Arbeitsbereich: Political Science

Prof. Dr. Thomas Poguntke

21. November 2022

Prof. Dr. Thomas Poguntke has held the Chair of Comparative Politics at the HHU since 2010 in conjunction with his Co-Directorship of the Düsseldorf Party Research Institute PRuF. He specializes on the comparative analysis of political parties and coordinates a longitudinal cross-national project on political parties in more than 50 countries around the globe ( in collaboration with Susan Scarrow (Houston) and Paul Webb (Sussex).

In the context of the DIID he will focus on digital intra-party democracy and digital campaigning.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Winzen

24. October 2022

Thomas Winzen is Professor of European Politics and International Relations at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf.

His research topics include differentiated European integration, the impact of democratic backsliding on European Union institutions and decision-making, the role of parliaments in European and international politics, and the organization and practice of global Internet governance.

Dr. Mario Datts

8. June 2021

Dr. Mario Datts studied political science in Hanover and Berlin. He graduated in 2014 with a thesis on the Pirate Party. He then completed his doctorate at the University of Düsseldorf with a thesis on the use of social media by political parties. Until 2021, Mario Datts worked as a research assistant at the University of Hildesheim in the thematic area “Politics and the Internet” and cooperated with DIID to study local e-democracy in Germany. Since 2022, Mario Datts has been working at the DLR Project Management Agency, where his responsibilities include automation processes and empirical analyses in the field of research funding.

His research interests concern aspects of politics and digital media (e-participation, mobile participation, digital communication, social media) and methods from the field of computational social science.

Dr. L. Constantin Wurthmann

14. April 2021

Dr. L. Constantin Wurthmann is a postdoc in the National Election Studies team at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Mannheim. Previously, he was a research assistant at the Chair of Political Science II at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf from 2017 to 2021. Before that, he studied the Bachelor’s programme in Political Science and the Master’s programme Theory and Comparison of Political Systems in Transition 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 lie in the field of electoral, party and representation research.

Dr. Lena Masch

1. September 2020

Lena Masch is a research associate at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She studied Political Science at the University of Greifswald (B.A. and M.A.) and Social Research Methods at City University London (M.Sc.). She received her doctorate (Dr. rer. pol.) from the University of Stuttgart. At Heinrich Heine University, her positions from 2017 to 2021 included Akademische Rätin a.Z. at the Chair of Political Science II of the Institute of Social Sciences.

Her research focuses on political psychology, political sociology, and political communication. One of her research interests is the cognitive and emotional factors influencing political attitudes, especially with regard to political parties, politicians, and trust in democratic institutions.

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 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 focused 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.

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 technologies 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 participation 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

Dr. 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 the participation of women 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 and digital divides. Dr. Nicole Najemnik has been working as an IT consultant since April 2021 and supports public administration in digitalization.

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.