Stay Connected – WSF ALUMNI

Alphabetical List of Researchers

Ainsaar, Mare | University of Tartu
Balaj, Mirza | Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Bednarik, Peter | Vienna University of Economics and Business
Biehal, Nina
| University of York
Cappelen, Cornelius
| University of Bergen
Cettolin, Elena 
| Tilburg University
Chung, Heejung | University of Kent
de Jong, Petra W. | Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute
Ellingsen, Ingunn | University of Stavanger
Filipovič Hrast, Maša | University of Ljubljana
Frohlig, Florence | Södertörn University Stockholm
Hamed, Sarah | University of Uppsala
Heindlmaier, Anita | University of Salzburg
Kramer, Dion | Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Leist, Anja | University of Luxembourg
Leruth, Benjamin | University of Canberra
Lopez Lopez, Mónica | University of Groningen
McNamara, Courtney L. | Norwegian School of Science and Technology
Nygren, Lennart | Umeå University
Padilla, Beatriz | University of South Florida
Papiez, Kinga | University of Oxford
Popic, Tamara | European University Institute
Rakar, Tatjana | University of Ljubljana
Reibling, Nadine | University of Siegen
Phillimore, Jenny | University of Birmingham
Renema, Jeanette A.J. | National University of Singapore
Roescu, Andra | European University Institute
Rönnerstrand, Björn | University of Gothenburg
Runfors, Ann | Södertörn University Stockholm
Saar, Maarja | Södertörn Högskola and Bristol University
Scheibelhofer, Elisabeth | University of Vienna
Schneider, Simone | Max-Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy
Seibel, Verena | University of Groningen
Taylor-Gooby, Peter | University of Kent
Zimmermann, Katharina | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, European University Institute

Mare Ainsaar | University of Tartu

btyAfter the end of Healthdox project I continue my work at University of Tartu at the Institute of Social Studies as a senior research fellow. We still have unfinished papers inspired by Healhdox project to work with and we dedicate time to finalise them. Meanwhile also new projects related to the different aspects of governance had arrived to our working schedule: methods of science impact analyses, e-health, fertility, integration analyses and a project related to gender pay gap measurement methodology. It has been great to cooperate in next projects with people from NORFACE, the common history in meeting in Florence and elsewhere has been essential trust builder.

Mare can be contacted via mare.ainsaar (at)

Mirza Balaj | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

BalajMirza received her PhD in Sociology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2019. She continues her work at NTNU as Research Coordinator of the Centre for Global Health Inequalities Research – CHAIN.  CHAIN brings together academia, the UN system, civil society and the private sector in a common organisational body to reduce the distance between research, policy and practice. Mirza’s research explores entry points of the interaction of structural, social and individual level mechanisms that can be leveraged to reduce health inequalities. She has developed part of her work within two NORFACE projects – ‘Health Inequalities in European Welfare States (HiNEWS)’ and ‘The Paradox of Health State Futures (HEALTHDOX)’.

Mirza can be contacted via mirza.balaj (at)

Peter Bednarik | Vienna University of Economics and Business

BednarikPost-Doc at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. After the end of the FPRWS project, Peter is still working on a project with Jean-Robert Tyran and colleagues. Among his research interests are game theory, reciprocity and equitable allocation of common goods. Currently, he works on experiments and agent-based simulations regarding the question which reputation mechanisms can foster trust most efficiently.

Peter can be contacted via peter.bednarik (at)

Nina Biehal | University of York

Nina BiehalNina Biehal is still engaged with Hestia, continuing to write papers comparing child protection policy and systems. She remains at the University of York where she is working on the Permanently Progressing? study of alternative family placements in adoption and foster care for children in Scotland who cannot safely remain with their birth families.

Nina can be contacted via nina.biehal (at)

Cornelius Cappelen | University of Bergen

FPRWS Cornelius CappelenAt the end of the FPRWS project, Cornelius Cappelen was tenured as an associate professor at the department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen. Even though the FPRWS project has officially ended, the interdisciplinary research it spurred still remains, and Cappelen continues his collaborative work with economists on issues related to public opinion and the welfare state.  In a new project, he explores how attitudes toward social security, such as unemployment compensation, are affected by labor market characteristics of recipients.

