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.


Giorgio Malet is a postdoctoral researcher and responsible for research in the public opinion work package (WP1). 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 is a postdoctoral researcher and responsible for analyzing media discourse in work package 2 (domestic discourse). He received his Ph.D. from ETH Zurich in February 2018. His research interests lie at the intersection of international political economy, bargaining, and political methodology. His research investigates how government’s industry-specific policy preferences affect bargaining in international trade relations. In his dissertation, Marco looks at trade disputes. In other projects, he studies, for example, the formation of preferential trade agreements. To compile previously unavailable data on trade barriers, dispute events, or bargaining outcomes, he draws on a variety of methods, including automated text analysis, mathematical simulations, and statistical modelling. Marco has won the ETH Medal for outstanding dissertations at ETH Zurich as well as the SNIS Award 2018 for the best Ph.D. thesis submitted at a Swiss University on a subject related to International Studies. Prior to joining UZH, Marco was a fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance (NCGG) at Princeton University.


Nemo Krüger is a student research assistant for the DISINTEGRATION project where he provides support for work package 2 (public opinion). He studied Philosophy, Political Science and Economics in Lucerne and Aix-en-Provence. During his studies, Nemo supported a research project at the economics faculty and was a research assistant at the political science seminar. He also worked as a political co-secretary for Attac Switzerland. After graduating, he was an intern at the Council on Economic Policies in Zurich. In September 2021, he started his Master’s degree in Economic History and Political Science at the University of Zurich.

Martin Juan José Bucher is a student research assistant for the DISINTEGRATION project supporting the research group from the technical and engineering side. He completed his BSc in Informatics at the University of Zurich (UZH) in 2019 and is now working towards his MSc in Computer Science at ETH Zürich (ETHZ), planned to be finished by early 2022. Besides academia, Martin has already gained quite a bit of experience from industry, especially during his time as a software engineer at BSI Business Systems Integration AG in Zurich and his role within Tinystudio, a company he co-founded back in 2015, focusing on client projects for the web. He is very eager to see how political science research can be seen from the computer science perspective, especially when talking about natural language processing, machine intelligence, and statistical modelling.

Emma Conforti, born in Brussels in 1993, started her bachelor’s degree in Sociology (major) and Political Science (minor) at the University of Zurich in 2016 after graduating from the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles with a BA in Theatre. Presently, she is in the second year of her master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Zurich, specializing in democracy, development and international relations. Since August 2021, she is working as a student research assistant for the DISINTEGRATION project. Previously, in addition to her studies, she worked as a statistics tutor in the statistics course of Dr. Marco Giesselmann at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich from 2019 to summer 2021 and is currently also a research assistant at the Chair of Social Theory and Quantitative Methods of Prof. Dr. Heiko Rauhut.

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