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PhD Seminar Series on Challenges to Democracy, Anti-corruption, and Global Health


The Hertie School launches in the framework of CIVICA a series of PhD panels to connect early stage researchers with senior academics, to foster academic exchange and support the building of networks of academic expertise across CIVICA partner universities.

Upcoming PhD panels address the following topics:

  • Challenges to Democracy
  • Anti-corruption
  • Global Health

Each panel will give the opportunity to two PhD researchers from different partner universities to present their research to senior academics and other early career researchers from the CIVICA network.

  • 2 December 2020: Challenges to Democracy in the EU
  • 11 December 202: Innovative Governance Approaches to Anti-corruption
  • 14 December 2020: Global Health and Development

PhD researchers from across the CIVICA network are invited to present their research at one of the upcoming panels. Find more information on the panels below.

How to get involved?

As presenter: Proposals including a short abstract (of no more than 150 words), and a brief description of your profile should be sent by 27 November 2020. Please indicate which of the proposed sessions you are applying for. Questions and/or submissions should be directed to Diego A Salazar Morales (d.salazar[at] and Franziska Loschert (f.loschert[at]

Audience: The event is open for scholars across the CIVICA network, whether at their start of their PhD or more advanced in their career. Please register here if you'd like to attend one or more PhD panel sessions.

Upcoming PhD panels

Challenges to Democracy in the EU

Date: 2 December 2020, 12-2 pm (CET)

One of the most important challenges Europe faces comes from the political arena involving the emergence of populist movements which foster vitriolic public debates. Alongside these challenges, growing lack of trust in European solidarity mechanisms, governance differences and corruption concerns, threaten the European promotion of democratic values. The session seeks to stimulate academic debate on the European Union, involving its challenges and opportunities for constructing an effective and integrated solidarity system rooted in the promotion of democracy.


  • Christoph Abels, PhD researcher at the Hertie School
    His research investigates the receptivity of fake news across different social media platforms.
  • Giovanni Angioni, PhD researcher at LSE
    He conducts research on the political economy of inequality and populism under the supervision of Professor Tomila Lankina. Previously, he received his MSc in Economics from Bocconi University and a BA in Political Science from the Catholic University in Milan.
  • Rebecca Kittel, PhD researcher at the European University Institute
    Her research focuses on the assessment of populism through specific language patterns by using various text-as-data methods. She analyses how these patterns affect voters and political debates differently among European countries.


  • Professor Dr. Simon Munzert, Assistant Professor of Data Science and Public Policy at the Hertie School and part of the Hertie School Data Science Lab
    His research interests include opinion formation in the digital age, public opinion, and the use of online data in social research.
  • Professor Ellen Immergut, PhD, Professor at the Chair of Political Science at the European University Institute since September 2017
    Her research interests include the impact of electoral and political competition on welfare state reforms; policy responsiveness and policy feedback effects; and the consequences of right-wing populism for social policies. 


Innovative Governance Approaches to Anti-corruption

Date: 11 December, 12-2 pm (CET)

Corruption continues to hinder public trust in institutions while limiting, at differing degrees of impact, countries’ quality and extension of public services. Despite international efforts to curb the impact of corrupt practices through transparency, public accountability and citizen’s oversight, corruption proves persistent thus inviting us to search for new potential instruments to combat it. The session seeks to stimulate academic debate on innovative approaches for combating corruption in politics and administration. It sheds lights on the role of local, national, regional, and international actors, regimes and evaluates the effectiveness of monitoring and institutional solutions.


  • Niklas Kossow, PhD researcher at the Hertie School
    His research focuses on the use of digital technologies in the fight against corruption.
  • Second presenter vacant, please apply


  • Professor Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, PhD, Professor of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School in Berlin 
    Her research centres on anti-corruption policy and good governance. She chairs the European Research Centre for Anticorruption and State Building (ERCAS) where she managed the FP7 research project ANTICORRP and the Horizon 2020 project DIGIWHIST. 
  • Second discussant TBC


Global Health and Development

Date: 14 December 2020, 12-2 pm (CET)

Almost a third of the world population lacks access to proper health products which further deepens socioeconomic gaps between high income and low and (middle income) countries. Although governments and international organisations make consistent efforts towards ensuring better access to health services, they are still insufficient. The session seeks to advance the debate on the political and historical determinants of health inequalities between and within countries, with a special focus on international policies and practices, and their general influence on health governance.


  • Tobias Bünder, PhD researcher at the Hertie School
    His research studies the motivation of pharmaceutical companies to engage in health governance projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Second presenter vacant, please apply


  • Professor Dr. Muhajeed Shaikh, Professor of Health Governance at the Hertie School
    His research concentrates broadly on the field of health economics and management with a focus on health expenditures, hospital efficiency and competition, and health insurance.
  • Giulia Cappellaro, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Bocconi University
    Her research interests include institutional creation and maintenance, organisational change, hybrid organisations, organisational identification, business-government relations.


CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences is an alliance of eight leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences: Bocconi University (Italy), Central European University (Austria and Hungary), the European University Institute (Intergovernmental), the Hertie School (Germany), the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (Romania), Sciences Po (France), the Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden) and The London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom). One of the goals of the CIVICA alliance is to create an integrated space for early-stage researchers in the social sciences. 

The PhD panel series is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).