People in the DIID come from a diversity of disciplines and areas: economics, computer science, communication science, philosophy, political science, law, sociology, and public administration. Here you can find out more about the members of the DIID. More information on how to join the DIID can be found here.
Dr. Dennis Frieß is the research coordinator of the Düsseldorf Institute of Internet and Democracy. He holds a Bachelor degree in Political Sciences, Social Sciences and Communications from the University of Erfurt and a Master in Political Communication from the University of Düsseldorf. He graduated in 2014 with a master’s thesis on the “Empirical analysis of online deliberation processes”. From 2014 until 2019 he worked as a research fellow at the media and communication department. In 2020 he finished his PhD on Deliberative Online Publics.
His research interests are political (online) communication, online deliberation and e-participation. As a member of the DIID he is interested online deliberation and democracy-related expectations that are associated with e-participation.
Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders has been a professor for communication and media studies at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf since 2011. She is a member of the DFG research group “Political Communication in the Online-World”.
Her research deals with public discourses and public opinion formation and puts a focus on the role of established mass media and online-communication.
Within the DIID, her interest lies in the deliberative quality and the different types of processes in online-discourses in the realm of political participation.
Prof. Dr. Frank Bätge is professor at the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration North Rhine-Westphalia. He is also a lecturer at the German University of Admini-
strative Sciences in Speyer and at the NRW School of Governance at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Prior to his appointment as professor, he held a leading position in local government.
His research interests lie in the field of municipal law and the law of political participation in the form of elections, decisions by citizens and informal forms of participation. In this context, he is particularly interested in legal questions of online participation and e-demcracy. He was consulted by parliaments as an expert. Prof. Dr. Bätge has written various publications and reports on these fields. He is editor of the journal named municipal electoral practice and the scientific publication series named Special Administrative Law.
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Dorothea Baumeister is a junior professor for computational social choice at Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf. Since 2017 she leads the DFG-project “Distances in Voting”.
In her research she concentrates on the axiomatic and computa tionalan alysis of problems from the field of preference aggregation, votingsystems, and fair division. At the DIID her focus lies on the mathematical formalization of processes in online participation and theinfluence of distances in online voting.
Prof. Dr. Michael Baurmann is a Senior Professor for Sociology at the University of Duesseldorf. He studied sociology, philosophy and law. He has been visiting professor in Australia (ANU), Mexico (ITAM) and the United States (NYU) and was senior research fellow at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg in Greifswald in 2009 and 2013. He is the current Managing Director of the DIID.
His main research interests are general theory of sociology, rational choice theory, social epistemology, and the epistemic dimensions of democracy. At the DIID he is interested in inovative systems for online deliberation and argumentation.
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).
Dr. Marike Bormann is a research assistant at the department of Social Sciences at Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf. She holds a bachelor´s degree in Social Sciences (Communication and Media Studies, Political Science and Sociology) from Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf and a master´s degree in Communication Management from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover.
As a member of the DIID, her core interests are political online participation and deviant forms of political online communication. In her PhD project, she focuses on incivility in political online communication. Her dissertation is part of an interdisciplinary project which is supported by the Digital Society research program funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia.
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.
Since January 2022, Jonas Carstens has been a research assistant at the chair of Practical Philosophy at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf and a member of the use case law at the Manchot research group “Decision-making with the help of Artificial Intelligence”. He studied English and Philosophy (B.A.) as well as English and Philosophy (M.Ed.) and Practical Philosophy of the Economy and the Environment (M.A.) in Kiel.
The focus of his research are philosophical concepts of discrimination and their application to discrimination through artificial intelligence. As a member of the DIID he is especially interested in ethical aspects of AI-based online-deliberation as well as the relationship between social power structures and AI in general.
Dr. 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.
Prof. Dr. Frank Dietrich holds the chair of Practical Philosophy at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf since 2012.
His research interests are political philosophy, legal philosophy and ethics. As part of the DIID, he deals with the democratic-theoretical legitimation of online participation processes and the protection of privacy.
