Meet the People Behind the DISINTEGRATION Project!


Prof. Dr. Stefanie Walter is a full professor for international relations and political economy at the Department of Political Science at the University of Zurich and the principal investigator of the DISINTEGRATION project. She studied public policy and economics in Konstanz, Montréal, and Barcelona and graduated from ETH Zurich in 2007 with a Ph.D. in Political Science and a dissertation on the political economy of currency crises in 2007. After a post-doc at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and working as junior professor at the department of political science at the University of Heidelberg, she joined the University of Zurich’s Institute for political science (IPZ) in 2013. Stefanie Walter’s research concentrates on the fields of international and comparative political economy, with a particular focus on how distributional conflicts, policy preferences and institutions affect policy outcomes. Current projects examine the mass politics of disintegration, the political economy of the global financial crisis and the euro crisis, and the effect of exposure to globalization on individuals’ policy and partisan preferences. Her work has been published by outlets such as American Journal of Political Science, Annual Review of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, Comparative Political Studies, European Union Politics, International Organization, or International Studies Quarterly.


Johannes Scherzinger is a postdoctoral researcher associated with Work Package 2 (discourse). He did his doctoral studies at FU-Berlin and was a doctoral research fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center. He holds a B.A. from LMU Munich, a M.A. from FU-Berlin, and, was a Fulbright Scholar at the School of International Service at the American University, Washington, D.C. His research interests involve international security, the rhetoric of international organizations—specifically the UN Security Council—politics of intervention, IR theory, and, computational text analysis. 

Tom Hunter is a postdoctoral researcher associated with Work Package 2 (discourse). He obtained his PhD at the London School of Economics, where his thesis used innovative text as data methods to explore the causes and consequences of national governments’ home style: the presentational strategies they employ when presenting European integration in their domestic public spheres. His research interests include quantitative text analysis, comparative politics, public opinion, and the legitimacy and politicization of global governance institutions.


Giorgio Malet is a postdoctoral researcher associated with Work Package 1 (public opinion). He completed his doctorate at the European University Institute, where his Ph.D. thesis analyzes the reclaiming of national sovereignty in Europe in terms of voter realignments, party responsiveness, and diffusion processes. During his Ph.D., he held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley and at the London School of Economics. At the EUI, he was also involved in the research project on “Political Conflict in Europe in the Shadow of the Great Recession”. His research interests focus on the study of party competition, voting behavior, and opinion formation.

Marco Martini worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Dr. Stefanie Walter as part of the DISINTEGRATION project, where he was responsible for media analytics. He previously held a research fellowship at Princeton University. He received his PhD from ETH Zurich. Marco’s research interests lie at the intersection of political economy, quantitative methodology, and natural language processing. He has worked on statistical approaches to infer unobserved trade protection from observed trade flows and on large language models as a tool for information extraction from political texts. Marco has won the ETH Medal for outstanding dissertations at ETH Zurich as well as the SNIS Award for the best Ph.D. thesis submitted at a Swiss University on a subject related to International Studies. Marco now works as a data and technology consultant.


Camilla Bellmann is a student research assistant for the DISINTEGRATION project. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science (major) and Communication Science (minor) from the University of Zurich. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the IPZ and is interested in political science research on European politics, electoral research, and text as data-based methods.

Michael Stelzig is a student research assistant for the DISINTEGRATION project. Before coming to the IPZ (Department of Political Science), he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science (major) and Economics (minor) from LMU Munich. Currently, he is a Master’s student in the Comparative and International Studies (MACIS) program. His research interests revolve around global cooperation, competition, and conflict, with a focus on geopolitical and geoeconomic dynamics.

Nicole Plotke is a student research assistant for the DISINTEGRATION project. She completed a BSc. Psychology, focusing on forensic and social psychology at the University of New South Wales, Australia, before moving to Zürich where she then applied her knowledge to many years of work with mentally and physically disabled youth and adults. After grounding a family and serious self-reflection she has embarked on a career change and is now in her first year of a master’s degree in Political Science, with a strong interest in international relations and political psychology.


Prof. Dr. Tanja Börzel (FU Berlin)

Prof. Sara Hobolt, PhD (LSE)

Prof. Jonas Tallberg, PhD (Stockholm University)

Prof. Dustin Tingely, PhD (Harvard University)


Sujeong Shim

Silvia Decadri, PhD

Friederike Luise Kelle, PhD

Benjamin Kilchherr

Stefanie Matter

Théoda Woeffray

Dominik Gross

Martin Juan José Bucher 

Emma Conforti

Nemo Krüger 

Rabiya Abdullah