Graduate School
Doctoral Students

Doctoral Students

Zhanylai Asankulova

Topic of the thesis:

Labour Market Performance depending on Studying Abroad experience

In my research, I would like to investigate how international experience might influence further Labour Market Performance of the individuals. The study will compare the transaction to labour market of mobile and non-mobile students, as well as their further career development. To do so we are going to concentrate on the selection effect of mobile students and make the initial analysis using data on German Graduates.

Jessica Baier

Topic of the thesis:



Frerk Blome

Topic of the thesis:

Frederike Gerdes

Topic of the thesis:

Implementation of structured doctoral programs and their impact on the doctoral phase in Germany

New concepts of doctoral education have been developed to tackle the problems of the old “master-apprentice-model” (Enders 2005). The latter has been criticised increasingly for its long duration and lack of regulations. In Germany, a solution for these problems has been seen in establishing doctoral programmes with a more formalized structure (Kehm 2009). Nevertheless, after three decades structured doctoral education is still considered to be in an experimental phase (Hornbostel and Simon 2010).

In my research, I aim to investigate the current state of doctoral education in Germany on different levels: the public policy level, the organizational level and the level of individual experiences.  

Jennifer Henze

Topic of the thesis:

Conditions for knowledge co-generation in transdisciplinary processes

In October 2016 I started my position in the junior research group PlanSmart at the Institute for Environmental Planning at LUH. This five-year project is funded by the BMBF and situated in the area of socio-ecological research. We focus on planning and implementing nature-based solutions in river basins and currently support our case study project, the integrated EU-LIFE project ‘LiLa – Living Lahn’ with scientific knowledge in their decision making process for the future development of the river. Therefor we have different disciplinary backgrounds working together - like environmental planning, political sciences, ecology, geography, economy and social sciences - in order to best assess the effects of certain actions for the ecological, economic and social situation around the river.

My work focuses on knowledge co-generation in transdisciplinary processes, such processes that include and integrate knowledge from science as well as from practice. A central point are the involved actors of the case study (official project partners) with their different perspectives and values based on different knowledge backgrounds. Here I try to investigate the conditions for a successful knowledge co-generation that produces social robust knowledge for decisions and causes an adaptation of the previous perspectives in terms of interests and values the actors consider.  

Sebastian Jakob

Thema der Dissertation:

Regulatory Science under Pressure? A Case Study of three Governmental Research Agencies in Germany

My project revolves around the question of how Regulatory Science actors deal with changed conditions of legitimacy. It derives from several key developments in the last decades: (1) the improved flow of information via the internet (Castells 2003); (2) scientification of society (Bell 1976; Kreibich 1986); (3) the relativism of scientific knowledge through experts and counter-experts; (4) the growing risks due to the development of modern technologies (Beck 1986, 2007), and (5) the relativism of science through science and society (Collins 1985; Jensen 2017). Considering these assumptions, my research question is as follows: How do Regulatory Science actors act to pressure for credibility and increasing accountability to the public? To answer the question I will conduct a multi case study with three GRAs in Germany.  

Regulatory Science is peculiar to Academic Science, because it differs in several aspects from it. Mainly Jasanoff (1994) and Salter (1988) developed the concept of Regulatory Science. At the heart of the approach is the assumption that science used in policy-contexts is fundamentally different from science without a direct mandate, so-called ‘pure research’. The main differences are the audiences (governmental bodies vs. scientific community), the time-frame (limited vs. open-ended) and the political influences (mandated vs. independent) of the scientific work. In Germany, actors in Regulatory Science are the Governmental Research Agencies (GRA) that belongs to the ministries. The Federal Government defines tasks for the GRAs like institutionalized and purpose-oriented in-house research in its own facilities and) the formation and support of expert systems under the principle of economy and expediency (Bundesregierung 2007).

GRAs are under public attack if their scientific knowledge contains epistemic uncertainties and conflict in the same time with political, moral, social or economic interests (Leuschner 2012). These can be topics of high social relevance, but also very specific scientific sub-areas. This work deals with these specialized areas, more precisely with the legitimation and objectivity within Regulatory Science. Regulatory Science is all about weighing political, moral, social and economic interests and come to an assessment of uncertainties and risk. In three case studies, I will provide information about the changing conditions of legitimation and the effects on the work for GRAs in Germany.