Prof. Dr. Stefan Dietze is Professor of Data & Knowledge Engineering at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and Scientific Director of the department Knowledge Technologies for the Social Sciences at GESIS (Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences) in Cologne.
His research is concerned with mining and interpretation of large amounts of heterogeneous data, in particular from the Web, using methods at the intersection of natural language processing, machine learning, and information retrieval. Being head of the Knowledge Technologies for the Social Sciences department at GESIS, a particular focus is on the use of (social) web data for interdisciplinary research questions in the social sciences. At DIID, he is interested in the investigation of online discourse using NLP-based methods, e.g., for the recognition and classification of statements or sources or the understanding of information diffusion in social networks.
Since 2017, Pero Došenović has been a research assistant at the department of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. He holds a bachelor’s degree in media management from the University of Music, Theatre and Media in Hanover and a master’s degree in strategic communication from the University of Muenster. Later, he has worked there as a research assistant and coordinator of the “Center for Media Practice” with a focus on applied market and opinion research.
His main areas of interest in research and teaching are political online communication and participation as well as the public perception and the development of critical movements on digitalization. He is currently involved in the project “Meinungsmonitro Künstliche Intelligenz” [MeMo:KI], which is being realized in research partnership with the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS). MeMoKI aims at a continuous investigation of the formation and change of public opinion on artificial intelligence.
Björn Ebbinghaus has studied Computer Science at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf since 2013. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 2017. At the same time, he was already working on D-BAS, the dialog-based argumentation system, a project of the first phase of the Research Training Group, as a student assistant. During his master studies at the HHU, he focused on the use of argumentation systems in natural language environments, such as chat systems, by chatbots.
In his master thesis he investigated the possibilities of extending existing argumentation systems with a subsequent decision making process. For this purpose, an experiment was conducted with the student body of computer science to test whether this kind of decision making is perceived as fair and acceptable by the students. Since January 2019 he is employed as a research assistant at the Chair of Computer Networks of Prof. Martin Mauve, where he is researching the practical application and development of systems for decision making.
Katharina is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC), working on the Australian Laureate Fellowship project “Determining the Drivers and Dynamics of Partisanship and Polarisation in Online Public Debate”.
She holds a PhD in Communication and Media Science from the University of Dusseldorf, titled “Communication Forms and Deliberation Dynamic”. Her research focuses on political communication, digital public sphere, opinion formation processes and democratic innovations.
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.
Juliane Feustel holds a master’s degree in communication research and phonetics, psychology, and sociology and has been working as a clerk at DIID since September 2022, where she is responsible for third-party funding administration, personnel management, and various organizational tasks.
Previously, she worked as a project manager for various language service providers.
Katharina Frehmann is a research associate at the department of Social Sciences at Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf. She graduated in Communication Studies, Audio-visual Publishing (B.A.) and Communication and Media Research (M.A.) at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.
In her PhD project, she investigates the usage and effects of voice assistants in everyday life. Furthermore, her research interests are journalism research and health communication.”
Anna Gaßner is a research assistant at the Chair of Sociology II of the Institute of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. She studied Political Science (after Wolfgang Abendroth) at the Philipps-Universität Marburg (B.A.) and at the University of Cologne (M.A.). Her dissertation dealt with political right-wing participation and the mobilisation potential of extremist actors.
Her research focuses on gender studies as well as on political attitudes and political behaviour in the field of political sociology. One research interest is the connection between technology, digitalisation and gender. Specifically, how advancing digitalisation reinforces and produces gender inequalities.
Marius Gerads has been a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf since 2020. He studied Political Communication (Master of Arts) at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and Social Sciences and Economics (Bachelor of Science) at the University of Cologne. While studying he also completed the training at the Cologne School of Journalism for Politics and Economics. Afterwards he worked as an online journalist for the german magazine Wirtschaftswoche and is still working for the multimedia department of public-broadcasting radio station Deutschlandfunk.
His research interests include public discourse and public opinion formation under conditions of online communication, dissonant public sphere and perception of media bias. Within the DIID, his interest lies in public opinion formation and in this process the roles of established mass media (offline/online) and online-mediated interpersonal communication in this process.
