Here you can find the latest updates on the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy": summaries of current research results, references to our latest publications, outcomes of events and more news from the projects and their staff members.

Sooahn Meier
Sooahn Meier
Sooahn has been working in project B12 for about two weeks. In this interview, she tells us how she came to Bremen from Seoul via Berlin and what she has planned for her doctoral thesis.

Dear Sooahn, you've been in Bremen for just under two weeks, welcome to CRC 1342! Where were you the years before and what did you do during that time?

I did my bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in North Korean studies in Seoul. Afterwards, I studied International Relations in Berlin in a joint Masters programme of the Freie Universität, the Humboldt-Universität and the University of Potsdam. That was very cool, three universities at once! I got to know a lot of different people and learned a lot about the different structures of the universities.

Was the programme designed to last one or two years?

Two years. You had to collect half of the credit points in English, the others in any other language. That made the programme very international, with many students from different countries.

Why had you decided to do a Master's programme in Germany?

During my Bachelor's programme in Seoul, I did three semesters abroad in Germany: in Trier, in Chemnitz and in Berlin. I liked Berlin the most. After my Bachelor's degree, I wasn't sure whether I should continue my studies. So I did an internship at the South Korean General Consulate in Frankfurt and then worked for a year as a consular assistant in the Political Affairs Department. After this one and a half years, I thought: now I'm ready to continue studying, and I moved to Berlin.

Bremen is a beautiful city with a high quality of life, but not many people move here from Berlin. What tipped the scales for you?

I was looking for papers on Covid-19 and International Organisations and came across Kerstin Martens, whose name I still knew from my Bachelor's degree. That's how I found the pages of the University of Bremen and saw that Kerstin and her colleagues were looking for new staff. I applied at the end of February. The interview was really nice, and I got the job offer the same afternoon! But I wasn't sure if I wanted to move from Berlin to Bremen all by myself, because I had established my personal infrastructure over the years with friends, family and so on. I also didn't know whether a PhD was really the right thing for me. But then Kerstin called me and we talked for over an hour about the project and the colleagues. After that I was sure: I can start my PhD journey in this constellation.

Have you always been interested in International Organisations?

Yes, ever since my Bachelor's programme, in which I also studied North Korean Studies. As a South Korean, I have no access at all to original data or media reports from North Korea. As a non-South Korean, it's quite different: with a German IP address, for example, I can look at North Korean websites. This is not possible from South Korea. Any exchange with North Korea that you do not clarify with the South Korean authorities before or after the interaction is illegal for South Koreans. One way of approaching North Korea is through International Organisations. That's why I've been very interested in IOs like the United Nations Security Council since the beginning of my studies, because it has a lot to do with North Korea.

Your project examines how International Organisations have influenced the Covid 19 policies of nation states and has several segments: You are researching global IOS, regional IOs and conducting country case studies. What segment will you be working in?

I will be responsible - this is my current status after two weeks in Bremen - for the OECD as a global IO and ASEAN as a regional organisation. And as a case study I will be working on Thailand, because there is obviously a direct ASEAN connection.

Do you already have a topic in mind for your doctoral thesis?

I'm reading a lot at the moment to flesh out my idea. In my doctoral thesis, I would like to examine not only the recommendations of the IOs, but also how the countries react to them or also influence the work of the IOs, for example through feedback or best practice. So I want to complement the top-down with the bottom-up perspective. I am also interested in digital technology, which is what I wrote my master's thesis on. It was about how digital technology influences the stability of authoritarian regimes. As you know, digital technologies play a big role in pandemic politics, e.g. through digital vaccination certificates, working from home, or tracing apps. Digital technologies have many positive effects, but also negative ones. For example, certain social groups have been partly ignored or marginalised in the use of digital technologies, e.g. older people or those without access to technical devices. I would like to look closer at such processes in my thesis.

And do you already have plans for the time after your PhD?

I would like to use the next three and a half years to think about that. But I would like to continue working in academia.

Sooahn Meier
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen

The tasks include data and literature research as well as classification, annotation and coding of documents. Working hours up to 37 hours per month.

At the University of Bremen, the following positions are available in the Collaborative Research Centre 1342's project "Global developments in health care systems":

Student Assistants with up to 37 hrs/month

Start date: As soon as possible. The position is temporary, but a longer-term employment is intended.

The project is a part of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre 1342 "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" and is directed by Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Haunss and Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter.

The aim of the project is to map the historical development of the inclusiveness and the scope of benefits of health care systems worldwide. In doing so, we develop an AI supported system to facilitate the classification and annotation of a large corpus of documents.


  • Database and literature research
  • Supporting the systematic classification of documents
  • Supporting the annotation / coding of documents
  • Supporting on administrative tasks


  • Excellent command of English
  • Knowledge of French, Spanish or Russian is welcome
  • Experience in literature research
  • Independent, reliable and organised working style
  • Interest in social policy, health policy and/or health inequality


  • Experience with reference management software, especially Zotero
  • Experience in annotation / coding of text documents
  • Interest in natural language processing and application of artificial intelligence

Deadline for application: Rolling basis until positions are filled.

Please send applications with CV and short letter of motivation to Gabriela de Carvalho (

Dr. Gabriela de Carvalho
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57078

The mission of the new CRC member is to enhance the web-based Global Welfare State Information System (WeSIS), in close cooperation with our scientists.