Johanna Johannsen

Topic of the thesis:

The self-understanding of professors: Participations and orientations in the academic self-governance by professors from Lower Saxony.

In addition to research and teaching, participation in committees and bodies of the university is a fundamental task of each professorship. As holders of the key functions of scientific life, professors are required to participate in academic self-governance. While almost no one escapes this task, there are significant differences in the form of participation. The dissertation examines the professor’s self-understanding with regard to their participation and orientation in academic self-governance. In a sequential mixed methods design, the relationship between certain forms of participation (for example, as a leadership function) and various attitudes are analyzed first. With a subsequent qualitative content analysis, the quantitative results can be further explained and possible gaps and ambiguities revealed. Another perspective shall ultimately provide the reconstruction of orientation frameworks.

The quantitative data basis provides a data set with over 600 cases. For the qualitative analyzes, 26 interviews were conducted with professors at various universities.

The dissertation aims to explain theoretically and empirically why professors participate differently in the academic self-governance and to illuminate the self-understanding of professors. 

Friederike Knoke

Topic of the thesis (in cooperation witht Michaela Pook-Kolb):



Björn Möller

Topic of the thesis:

Stefanie Oelker

Topic of the thesis:

Political participation in the context of higher education: characteristics, competences and civic inequalities

Nowadays, higher education is seen as crucial not only in preparing students for the participation on the labor market, but also as a major motor driving active citizenship forward. Civic activities play a central role in the reinforcement of a democratic society by shaping the socio-political conditions on different levels and promoting societal integration.

A positive association of higher education and active political participation has been shown in empirical research. With my doctoral project, I would like to further decode the characteristics of political participation of academics and illuminate potential inequalities inside this (seemingly) privileged group of higher education students and graduates.  

Michaela Pook-Kolb

Topic of the thesis (in cooperation with Friederike Knoke):



Vitus Püttmann

Topic of the thesis:

On the Organization of University-Firm Collaborations – Forms and Their Determinants from a Transaction Cost Theory Perspective

Interactive forms of knowledge transfer between university researchers and firms have emerged as a crucial part of the innovation systems of contemporary societies. However, key features of these collaborations, including the ways in which they are organized, remain poorly understood to date. Focusing on consulting assignments, contract research projects and research collaborations, the dissertation project investigates a) which contractual features and governance mechanisms – that is, organizational forms – cooperating parties deploy to coordinate their objectives and activities, and b) how differences in the choice of organizational forms can be explained. To answer the research questions, an analytical framework building on transaction cost theory is developed, which revolves around an explanatory model for the choice of organizational forms of university-firm collaborations. Hypotheses derived from that model are, subsequently, tested empirically based on a survey of actors involved in university-firm collaborations in the natural and engineering sciences in Germany.

Iana Rezlauf

Topic of the thesis:

"Research data sharing between the EU and the U.S."

Despite great pressure of open research data initiatives, relatively little research data are shared or reused. The pressure comes from various actors: funding agencies, publishers, scientific communities, and even other researchers who conduct studies supporting positive effects of data sharing for individual researcher’s career.

While a robust system to validate, replicate, and expand existing empirical research is in the best interests of the research community, individual researchers do not have sufficient incentives to provide access to their data. Apart from insufficient incentives, sharing scientific data is often hampered by barriers researchers need to overcome. Researchers often do not provide access to their data due to plenty of reasons, such as the lack the expertise, time, or other resources. Studies show that most barriers to data sharing are social, ethical, legal, and institutional, rather than technological.

The present research focuses on the legal challenges of clearly delineated practices of research data transfer between scholars from the EU and the United States. As far as the study has interdisciplinary character and analyses sociological and legal aspects of research data exchange between the EU and the U.S., interviews with researchers working in different scientific fields serve as an efficient way of identification of legal challenges scholars face in their experience with research data sharing. Interpretation of interview results are to be followed by detailed legal analysis of announced problems.