Cornelius can be contacted via Cornelius.cappelen (at) no.uib

Elena Cettolin | Tilburg University

Elena Cettolin

After two years as a Post-Doc part of the Fairness, Personal Responsibility and the Welfare State project, Elena Cettolin is now a tenured assistant professor at the economics department of Tilburg University, the Netherlands. She continues working on topics related to fairness preferences, and in particular on how the presence of immigrants affects natives’ preferences for redistribution and attitudes to heterogeneity. She is recently also conducting laboratory experiments in a growing research area in economics, that studies how the condition of poverty affects decision making quality.

Elena can be contacted via e.cettolin (at)

Picture Copyright: Tilburg University

Heejung Chung | University of Kent

Chung profile 2017Although officially, Welfsoc has ended in the autumn of 2019 – we have had a number of papers published recently from our project – including the Special Issue of the Social Policy & Administration, and the new paper in the Journal of Social Policy. Furthermore, we are still working on developing new papers on welfare attitudes, conditionality etc. from the immense amount of data we have gathered throughout our project. This also includes collaborating with other projects/data that deals with welfare attitudes – such as working with the new wave of the European Social Survey to provide a mixed methods approach. My work on welfare attitude, especially pertaining to gender/family policies/labour markets, will also continue through additional grant applications in similar areas, as well as continuous collaboration with colleagues from Welfsoc and other NORFACE grant holders that I had the pleasure of meeting during our project. So watch this space!

Heejung can be contacted via h.chung (at)

Petra W. de Jong | Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute

deJongAfter completing her PhD in the context of the MobileWelfare project, Petra de Jong started as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, where she is involved in a study on the children of immigrants in the Netherlands, or so-called ‘second generation’. She further continued her research on migration decisions and the role of the welfare state using the two datasets that were collected during the MobileWelfare project.

Petra can be contacted via jong (at)

Ingunn Ellingsen | University of Stavanger

FACSK Ingunn EllingsenAfter our final meeting in the FACSK project (Family Complexity in Social Work) held in Dublin last June (2018), Ingunn T. Ellingsen is still busy analyzing data and prepare scientific articles from the project in collaboration with other researchers from the project. She found it inspiring to be part of the FACSK team. It offered an unique opportunity to build network and collaborate with researchers who share similar research interests. Ingunn now leads a research group at her department at the University of Stavanger on Multi-disciplinary child welfare research, and she is ready to explore new research questions.

Ingunn can be contacted via ingunn.t.ellingsen (at)

Maša Filipovič Hrast | University of Ljubljana

Masa-Filipovic-Hrast_Photo-150x150After the end of the Welfsoc project, I continue my work at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana as an associate professor and head of Chair for Organisational and Human Resource Management and Development​, as well as a researcher at the Centre for Welfare studies. I continue my work in the field of social policy and development of the welfare state, especially in CEE region.  I have continued to cooperate with the colleagues from the Welfsoc project on papers related to attitudes to specific social policies and their instruments as well as issues of conditionality, based on rich qualitative data gathered within the project.

Masa can be contacted via masa.filipovic (at )

Florence Frohlig | Södertörn University Stockholm

Photo FFAfter the TRANSWEL project, Florence Frohlig got a tenure in Etnology at the Historical and contemporary studies department at Södertörn University. She is engaged in a new research project as a CoI, Atomic Heritage Goes Critical (2018-2020) in which she is working on issue concerning the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant in France. She is also going to be the Director of studies of the Baltic and East European Graduate School (BEEGS) at Södertörn University from July 2019.

Florence can be contacted via Florence.frohlig (at)

Sarah Hamed | University of Uppsala

UPWEB Sarah HamedSarah Hamed worked as a research assistant in the UPWEB project. After the project’s end, Sarah started her doctoral candidacy at the Department of Sociology at Uppsala University in 2017 and is a member of the Research Group Welfare and Life-course. Her research focuses on racism in Swedish healthcare.

Sarah can be contacted via sarah.hamed (at)

Anita Heindlmaier | University of Salzburg

Heindlmaier_Foto_komprimiertAfter completing her PhD in the context of the TransJudFare project, Anita Heindlmaier currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Salzburg where she is part of the project “Rebalancing the Enlarged Single Market” (RESiM), a joint project of the Universities of Salzburg and Bremen. RESiM analyses the social rebalancing in the enlarged single market by considering three forms of atypical labour migration: marginal employment, solo self-employment and posted work. Anita Heindlmaier thus continues her research on free movement and social rights of mobile EU citizens, now with a focus on labour mobility.

