Citizen Science project ActEU enters focus group phase: Political participation and representation in Europe

How do the citizens of Europe envision political participation and opportunities for involvement? Under what conditions do they feel represented? What role do conventional means of participation within institutions and processes of representative democracies in Europe, such as political parties or elections, play and what significance do unconventional and disruptive forms of participation, such as political consumerism or activism (#activism), have? Do the logic and routines of individual and collective political participation in the digital realm truly differ from those on the streets?

To address these questions, the Horizon Europe project ActEU, led by Michael Kaeding and Kristina Weissenbach (University of Duisburg-Essen), has now entered the first phase of exploratory and sequential data collection and analysis: From May to September 2023, focus groups will take place in Germany, France, Greece, and the Czech Republic. The aim is to comparatively broaden our understanding of different facets of the traditional „question of trust“ from survey research. The analysis results contribute, on one hand, to the conceptualization of the subsequent web scraping phase and the experimental survey. On the other hand, they provide the way for the transdisciplinary development of toolkits for actors from politics and civil society, as well as for teachers in secondary schools, and for the implementation of real-world laboratories involving youth, politicians, and cartoonists from various EU member states.

Under the scientific direction of Daniela Braun (Saarland University), ActEU ( used the newly generated data to examine the trust of citizens from 10 countries of the European Union in the institutions, actors and processes of the represent democracy and develop, based on this, target group-oriented and practically implementable measures to create, win back and stabilize trust.

Insights into the focus groups: In each country, four homogenous groups, focusing on the topic of political participation, were engaged in conversation, while also maintaining sociostructural heterogeneity. In order to enable gender-specific narratives about processes and emotional aspects of political participation, representation, and trust, a purely female group was assembled in each case. While conceptualizing the guideline, special emphasis was placed on the individual perception of political challenges such as migration, gender equality, or climate change. Additionally, discussions revolved around identifying the appropriate level within a political system to address these challenges and what qualities constitute a qualified politician capable of identifying and implementing solutions for individual and collective “problems”.

By using its exploratory design and the utilization of the „Chinese portrait“ or spontaneous associations, the initial qualitative data collection phase on individual, collective, and connective participation, as well as descriptive, substantive, and emotional representation within the context of digital transformation, now establishes the foundation for various analyses within the overall ActEU project. Qualitative and thematic content analyses, along with facial expression analyses of the video material, constitute the initial approach.

Max-Valentin Robert joins ActEU Team at ESPOL

We are very pleased to announce that Max-Valentin Robert joined us as a postdoctoral researcher at ESPOL on July 1, 2023. Max-Valentin Robert will work with the ActEU WP3 Team at ESPOL. Max-Valentin Robert completed his Ph.D. in political science in January 2021 at Sciences Po Grenoble (UMR Pacte, France) and before joining ESPOL he worked as a research fellow at the University of Nottingham in the Digital Society Project.

Are you looking to enhance your knowledge of the European Parliament, its functions, its role, its impact? Are you aiming to enhance your skillset and employability? Do you want to know how you can make a difference in the upcoming European Parliament elections in June 2024?

In the framework of the ActEU project the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) is opening applications for its latest training seminar for young Europeans.

The 3-day online seminar will offer 20 Bachelor and Master students an opportunity to gain first-hand insights from researchers, EU practitioners, and policymakers on the functioning of the European Parliament, its role in the complex architecture of EU governance, and the role of youth electoral participation.

The deadline for applications is 10 September 2023. Applicants will be informed about the decision of the review committee in the week of 18 of September.

For  further information:


Junior Researcher – Centre d’études européennes et de politique comparé

The Centre d’études européennes et de politique comparé in france is seeking for a Junior Researcher to work from October 2023 in our ActEU project.


  • Supporting the coordination of all deliverables and data collection/analysis owed by Sciences Po for the project;

  • Analyzing cross-national survey data on the dynamics and patterns of political trust and political action, as well as on the role of ethnic diversity and the politicization of immigration on such dynamics and patterns, and contributing as necessary to the reports and deliverables relating to such analyses;

  • Supporting the coordinators of WP2 on citizens’ attitudes;

  • Contributing to the design of toolkits and policy briefs for policymakers and other stakeholders on the results of the project produced by the Sciences Po team;

  • Contributing to the preparation and delivery of all dissemination, communication and exploitation activities of the project;

  • Being responsible for the maintenance and version control of any data used for the project, including the preparation of Data Management Plans and any other formal Personal Data Protection requirements established by Sciences Po, the ActEU coordinators or the European Commission. This will also include inputting of data and its safe storage using the agreed protocols, as defined by the research team and Sciences Po’s research data protection policy;

  • Prepare and undertake data analysis and tests using quantitative and qualitative techniques and approaches agreed with the Principal Investigator and the rest of the team;

  • Attending the relevant meetings of the international consortium;

  • Actively contributing to (and where necessary and appropriate depending on qualifications and experience, leading) academic publications stemming from the project, also including the preparation of any replication data submission for journals, as required;

  • Supporting the PI in all administrative and project management tasks as required;

  • Identifying and understanding work requirements prioritising tasks and responsibilities within an agreed time frame agreed with the PI;

  • The post holder will be required to effectively manage their time to deliver on the priorities of the project. The post holder will need to plan ahead to ensure the research is delivered in accordance with the overall research objectives and deadlines. This may include defining tasks and schedules, organising meetings, preparing intermediate reports on data and findings, and contributing to the preparation of the project final report.


  • A Master’s degree in Politics or Political Sociology (or closely related discipline) with a substantive or methodological focus relevant to the project, completed or close to completion (e.g., will be completed in the Summer);*

  • Demonstrable training and experience using quantitative research methods and techniques;*

  • An expertise, backed up by research experience, in the subfields of political behaviour and political attitudes in Europe, and in one or several of the following fields:, political representation, political institutions or political parties;*

  • Research experience in subjects or projects relevant to the research project;*

  • Proficiency in English (oral and for academic writing);*

  • Proven ability of social science data input, management and analysis with Stata or R;*

  • Advanced-level quantitative analysis skills (e.g., including pooled cross-sectional time series analysis, multilevel regression analysis, etc.);*

  • Proven ability to write up research findings;*

  • Ability to take initiative, self-manage and contribute intellectually to the overall project;

  • Expertise with relevant office packages;

  • Ability to work as part of a team;

  • Good oral and written communication skills;*

  • Attention to detail.*

Deadline of application: 14th June 2023

For more information: