Arbeitsbereich: Political Science

Mario Datts

8. June 2021

Mario Datts studied Political Science in Hanover and Berlin and finished his studies with a thesis on the pirate party. He then obtained his Doctorate at the University of Düsseldorf with his doctoral thesis on the usage of social media by political parties. Since 2018, Mario Datts has been working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Hildesheim under the thematic priority ‘politics and Internet’ and is habilitating under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer. Since 2021 Mario Datts is cooperating with the DIID for examing local e-democracy in Germany.
His research interests concerns aspects of politics and digital media (e-participation, mobile participation, digital communication, social media) and methods from the field Computational Social Science.

L. Constantin Wurthmann

14. April 2021

L. Constantin Wurthmann is a research assistant at the department of Political Science II at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf since 2017. Previously, he studied Political Science (B.A.) and Theory and Comparison of Political Systems in Transition (M.A.) at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In addition, he gained experience abroad through one semester each at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and the Universitatea Babes-Bolyai (Cluj-Napoca, Romania).
His research interests include election, party and communication research. A particular focus lies on the question of the extent to which digitalization is changing the communication and information behaviour of recipients and transmitters in the political sphere and how digital tools are already being used for this purpose today.

Dr. Lena Masch

1. September 2020

Lena Masch is a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt-University of Berlin. She obtained her doctorate in Political Science (Dr. rer. pol.) at the University of Stuttgart.She also holds an M.Sc. in Social Research Methods from City University London and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Greifswald. At Heinrich-Heine-University she was postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Social Sciences from 2017 to 2021. Her main areas of expertise include political communication, political psychology as well as experimental research methods.

Maria Becker

13. January 2020

Maria Becker is a research assistant at the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration of North Rhine-Westphalia (HSPV NRW) in Cologne. She is part of the PhD program “Online-Participation” and belongs to the second cohort of PhD students at the NRW Forschungskolleg. She completed her master’s degree (MSc) in “Development and International Relations” in Denmark with a focus on political science as well as on gender and migration studies.

After completing her master’s degree, she worked in different sectors such as refugee aid, political education for teenagers with a migration and refugee background, and as an constituency assistant. In her dissertation, she examines the political participation of people with a migration and refugee background in online participation processes using case studies. She is supervised by Prof. Möltgen-Sicking (HSPV NRW, Cologne).

Andreas Braun

20. May 2019

Andreas Braun has been a research assistant at the Chair of Political Science II at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf since January 2019 and a member of the second funding phase of the NRW PhD programme “Online Participation”. He studied political science at the University of Duisburg-Essen (B.A.) and at the WWU Münster (M.A.).

Before completing his master’s thesis Andreas Braun worked for several months in the department of civic participation of the city of Wuppertal, whose 2016’s “Citizen’ jury on the possible construction of a cable car” he examined in his thesis regarding the political activation potential of the participation instrument. In the course of the PhD programme “Online Participation”, he focuses on the effectiveness of municipal participation methods in the activation of politically underrepresented groups.

Prof. Dr. Katrin Möltgen-Sicking

21. March 2018

Since 2001, Prof. Dr. Katrin Möltgen-Sicking teaches Political Sciences, Sociology and Intercultural Competences at the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration and Management of North Rhine Westfalia in Cologne. Furthermore she is a lecturer for Project Management at the University of Kassel.

Among others, she has done some research about non institutionalized forms of political participation on the local area in Germany and Brazil and about political participation of migrants. In 2012, she spent a three-month research visit at the Federal University of Porto Alegre (Brazil) to study the forms of local political part-
icipation in Brazil.

Dr. Stefan Thierse

16. March 2018

Stefan Thierse has been affiliated with the Institute for Social Sciences at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf since October 2016. He held an interim junior professorship for Political Science and European Integration until September 2017. He was promoted to temporary academic senior councilor (Akademischer Oberrat auf Zeit) in October 2017. Before coming to Düsseldorf, he has held positions as Research Assistant at the University of Duisburg-Essen (NRW School of Governance) and at the University of Bonn, where he received his PhD in 2015 with a work on minority rights in the European Parliament.

In his post-doctoral studies, his research interests are on the role of non-governmental organizations in the policy process, with a particular focus on constitutional complaints. As a member of the DIID, he is specifically interested in the significance of internet-based organization of political participation in the context of litigation and petitions.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Marschall

12. March 2018

Prof. Dr. Stefan Marschall is a full professor of political science and Chair of the division Political Science II at the Department of Social Sciences of Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf. He is a specialist on the political system of Germany, on comparative as well as transnational parliamentarism and especially on political (online) com-
munication and participation. Since 2012, Stefan Marschall is the speaker of the section “Politics and Communication” of the German Political Science Association (DVPW). Moreover, Stefan Marschall is head of the Duesseldorf Research Centre on the German Voting Advice Application “Wahl-O-Mat” and responsible for the development and implementation of the “lokal-o-mat”.

A further research focus of Stefan Marschall relating to the social and political dimensions of internet is documented by his works on political online-participation. Since 2016 he is partner in the Horizon 2020 Twinning Project Network for Social Computing Research – NOTRE (TWINN – 2015, Additionally, he is one of the Principal Investigators and Member of the Board of the Institute for Internet and Democracy ( as well as of the Graduate School “Online Participation”. For the DIID he serves as one of the two Deputy Speakers. He has conducted and published several studies on the use of online-based participation platforms within parties and parliaments in the last years.

Dr. Katharina Gerl

12. March 2018

Katharina Gerl is a postdoctoral researcher at the Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID). In her PhD thesis she analyzed the effects of digitalization and mediatization on party organizations in Germany.

Her research focuses on the implications of digital techno-
logies for political institutions, political communication and participation. She conducted several studies evaluating the usage of onlinebased tools by political organizations. At the DIID she is also in charge of the unit that focusses on the evaluation of online public partici-
pation and the development of evaluation criteria to measure and compare the input, output, outcome and impact of digital tools for public participation.

Dr. Nicole Najemnik

10. March 2018

Nicole Najemnik was a research assistant at the University of Police and Administration (HSPV NRW) in Cologne and a doctoral candidate in the NRW Research College Online Participation. In her dissertation, she investigated factors influencing women’s participation in municipal online participation processes using the example of the citizens’ budget of the city of Wuppertal.

Her research interests include online participation, digital violence, digital divides, and inclusion and digitalisation.

Nicole Najemnik has been working as an IT consultant since April 2021 and supports the public administration in the implementation of the Online Access Act (OZG).

Dr. Nadja Wilker

9. March 2018

Nadja Wilker holds a Bachelor of Communication and Political Sciences from the University of Muenster and a Master of Political Communication from the University of Duesseldorf.

In her master thesis she analysed the participative and representative dimensions of ‚Liquid Democracy‘, an online-based concept for democratic decision making made famous by the Pirate Party. At the end of 2012, she started working as a research assistant at the department of political sciences in Duesseldorf. Since 2014 she has been working on her PhD project as part of the NRW Graduate School Online Participation. Her research and teaching focus is in political (online) communication and theories of political participation and representation. In her research, she deals with questions of acceptance and legitimacy of public participation from the perspective of legislatures and political parties.

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Tobias Escher

5. March 2018

Tobias Escher leads a junior research group funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, focused on the effects of citizen participation on quality and legitimacy of political decisions regarding the transformation towards sustainable mobility, in particular on the local level. Previously he has managed both the Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID) and the PhD programme on local level online participation (NRW Forschungskolleg) of Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf. His research interests are the design and evaluation of participatory processes online and offline. His particular focus is the potential contribution of citizen participation for increasing the quality and legitimacy/acceptance of political decisions. He has also developed a course on the theory and practice of online participation, a result of which has been a platform allowing students to shape their course curricula.

Tobias Escher is a social scientist with a PhD in Information Science, Communication Studies and the Social Sciences from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. To asses the opportunities as well as the limitations of digital technologies he can also rely on his basic knowledge of Computer Science. Having previously worked and studied in Oxford, London, Leicester and Berlin, he joined Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf in 2011.