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.-Ing. Kalman Graffi is Principal Scientist at the Honda Research Institute Europe, where he heads the Reliable Systems & Software department. Previously, he was a DIID member and Junior Professor “Technology of Social Networks” at the Institute of Computer Science at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf from 8/2012 to 6/2019.
His research here includes the investigation of new social interaction possibilities over the Internet as well as mechanisms and protocols for highly scalable and secure distributed systems. At DIID, he was interested in the technical foundations for secure and robust communication systems in decentralized peer-to-peer networks under precarious conditions. Currently, he is looking at how the industrial data processing of tomorrow can be privacy-preserving and privacy-compliant.
Prof. Dr. Susanne Hahn is apl. Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf. Since 2017 she is filling in the professorship of theoretical philosophy. 2017 Susanne Hahn was awarded with the German Prize for Philosophy and Social Ethics of the Max-Uwe-Redler-Stiftung.
Her research focuses lies on rationality, normativity and business ethics. As part of the DIID, she deals with the normative challenges of digitization.
Hannah Harmsen works as a student assistant at the DIID since January 2022. She is studying the Bachelor of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University.
She supports the members of the DIID in research projects, especially in the statistical field, and takes on various internal tasks.
Her main interest is deviant political communication and the formation of filter bubbles on the internet.
Since March 2018, Dominique Heinbach is a research associate in the junior research group “Deliberative Discussions in the Social Web”, funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. Prior to this, she was a research associate at the Department of Communication at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. She graduated in Communication Studies, Film Studies (B.A.) and Communication and Media Research (M.A.) in Mainz.
Her master’s thesis focused on the long-term effects of media brand and user comments on the persuasiveness of online news articles. Her research interests include political online participation and deliberation as well as media effects and persuasion research in the social web. In her dissertation, she investigates the short- and long-term effects of moderation on the deliberative quality and effects of public online discussions on political issues in the news media. At the DIID, she is especially interested in online deliberation processes and the (automated) analysis of online discussions.
Prof. Dr. Harald Hofmann teaches at the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration NRW. He is Professor of Law, Administration and Local Self-Government. He was four times advisor to the parliament of the Federal State of North-Rhine-Westphalia, concerning the reforms of the municipal law and participation.
His research concentrates on Political Participation. He is Deputy-Chairman of the “PhD programme Online Partici-
pation” and member of the “Research-group Political Participation FHöV”.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Andrea Icks is head of the Institute for Health Services Research and Health Economics at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf since 2015 and has been heading the corresponding institute at the German Diabetes Center, Leibniz Institute for Diabetes Research in Düsseldorf since 2016. She is deputy spokesperson of the Centre for Health and Society at the Faculty of Medicine.
The main areas of her research are patient-relevant outcomes of health care as well as the cost-effectiveness of complex interventions. In the sense of patient-centered research, one focus is on patient needs and preferences. Citizens and patients are actively involved as co-researchers in the sense of participatory research. Within the framework of the DIID, particularly the information needs of patients expressed in internet forums are investigated using text mining methods.
Prof. Dr. Olaf Jandura is an adjunct professor at the Department of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, where he holds the chair of Communication and Media Studies II since October 2020.
In his research and teaching, he focuses on political communication, media content research, and reception research. In the context of DIID, he is concerned with the fragmentation of audience and market online.
Celine Fabienne Kampes is working as a research associate at the business studies department of the University of Applied Sciences Duesseldorf. She is doing her doctor‘s degree as part of the tandem-project ‘audience and market fragmentation online’ together with Inga Brentel from the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. She studied communication and multimedia management at the University of Applied Siences Düsseldorf (B.A.) and technology and innovation management at the FOM Düsseldorf (M.Sc.). Within her bachelor thesis, she focused on the discrepancy between governmental data protection actions and its perception within e-administration. In her master thesis, she concentrated on requirements for certification standards within the voluntary offset market.
In her dissertation she is dedicated to the increasing influence of new advertising forms (“programmatic advertising”, “native advertising”) as well as their avoidance (ad blocking technology) on the business models and journalistic functioning of online media. Regarding the DIID, she is particularly interested in the evolving business models of online information offers and their impact on pluralism.
Since January 2020, Birte Keller has been a research assistant at the department of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and a master’s degree in Political Communication from the Heinrich Heine University.
In 2019, she worked as a research assistant with Prof. Dr. Marcinkowski, where she supported the project “Fair Artificial Intelligence Reasoning in Higher Education” as part of the Volkswagen Foundation’s project series ” Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Tomorrow’s World”. Subsequently, in her master’s thesis she focused perceptions of artificial intelligence in higher education. She is currently involved in the project “Meinungsmonitro Künstliche Intelligenz” [MeMo:KI], which is being realized in research partnership with the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS). MeMoKI aims at a continuous investigation of the formation and change of public opinion on artificial intelligence.
Dr. Ole Kelm is a research assistant at the Institute for Social Sciences at the University Düsseldorf. He received his PhD in Communication Studies from the University Düsseldorf in 2020. Previously, he studied Political Communication at University Düsseldorf (M.A.) as well as Political Science and Communication Studies at the University Greifswald (B.A.).
His research interests include political (online) communication, consequences of media perceptions, political consumerism, and the consequences of algorithmically curated online content.
Kimon Kieslich, M. A., is an alumnus of DIID after working as a research assistant at the Chair of Communication and Media Studies I at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and in the research project Meinungsmonitor Künstliche Intelligenz [MeMo:KI]. He previously studied Communication Science (B.A. & M.A.) at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.
In his research, Kimon is concerned with population opinion on as well as media coverage of AI.
In particular, he is interested in the following research areas: Public good-oriented AI; legitimacy perceptions of algorithmic systems; human-machine interaction.
Christian Koß is research associate at the department of Social Sciences at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. He holds a bachelor‘s degree in Sociology and a master‘s degree in Social Research from the University of Bremen. Before moving to the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, he was employed at the University of Stuttgart in the third-party funded project ‚ABD – Aufbruch, Abbruch oder Durchbruch? Einflussfaktoren auf wissenschaftliche Karriereverläufe in den Natur- und Sozialwissenschaften‘ Currently, he is coordinating the third-party funded project ‘Discourse Data for Policy’ together with colleagues at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.
For his dissertation, Christian Koß works in the field of computational social science and explores artificial intelligence methods for the analysis of political discourse and dynamics. His research focuses on network analysis and machine learning.
Peter Kotzian studied social science at the University of Mannheim, where he also obtained his Ph.D. After a research internship at the London School of Economics he received his venia docendi for political science at the Technical Uni-
versity of Darmstadt. In 2014 he became senior research assistant at the Chair of Accounting at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf.
Dr. Kotzian‘s research interests cover a range of fields: experimental behavioral research, but also comparative institutional analysis, democratization of international governance by inclusion of non-governmental actors. Within the DIID, research projects on the impact of digitalization on individual and collective decision processes in companies are in preparation. Of special interest are issues of business analytics and their impact on entrepreneurial decison-making.
Dr. Johannes Krause is research assistant at the Chair of Sociology II since 2011. He studied Social Sciences at the University of Cologne and completed a part-time Master of Business Administration in 2019.
His research interests are physical attractiveness and the (un-)fair determinants of educational trajectories.
Anna-Maria Linstaedt works as a graduate assistant at DIID since April of 2022.
She is currently studying Political Communication for her master’s degree at the Heinrich-Heine-University. At DIID she is responsible for various organizational tasks.
Her particular interest lies in online deliberation research and the respective consequences for political processes in democracies.
Dr. Marco Lünich is research associate at the Social Science Department at the University of Düsseldorf. He holds a Bachelor degree in Communication Science from the University of Erfurt and a Master in Communication Science from the Universiteit van Amsterdam. From 2014-
2017 he researched and taught at the Departement of Communication at the University of Muenster.
His research interests lie in the field of political (online-) communication, media and sports and societal consequences of digitalization and digital media. In his PhD project he focuses on the epistemological perceptions of digitalization, particulary on big data.