Anita can be contacted via anita.heindlmaier (at)

Dion Kramer | Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Dion_Kramer_2016_tcm248-430030After having been involved as a PhD researcher in the TransJudFare project, Dion Kramer is currently finishing his PhD dissertation and lecturing at the Vrije Universiteit and Amsterdam University College. After completion, he will continue as Assistant Professor at the Department of Transnational Legal Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He will continue to research free movement rights in the European Union with an increased focus on the rights of mobile homeless persons and rights to social assistance and study finance.

Dion can be contacted via dion.kramer (at)

Anja Leist | University of Luxembourg

Anja LeistAnja Leist is Associate Professor in Public Health and Ageing at the Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality at the University of Luxembourg. After receiving a PhD in Psychology at the University of Trier, Germany, she had postdoctoral research stays at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the University of Luxembourg. Her research interests include health, cognitive functioning and dementia at older ages, social and life-course inequalities, and technology and ageing. Anja is Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. In 2018, she received an ERC Starting Grant on the topic of cognitive aging.

Anja can be contacted via anja.leist (at)

Benjamin Leruth | University of Canberra

Benjamin LeruthBenjamin Leruth left the University of Kent in May 2017 to become Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Administration at the Institute for Governance & Policy Analysis (University of Canberra). His experience working as part of the WelfSOC team has had a major impact on his career and he is still working on the data collected between 2015 and 2016. He still works very closely with the team and hopes to keep on collaborating with NORFACE colleagues in the future.

In Australia, he works very closely with leading political scientists such as John Dryzek, Gerry Stoker and Diane Stone. He presented some of the project’s findings at four workshops and conferences in Australia and these generated much interest from academics and the media. He recently submitted an Australian Research Council DECRA bid to adapt the WelfSOC project to the Australian context.

Benjamin can be contacted via benjamin.leruth (at)

Mónica Lopez Lopez | University of Groningen

LopezHestia is far from over! In 2019, several publications from this research project will see the day of light. In the coming months, Mónica will be busy editing the ‘Handbook on Decision Making and Judgements in Child Welfare and Protection: Theory, Research and Practice’ (Oxford University Press), which includes a chapter from Hestia. Mónica is currently coordinating the project ‘Audre’ on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ young people in out-of-home care, and project ‘Matching’ focused on the professional decision-making processes of matching children and foster families. Moreover, Hestia has revealed a high variability in decision-making in the child protection systems compared, opening new research questions that the team will try to address in a new grant proposal. Long live to Hestia!

Monica can be contacted via m.lopez.lopez (at)

Courtney L. McNamara | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

HiNEWS courtney-mcnamaraCourtney continues her research at the Centre for Global Health Inequalities Research (CHAIN) at NTNU in Norway. In November 2017, she was awarded a Young Researcher Talents grant from the Norwegian Research Council for her project “Trade, Labour Markets and Health”.  This project will generate new knowledge about how international trade impacts population health through labour market and social protection pathways. The project will run from December 2018 until December 2022 and is currently recruiting a PhD student.

Courtney can be contacted via Courtney.McNamara (at) and on Twitter @DrMcNamara

Lennart Nygren | Umeå University

Lennart NygrenLennart Nygren is working with publications from the research projects that he has led the last years in the fields of child welfare, prevention of social exclusion, school social work, research methods and comparative social work research. As the leader of the FACSK project he will contribute with remaining publications, and coordination of the project’s website:

Lennart can be contacted via lennart.nygren (at)

Beatriz Padilla | University of South Floria

Beatriz PadillaIn 2018, Beatriz Padilla joined the Department of Sociology at the University of South Florida, USA as an Assistant Professor. At the Instituto Universitario de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL) in Portugal, Beatriz is still engaged in a research project focusing on refugees. Additionally, she became the co-chair of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) section on Gender and Feminism.

Beatriz can be contacted via padillab (at)

Kinga Papiez | University of Oxford

TRANSWEL King PapiezAs a follow-up to involvement in TRANSWEL project, Kinga submitted her thesis and now is waiting for a viva voce examination at the University of Bath. Kinga’s thesis entitled “Making sense of transnational belonging and social citizenship – experiences of Polish migrants in the UK” conceptualises notion of transnational belonging, and identifies the principal types of transnational belonging in relation to two factors: an assumed time of stay abroad, and motivation of migration. The thesis also explores three dimensions of the transnational belonging namely identification, attachment, and membership (e.g. health care, social benefits, and pension).

Kinga continues her research on understanding people experiences as a post-doctoral researcher in Mixed Methods at the University of Oxford, but now for a new project, in which experiences of patients and medical staff in NHS are to be explored.

Kinga can be contacted via k.papiez (at)

Tamara Popic | European University Institute

healthdox tamara popic 24012019After three years of collaboration with the HEALTHDOX project team as a post-doc at the University of Lisbon, Tamara has continued her academic path as a research fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. At the EUI, she works on coordination of the NORFACE Welfare State Futures programme and helps finalize the HEALTHDOX project main output – a Handbook on Health Politics in Europe. Next academic year (2019-2020), Tamara will be a post-doc fellow at the EUI’s Max Weber Programme, where she will work on the topic of policy responsiveness in the context of welfare reforms in new democracies.

Tamara can be contacted via tamara.popic (at)

Jenny Phillimore | University of Birmingham

Jenny PhillimoreJenny Phillimore continues her work as the Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is leading a new international project called SEREDA which looks at sexual and gender based violence in the refugee crisis. Prof Hannah Bradby, a former UPWEB Principal Investigator, is a partner in this project with colleagues from the Universities of Melbourne and Bilkent.

Jenny can be contacted via j.a.phillimore (at)

Tatjana Rakar | University of Ljubljana

Picture Tatjana Rakar1After the end of the Welfsoc project, I continue my work at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana as an assistant professor and as a researcher at the Centre for Welfare study. My fields of research continue in the direction of the attitudes, conditionality and people perceptions of the future welfare policies research. We have been working on several papers arising from the project on the local as well as international level, including a recently published book that will be also used as a handbook for the Slovene students of social policy. In collaboration with the colleagues from the Welfsoc project, we are currently working and developing new comparative papers using the comprehensive qualitative data that we have gathered in our project. I hope for some future collaboration with this great team of academics and researchers as well as for more of such excellent and fruitful project as Welfsoc.

Tatjana can be contacted via tatjana.rakar (at )

Nadine Reibling | University of Siegen

ReiblingAfter her postdoc time at the HiNEWS project, Nadine Reibling has been awarded a major grant by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and now leads her own junior research group at the University of Siegen in Germany. The project investigates how unemployment and poverty can become medicalized or psychologized and how this affects public attitudes towards the affected groups ( Inspired by her time in the WSF program, her interest in the role of institutions for shaping inequalities is what motivates this and further research with her former HiNEWS colleagues.

Nadine ca be contacted via reibling (at)

Jeanette A.J. Renema | National University of Singapore

jrenema_fotoAfter successfully finalizing her PhD dissertation as a part of the MIFARE project at the Radboud University, Jeanette Renema left the Netherlands and joined the Social Service Research Centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore as a postdoctoral fellow. There, she supports the department’s theory-driven social program evaluation projects, with a particular focus on the summative evaluation phase. Jeanette will also continue her work on topics related to European welfare states and migrants’ preferences and preferences. She hopes to keep collaborating with other NORFACE colleagues.

Jeanette can be contacted via j.renema (at)

Andra Roescu | European University Institute

andra roescuAfter being part of the team focusing on the Dutch health care system within the HEALTHDOX project, Andra Roescu has been awarded a Max Weber Fellowship in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. During her time at the EUI she will continue her research on health care, focusing on the public opinion – policy link in different institutional settings, both in the form of voting behaviour and of policy responsiveness.

Andra can be contacted via andra.roescu (at)

Björn Rönnerstrand | University of Gothenburg

BjörnAfter a two-year post doc in the HEALTHDOX project ending in the fall of 2018, Björn received a permanent position as a researcher at the SOM Institute, University of Gothenburg, much thanks to the experience from the HEALTHDOX project. In his new position Björn continues doing research on topics linked to public opinion and health policy.

