political framework shapes their decision-making. Mirjam employs different qualitative interpretive methods, but she also has a strong interest in conceptual work. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Vienna and a Master’s degree in Urban Geography from Utrecht University. Before joining the Department of Political Science in 2018, she was a research assistant at the Department of Sociology (University of Vienna).

Gertrude Saxinger

Gertrude Saxinger holds a PhD in Social Anthropology, has completed the University of the Arctic’s PhD program in Pan-Arctic Extractive Industries Studies and is a founding faculty member of the Austrian Polar Research Institute (APRI). She has been working on the social dimensions of natural resource extraction since 2007, in Siberia and in the Yukon Territory in Canada. This includes fly-in/fly-out operations (FIFO) and Corporate Social Responsibility aspects of Siberian transport infrastructures. Since 2014, she has been collaborating with the First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun in the Yukon in studying Indigenous long-term relations with the gold and silver mining industry on First Nations’ Traditional Territories. Gertrude is a strong advocate of solidaristic, decolonial research methodologies in Arctic sciences and for the co-creation of knowledge that bridges Indigenous knowledge and interests with academic research through true partnership. This includes popular science publication for and together with Indigenous rights holders. Currently she is coordinator of the IASSA working group on Gender in the Arctic, Austrian representative to the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and a member of the Horizon 2020 coordination action EU PolarNet, which has the mandate to develop and implement the EU Commission’s Polar Research Program. Her research focus at CeSCoS is “Mining in Solidarity” and looks at social justice and global solidarity in times of increased mineral extraction for the green transition.

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.

Natalia Varabyeu Kancelova

Natalia Varabyeu Kancelova joined CeSCoS in January 2021, and is responsible for different management tasks, such as coordination of internal processes, event management, media and public relations, financial management, and daily operations. Natalia studied Transcultural Communication, Slavonic Studies, and Interdisciplinary Eastern European Studies with a specialization in social sciences at the University of Vienna. Previous to her employment at the University of Vienna, she worked as a programme assistant at the office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Slovakia and as a student assistant within the FWF Special Research Programme (SFB) ‘German in Austria. Variation – Contact – Perception’ at the Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Vienna.

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:

Sebastian Fonseca (Solidarity Fellow)

Sebastian Fonseca is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME) at the University of Zurich, funded by the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship. He is an international medical doctor (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia) who also completed an MA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics of Health (UCL, UK) and a PhD in Global Health and Social Medicine (King’s College London, UK). His current research focuses on developing Latin American social medicine throughout the twentieth century, working around the thought style of the largest association in this field: ALAMES or the Latin American Social Medicine and Collective Health Association. Sebastian’s research interests are situated in multiple approaches to the social basis of population health. Specifically, local epistemologies on health emerging from Latin American, Asian and African scholarship that speaks back to the predominant topics on global health such as the right to health, the social determinants of health, decolonial perspectives, social justice and activism in health. His current efforts at CeSCoS contribute to the SolPan+ project, focusing on the expressions of solidarity and alternative ways of organising health in the context of violence and the pandemic in Latin America.



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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Isabella M. Radhuber (Solidarity Fellow)

Isabella M. Radhuber earned her 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 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. Isabella currently works as scientific collaborator with the Research Network Latin America, and she leads the SolPan+ Latin America project.

Nikolas Rose (Solidarity Fellow)

Nikolas Rose is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London. Trained as a biologist, a psychologist and a sociologist, Rose co-founded two influential radical journals in the 1970s and 1980s, playing a key role in introducing French post-structuralist critical thougth to an English speaking audience and helping develop new approaches to political analysis and strategy. He founded the History of the Present Research Network, an international network influenced by the writings of Michel Foucault and is founding editor of BioSocieties: an interdisciplinary journal for social studies of the life sciences. His work explores how scientific developements have changed conceptions of human identity and governance and what this means for our political, socio-economic and legal futures.  He has worked extensively on questions of science and democracy, with a focus on innovations in biotechnology.   His current work is on the politics of mental health, psychiatry and neuroscience: he is Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health at King’s College London and he is the Director of a major programme of research on urban mental health.


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


 Aktuellste Medienberichte

Medienberichte 2020 

Medienberichte aus 2018 und 2019