Dr. Stefanie Lütters is a research assistant at DIID. In her phD thesis she analyzed the influence of social networks on political participation in contrasting social spaces. Previously, she studied Social Sciences at the University of Cologne (B.Sc.) and at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (M.A.).
Her research interests are in political sociology, especially in the areas of social and political inequality, social capital, and the impact of digitalization on political participation.
Since 2018, Merja Mahrt is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University. She has previously worked as a Research Associate in Düsseldorf and Friedrichshafen. In 2020 and 2021, she was interim professor for Communication and Media Studies at Technical University Chemnitz. She completed her habilitation at the Faculty of the Arts at Heinrich Heine University in 2017 and received her PhD from the University of Amsterdam in 2010. Since 2020, she is deputy speaker for the division Digital Communication within the German Communication Association.
Her research focuses on the digital fragmentation of society and its consequences for social and political participation. She is especially interested in differences in the use and effects of online versus offline media.
image source: Alexander Vejnovic
Dr. Frank Marcinkowski has joined the Institute for Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf as Professor of Communication in October 2017.
His research and teaching areas include communication theories, political communication and online media. At DIID he is interested in public perceptions, evaluation and opinion formation of digitalization.
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, http://notre.socialcomputing.eu/). Additionally, he is one of the Principal Investigators and Member of the Board of the Institute for Internet and Democracy (www.diid.hhu.de) 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.
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.
Prof. Dr. Martin Mauve is heading the chair for computer networks and communication systems at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf. Since 2015 he is also dean of the faculty for mathematics and natural sciences at the same university.
His research interests include secure and robust distributed systems, computer supported collaborative work and online participation. A special focus of his work is on scalable support for discussions and decision making. In the context of the DIID he is particularly interested in novel concepts for dialog-based online-participation and its technical realization.
Dr. Christian Meter founded the company “schnaq GmbH” with Dr. Alexander Schneider and Michael Birkhoff, where they now continue their research, develop software and offer consulting services. The focus remains on improving communication and interaction with a large group of people via the Internet to enable better discourse, higher participation and more structure in discussions.
Christian did research on online discussions and participation at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, in the field of computer science. Software was developed and practically evaluated with the goal of enabling clearer discourse and decision-making processes.
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. Martin Morlok holds the Chair for Public Law, Legal Theory and Sociology of Law at the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf since 2002. From 1997 to 2011 he was director of The Institute of German and International Party Law and Party Research (PRuF).
His research interests are constitutional law, parliamentary law, party law, religious law, state liability law and methodology
Henri Mütschele is a research associate at the Chair of Communication and Media Science III at Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf. After graduating in Sociology, Politics & Economics (B.A.) at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, he completed a masters in General Rhetoric at the University of Tübingen. He also holds a master’s degree in Legal & Political Theory from University College London.
His doctoral thesis deals with deliberative argumentation patterns in online communication and their influence on internet users’ political decision-making. Thematically, the focus is on climate policy in Germany.
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).
Christopher Niederelz is a PhD-student at the “NRW-Forschungskolleg Online-Partizipation”. He is earning his degree under the tutelage of Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders of the chair of communication- and media science III at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf.
He studied political science and history at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz and proceeded with a Master of Arts in Democracy and Governance at Justus-Liebig-University Gießen. His MA-Thesis dealt with the explanation of the divergent outcomes of the Euro- and the Refugee Chrisis. Apart from his focus on European integration and International politics, Christopher Niederelz concentrated on the research of political extremism and the medialisation of political news and education.
At the Forschungskolleg, his research-interest revolves around the participation-strategies of interest-groups in online-participation systems.
Sarah-Michelle Nienhaus has been a research assistant at the Chair of Communication and Media Studies III at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf since April 2021, where she previously worked as a research assistant. She also completed her studies at HHU (B.A. Social Sciences – Media, Politics, Society, M.A. Political Communication).
The topic of her master’s thesis was the framing of the Covid 19 pandemic in Bundestag debates and news reports. The topic of her dissertation project is polarization and debate style within political parties.