The present research, indicating and analysing practical legal issues faced by researchers when sharing data, is required due to the increased demand for international scientific collaboration, particularly at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marco Miguel Valero Sanchez

Topic of the thesis:

Career paths of postdoctoral researchers with disability and/or chronic disease

The dissertation focusses on the career paths of postdoctoral researchers with disability and/or chronical disease at universities and considers the question, which conditions and possibilities support or inhibit the continuance of postdoctoral researchers in the scientific system on a long-term basis. For this purpose, first it is necessary to analyse the frameworks, structures and governance elements of universities in Germany that influence the inclusion of those affected. In order to gain access to this sensible field of study, the next step is to conduct expert interviews with commissioners for disability, inclusion and gender equality as well as human resource managers. With the aid of those representatives, it is scheduled to make contact with postdoctoral researchers in order to conduct problem-centred interviews on dealing with disability and/or chronic disease and its coping with everyday work, structural barriers and concrete support services and support requirements. This provides an opportunity to explore the impact of disability and/or chronic disease on employment in higher education and thereby make a relevant research contribution to equal opportunities in academic qualification and career paths from the point of view of those affected. 

Saskia-Rabea Schrade

Topic of the thesis (see DFG Projekt):



Tabea Schroer

Topic of the thesis:

(Un-)known inequality? On the (de-)differentiation of belonging among students at a Grande École in times of internationalization

Since the early 2000s, the student body of the Grandes Écoles, the French Elite Universities, has changed due to new procedures governing the access to and preparation for these Schools. In my doctoral research project, I investigate the (de-) differentiation of belonging among students at a Parisian Grande École, i.e. the cultural categorization of human beings. The work focuses on the experiences students have, when studying at a Grande École. Making use of a methodical combination consisting of narrative biographical interviews and participant observation, constellations of belonging that become relevant when studying at a Grande École are investigated. Of special interest are the social categories that individuals connect to, in the setting of a Grande École. 

Thorben Sembritzki

Topic of the thesis: 

Governing Career Paths and Job Profiles for Professorships at German Universities (and Universities of Applied Science)

Professorships can be regarded as archetypical elements of higher education institutions. However, there are signs of increasing variants in the concrete “design” of professorships – for example, with regard to the access and qualification pathways, the precise task definition, the equipment, the financing, the organizational embedding or the desired specific characteristics of the professors. In addition, there are special systemic differences between universities and UAS.

I am researching the structures and conditions (university law, support programs, model projects) that underlie such an internal differentiation of professorships and that reflect themselves in the concrete design of career paths and job profiles for professorships at various levels (federal, state, university, faculty).

From an organizational-sociological point of view, I mainly deal with the question of which (e.g. legal or financial) scope of action underlies the actions of universities, if they implement certain variants, how they act in this context, and when or how the universities themselves open up new scopes for action.

The cumulative doctoral thesis is connected to the LCSS-Bridging Project New Varieties of Professorships. 

Lisa Walther

Topic of the thesis: 

The Institutionalization of Officers for Appointment Procedures for Professorships at German Universities

Due to the legal framework as well as the importance of professorships for shaping university profiles, university leaders are concerned about the quality of appointment procedures and the legitimization of the personnel selection. One important element to ensure the quality of appointment procedures are formal appointment regulations. Besides these university-specific regulations German universities increasingly employ Officers for Appointment Procedures (OAPs) to monitor and ensure the quality of appointment procedures. However, OAPs are still not mandatory in most of the German states. The embedding of OAPs into the organizational structure and their responsibilities and duties vary since OAPs are treated differently in each university-specific appointment regulation.

The dissertation project aims to investigate why OAPs are increasingly becoming institutionalized as a new job position in the organizational structure of universities and how they shall contribute to the quality assurance of appointment procedures for professorships at German universities. The project draws on an analysis of higher education laws of all German federal states and university-specific appointment regulations. Additionally, expert interviews with OAPs will be conducted. 

Leonie Weißenborn

Topic of the thesis:

Reforms in Science and the Innovation Capability and Ability to Resistance of the Scientific Field

My research interest in general is about changes and reforms of orthodox leading cultures of the scientific field. These changes and reforms are initiated either by innovative ideas and motives or by reorganizations of structures and institutions in higher education system and research. I am specifically interested on the innovation capability and the ability to resistance of the scientific field by means of various innovations. First, I deal with the arrangement of grant proposals for exceptional research. Surprisingly, we know very little about the approaches scientists take to arrange unconventional ideas in conventional ways that still relate to recognized concepts. Second, I look at the implementation of tenure-track professorships at German universities in terms of a change in recruitment culture of professors is associated to the implementation process.