Björn can be contacted via: bjorn.ronnerstrand (at)

Ann Runfors | Södertörn University Stockholm

ann_runfors2Ann Runfors continues her work as Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor at the School of Historical and Contemporary Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden.She is leading a new project on life strategies and identity building among youth: Transnationalism and belonging in the Baltic Sea region among descendants of Polish migrants in Sweden(funded by Baltic Sea Foundation, 2018-2021). The project takes interest in young who grew up as children to Polish migrants in Stockholm and examines how they construct place, belonging and transnational connections in the Baltic sea region.

Ann Runfors can be contacted via ann.runfors (at)

Maarja Saar | Södertörn Högskola and Bristol University

Maarja SaarMaarja Saar is currently dividing her time between Södertörn Högskola and Bristol University. In Södertörn Högskola she is completing her post-doctoral research focusing on comparing the welfare strategies of migrant Estonian single mothers in Nordic countries and Estonian single mothers in Estonia. She is also working as a research assistant for the project CASSPIN (Comparative Analysis of Social Spaces in Post-Industrial Nations), conducting research on the mediated effects social class has in Sweden.

Maarja Saar can be contacted via maarja.saar (at)

Elisabeth Scheibelhofer | University of Vienna

ScheibelElisabeth Scheibelhofer is an Associate Professor in Sociology (University of Vienna) working on migration, mobility and qualitative methods. She is currently leading the Hungarian-Austrian part of TRANSWEL-research project (2015-2018, funded by Norface) on experiences of EU migrants with transnational access to social security rights. She published extensively on migration and qualitative methods (e.g. in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies: Shifting aspirations in migratory projects. Biographic reconstructions in the context of a multi-scaled second modernity, 44:6, pp. 999-1014).

Elisabeth can be contacted via elisabeth.scheibelhofer (at)

Simone Schneider | Max-Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy


Since November 2017, Simone Schneider is a senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in Munich ( She is working on building the “Social Policy and Law Shared Database” (SPLASH, previously PERFAR), which will provide legal information on changes in social policy across European countries. Inspired by her previous work within the HEALTHDOX project, she will also continue working on topics related to healthcare and public opinion.

Simone can be contacted via s.schneider (at)

Verena Seibel | University of Groningen

Verena SeibelAfter three enriching years as Post-Doc at the University of Konstanz (Prof. Dr. Claudia Diehl) as part of the MIFARE Project Verena Seibel just moved to the Netherlands, where  she was recently appointed Assistant Professor at the Sociology Department of the University of Groningen. Her current research projects are concerned with migrants’ attitudes and knowledge about their welfare rights with specific focus on healthcare and childcare. She is also interested in the relation between gender, migration, and the welfare state.  In her future work she will apply a social network approach in order to further understand the emergence and development of migrants’ welfare state attitudes.

Verena can be contacted via v.m.k.seibel (at)

Peter Taylor-Gooby | University of Kent

WelfSOC Peter Taylor GobyLife with WSF is not quite over for Peter Taylor-Gooby, Heejung Chung and Ben Leruth on the Welfsoc project. They are still working as a team on at least three new papers and have others in press. They will also deposit the data for others to work on shortly. Peter is planning to take a change of direction with a research project on what novels tell us about values of responsibility and individualism in modern society. He is also working on his next novel. WSF has been a very positive experience. The team has been able to use democratic forums to explore attitudes and how people link them together for the first time in social policy research.

Peter can be contacted via P.F.Taylor-gooby (at)

Katharina Zimmermann | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, European University Institute

ZimmerAfter three very exciting and inspiring years in the German WelfSOC team (together with Steffen Mau and Jan-Ocko Heuer), Katharina is still based at the Humboldt-University. From September to December 2018, she is a visiting fellow at the European University Institute with Ellen Immergut – a fantastic opportunity which emerged out of the Welfare State Futures Programme. At the EUI, Katharina works on a paper on welfare attitudes for which she uses the rich empirical material gathered in WelfSOC. She will also continue to analyse the WelfSOC data in the future, in cooperation with other WelfSOC and Welfare State Futures researchers.

Katharina can be contacted via katharina.zimmermann (at)