Elena Orths worked as a student assistant in the DIID core team from March 2021 to March 2022, and is now a DIID alumni. At Heinrich Heine University, she is studying History and German Studies and is expected to complete her Bachelor’s degree in winter 2022/2023.
As an assistant, she was responsible for DIID-internal tasks, such as maintaining the website, among others. She is particularly interested in digital civic participation and the effects of digitalization on participation in democracies.
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 (https://www.politicalpartydb.
In the context of the DIID he will focus on digital intra-party democracy and digital campaigning.
Prof. Dr. Jörg Rothe is head of the working group for complexity theory and cryptology at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf since 2000. Since 2014 he is chair of the Department of Computer Science.
His research interests are in computational social choice, algorithmic game theory, and fair division, typically focusing on the algorithmic and complexity-theoretic properties of the related problems. At DIID, he is interested in formal models of theoretical computer science for the description and evaluation of user interactions in online participation processes.
Bastian Rottinghaus worked as a research assistant at the DIID of Heinrich Heine University between October 2016 and December 2019. He studied Social Sciences (B.A. and M.A.) in Düsseldorf. From 2010 onwards, he was initially employed as a research assistant at the Chair of Sociology II at Heinrich Heine University. In his dissertation, submitted in 2015, he dealt with the empirical measurement of aspects of political competence and their effects on political participatory action. His work at the DIID focused on collaborating on a comprehensive research project on the effects and influencing factors of municipal online participation in a comparative perspective and, in a follow-up project, on the continuation of the DIID Monitor.
In his current position at the DJI in Halle, he is involved as a researcher in the evaluation of the federal programme “Demokratie leben!”.
Dr. Alexander Schneider has been CEO and founder of schnaq GmbH since 2021, which, among other things, produces software for structured discussions. There, he is co-responsible for business development and the further development of the discussion software, among other things.
In 2020, he successfully completed his dissertation in computer science with the topic “Untangling Internet Debate – Decentralization and Reuse of Arguments for Online Discussion Software.” His research focused on cybersecurity and distributed systems in the context of structured discussion system software.
Cornelia Schoenwald was a clerk at the DIID as well as at the chairs of sociology I and II. She also worked for the internship office of the Heinrich-Heine University. She holds a degree as an industrial clerk.
At the DIID, she was responsible for the external funds management, personnel administration, event management, and material work.
Jonathan Seim studied political science and philosophy at Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf and at the University of the West of Scotland. As a research assistant at DIID, he is responsible for the coordination of the institute. He is also a research assistant in the Digital Ethics project at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS). Jonathan Seim’s position is financed by project funds from the Mercator Foundation. His research focuses on moral philosophy and political philosophy, in particular democratic theory.
His dissertation deals with democratic participation rights in the context of citizen participation procedures. Although a correct allocation of participation rights is of fundamental importance for the legitimacy of those procedures, this question is not sufficiently addressed in politics or science. The aim of the dissertation project is to develop criteria for the allocation of participation rights in the context of consultative citizen participation procedures and guidance for the political practice. As a member of the DIID he is interested in requierements of legitimacy of online-participation.
From July 2019 to July 2020 Jacqueline Sengelhoff was part of the DIID-Team. As a student assistant, her tasks included writing and dispatching the monthly Newsletter as well as updating the DIID website.
She studied English/American Studies and Political Science and graduated in summer 2020. Within the Cosmos of the DIID she was interested in the effects of digitization on democratic institutions and political culture.
Dr. Anna Soßdorf, after working as a research assistant, is an alumni of DIID. She studied Social Sciences, including Communication Sciences, political science and Sociology, at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf and Media science at Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen. In 2015 she successfully defended her doctoral thesis which revolves around political participation of adolescents and the role of the internet.
Her research focuses in political education and participation of adolescents, digitisation and digital literacy, digital ethics and artificial intelligence.
Stefan Conrad is full professor in computer science at Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf since 2002. He has a chair for databases and information systems. Since 2015 he is member of the Academic Senate of the Heinrich Heine University.
His research considers the analysis of large data sets, in particular, he is interested in image retrieval, the analysis of large time series, clustering, and text mining. He has on-going cooperations with industrial partners. Several of these cooperations were funded by the BMWi (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) in a research and development programme for small and medium enterprises. These projects dealt with opinion mining (sentiment analysis), extraction of product features relevant for users, and automated text summarization. At DIID his research interest is currently focused on automated topic extraction and content analyses of texts as well as identifying argument structures, sentiments, and emotions.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rosar has held one of three chairs of sociology within the Department of Social Sciences since 2010. Since 2015, he has been Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf.
In teaching and research he mainly focuses on questions of political sociology, the sociological analysis of inequality, and the methodology of empirical social sciences.
Since 2021, Christopher Starke works a post-doctoral researcher at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research and at the interdisciplinary research hub Human(e) AI of the University of Amsterdam. He is currently leading the two externally funded research projects ‘Discourse Data for Policy’ and ‘Responsible Academic Performance Prediction’ together with colleagues at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.
In his research, Christopher investigates the impact of artificial intelligence on democracy. This includes the following research areas: Perceptions of fairness, legitimacy, and technocracy regarding algorithmic decision-making systems in the public sector; potentials and challenges of AI to combat corruption; political consumerism in the attention economy.
Malte Steinbach works at the Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID) as a coordinator. He did his Ph.D at the Chair of Business Administration, in particular Work, Human Resource Management and Organization Studies at the Heinrich Heinrich University in Duesseldorf. He studied Geography, Urban Planning and Economics at the University of Bonn.
In his master thesis he studied the use of online-participation in urban development projects in the city of Bonn. His research focuses on organizers of online-participation processes using organization theories. In his dissertation, Malte Steinbach analyzed the diffusion of Online-Participation in public organizations based on neo-institutional approaches.
In April 2020 Malte Steinbach left the DIID at his own request.
Regina Stodden is a research assistant at the Computational Linguistics Department at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorff and a member of the second funding phase of the NRW PhD program “Online Participation”: She studied Educational Science, Text Technology, and Computational Linguistics (B.A.) at the University of Bielefeld and Information Science and Language Technology (M.A.) at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.
During her Bachelor studies, Regina Stodden researched on a smart apartment (CITEC Bielefeld). Furthermore, during her Master studies, she examined the accessibility of open data portals and developed possible applications with the usage of open data. In the course of the PhD program, “Online Participation”, Regina Stodden focuses on automatically natural language processing, especially text simplification, on propositions of users from online discussions. The goals are, on the one hand, to facilitate more persons(e.g., German language learners) participation and, on the other hand, to reduce the manual effort of text analysis.
Since July 2018, Anke Stoll is a research associate in the junior research group “Deliberative Discussions in the Social Web” at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. She studied Communication and Media Research at the University of Münster, the University of Zürich and the University of Leipzig.
In her master thesis Anke Stoll worked on the computer-aided classification of text data using machine-learning methods. Her research interests are quantitative methods of social science and applied statistics. She is particularly interested in the automated capture and analysis of text content. As a member of the DIID she deals with the computer-aided analysis of online deliberation processes and discussions.
Prof. Dr. Süß holds the Chair of Business Administration, in particular Organization Studies and Human Resource Management at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf since April 2010. From October 2013 till December 2014, he was Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics at the Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf. From January 2015 till September 2017, he was Vice President for Quality in Studies and Human Resource Management. Moreover, he is speaker of the Manchot Graduate School “Competitiveness of Young Enterprises“ (WEJU).
His research interests focus on Organizational Theory, Human Resource Management, new employment forms, empirical human resource and organizational research as well as higher education management. In context of the DIID, he is interested in democratic voting process‘ changes through online-participation in enterprises and other organizations.
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.
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Ulf Tranow is assistant professor of Sociology at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf since 2013.
His research interests include sociological theories of action, social mechanisms of normative integration as well as problems of collective good and their solutions. At DIID, he is interested in the social, societal and institutional conditions for building political confidence in conflicting online deliberation processes.
Bettina Ülpenich is research assistant at the Chair of Sociology I and II of the Institute of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. After having graduated in graphic design technology and economics & politics she studied sociology at the University of Wuppertal and finished in 2013 with a master degree. Her PhD thesis dealt with the construction of categories of persons in the course of the refugee crises.
Her research interests are the sociology of categorization, gender studies and trends in higher education.
Since 2004 Prof. Dr. Gerhard Vowe is professor of Com-
munication and Media Studies at the Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf. He is spokesperson of the DFG (German Research Fund) research group “Political Com-
munication in the Online World”.
His study interest comprise political online communication, media politics and security issues in mass media. As part of the DIID, he is interested in deviant forms of political online communication.
Marco Wähner is a research assistant at the Social Science Department and PhD-Student (NRW Forschungskolleg Online-Partizipation) at the Heinrich Heine University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Germanistik and Political Science and a master’s degree in social science from Duesseldorf.
In his master’s thesis he examined internet-specific resources as a predictor of political (online) participation. Previously, he worked as a student assistant (WHB) at DIID especially on the YOUniversity project. His research interests lie in the determination of success and explanation factors as well as the impact analysis of participation procedures at the local level.
Thomas Weiler, ass.iur., was a research assistant at the Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung NRW (now: Hochschule für Polizei und öffentliche Verwaltung des Landes NRW) in Cologne. He studied law, political science, modern history and Scandinavian studies at Saarland University, Lund University (Sweden) and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. In 1999-2000 he was a visiting fellow at the Department of Government at Harvard University.
In his doctoral thesis at the Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf, he dealt with the legal requirements for mandatory online participation at the municipal level in North Rhine-Westphalia. He teaches at the HSPV in Cologne and is admitted to the bar in Bonn. He is particularly interested in electronic elections and voting in the European context and has also published on this topic.
Dr. Carina Weinmann is a postdoc at the Institute of Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. She studied Media and Communication Studies with minors in German Studies and Psychology at the University of Mannheim from 2007 to 2013 and received her PhD in 2018.
Her research is located at the intersection between communication science and media psychology. Against this background, she is primarily concerned with entertainment research, mediated deliberation, and the psychological processes surrounding political (online) communication.
Prof. Dr. Barbara E. Weißenberger holds the Chair of Accounting in the Department of Business Administration and Economics at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf. She is also Affiliate Professor of Accounting at Bucerius Law School, Hamburg.
In her research, she is most interested in how management control system design affects managerial decision-making with respect to firms’ financial objectives as well as non-financial goals, e.g., compliance or ecological and social sustainability. At the DIID, she studies the impact of the digital transformation in firm’s business models as well as within the finance function on these issues.
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.
Lena Wilms is a research assistant in the junior research group “Deliberative Discussions on the Social Web” at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. She studied political science, sociology and communication science in Düsseldorf and Budapest.
As part of her work in the “KOSMO” project, she develops and evaluates measures to improve online participation processes using AI-assisted moderation. She is particularly interested in the design of inclusive democratic online environments in the context of deliberation and participation on the internet. Her research interests also include media sociology as well as quantitative methods in the social sciences and applied statistics.
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. 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 communication research.
Mathis Zens is employed at the DIID team as a student assistant since the beginnig of 2022.
He ist studying PPE/Philosophy, Politics & Economics at Düsseldorf University whereas his main focus is in the statistical field.
He is responsible for internal and organizational tasks.
He is interested in the optimazation of political processes due to online-deliberation and the influence of artificial intelligence on decisions.
Since February 2018, Marc Ziegele is an assistant professor of Communication and Media Studies with a focus on political online communication at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. He is also head of the junior research group “Deliberative Discussions in the Social Web” funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. Before coming to Düsseldorf, he worked as a research associate at the Department of Communication at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, where he also graduated in Media Economy.
His research interests include participation and discussions of citizens on the internet. The DIID-based junior research group investigates how the quality and effects of public user discussions about political topics can be improved. Moreover, Ziegele analyzes the sources and consequences of people’s trust in the mass media and different aspects of citizens’ use of the social web at the interface of Communication Studies and Psychology.