The University of Bremen invites applications for the following position – under the condition of job release -

Software Developer (f/m/d) for Research Software

Reference number: A126/22

To be filled as soon as possible. This is a full-time permanent position (TV-L 13).

The University of Bremen is committed to a policy of providing equal employment opportunities for both men and women alike, and therefore strongly encourages women to apply for the position offered.


Developing software to support scientific research processes and making research data available long-term are core tasks at the University of Bremen. The position is initially part of the Collaborative Research Center 1342 (CRC 1342) “Global Dynamics of Social Policy” for continuing the development of the leading Global Welfare State Information System (WeSIS).

In the past four years, the web-based information system was designed and developed to help social policy researchers organize their data collection and analyses. The system is tailored to the needs of a large and very diverse group of researchers and is planned to be released to the scientific community in 2024.

 Based on the elicited design requirements, the system includes algorithmic solutions that support the researchers in semi-automatic data validation, storage, exploration, and sharing (

The project in the CRC 1342 is currently organized until 2025 and there is an extension planned until 2029, to be focused on research transfer and the release of the system to the general public. Afterward, the position will be taken over by the central IT-service area of the University of Bremen.

Your tasks

Your tasks will be improving and extending the existing web-based information system. The main goal will be working towards the system launch to the scientific community in 2024. In addition, you will implement new system features, with a focus on data analysis and visualization tools, as well as maintain and improve the existing features. The web-based information system is already being used by the social science researchers and stores more than a thousand datasets collected by them.

What do we offer?

You will work in an interdisciplinary and international team of scientists and technicians. You will work closely with the leading professors of the team. Moreover, you will work on innovative topics to support scientific work in cooperation with software developers from other faculties and with the Data Science Center of the University of Bremen. In doing so, you will have contact with diverse scientific topics from the social policy and computer science fields.


Your profile

  • You have a completed university degree (Master, Diplom or comparable degree) preferably in computer science, business informatics or in a related field with proven expertise in web software development.
  • You have experience working with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  • You have experience working with relational databases (PostgreSQL or equivalent).
  • You have experience on the fields of data science or information visualization.
  • You have a very good command of spoken and written English (C1).
  • You have knowledge in participative software development.

In addition to the ability to work constructively in a team, you place particular value on user-centered work. You work independently, in a structured and problem-solving manner. Furthermore, you bring along communicative skills as well as the ability to think conceptually and analytically.


The University of Bremen offers a family-friendly working environment. Disabled applicants will be given priority if their professional and personal qualifications are fundamentally equivalent. Applications from persons with migration background as well as international applications are expressly welcomed.

If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter (

Applications should be submitted up until May 17th, 2022 with the reference number A126/22 to the following address:

Universität Bremen
Dezernat 2 – Personalangelegenheiten
Postfach 33 04 40
28334 Bremen

We ask you to please send us document copies only because we cannot return anything.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen

The project examines the development of family policy around the world - the students assistant's taks include data and literature research/processing, the working hours are 9 hours/week.

At the University of Bremen, the following position is available in the Collaborative Research Centre 1342's project "Pathways to Family Policy Universalism: Inclusiveness and Scope of Family Policies in Global Perspective": 

Student Assistant with up to 9 hrs/week

Start date: As soon as possible. The position is temporary, a longer-term employment is intended.

The project is a part of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre 1342 "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" and is directed by Prof. Sonja Drobnič. 

This project is about surveying the historical development of family policy measures in all countries of the world and explaining the spread across national borders. The role of international women's movements and civil society organisations will also be considered. 


  • Database and literature research
  • Collecting statistical data from text documents
  • Editing of previously collected data
  • Support in data analysis


  • Interest in social policy and/or macro-comparative data and research questions
  • Good level of English (other language skills are welcome)
  • Experience in literature research and/or document analysis
  • Independent, reliable and structured working style
  • Knowledge of R (especially data management) or STATA is an advantage

Please send an applications with CV and short letter of motivation electronically as a pdf attachment to:

Tobias Böger, and Sonja Drobnič,

Dr. Tobias Böger
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58586

Dr. Simon Gerards Iglesias
Dr. Simon Gerards Iglesias
In his thesis, the historian examined Argentina's social policy in the years 1919 to 1943, the impact of relevant actors and the influence of the ILO.

Simon Gerards Iglesias completed his doctorate in the project "Formation, Development and Reconstruction of the Welfare State in the Cono Sur in Exchange with (Southern) Europe (1850-1990), which was supervised by Delia González de Reufels. His doctoral thesis is entitled "Argentine Social Policy and the International Labour Organization, 1919-1943. Conflicts, Debates, and Cooperation".

In his work, Gerards Iglesias identified the most important actors of the time and, in his archival work, reconstructed which international influences affected their decisions. In this context, the International Labour Organisation, which opened its South American branch in Buenos Aires, plays a prominent role, intensifying the already lively exchange with Argentine actors. "The ILO acted as a platform and hinge of knowledge generation in [Argentine] social policy," says Gerards Iglesias. Large comparative studies, extensive archives and libraries were important factors in this.

However, the ILO only had an indirect influence on the shaping of Argentine social policy: "[In Argentina] conventions were ratified very late and only implemented in certain areas," says Gerards Iglesias. "There was a cherry picking of conventions for the areas where there were already very sophisticated laws. As a result, the conventions usually had neither a positive nor a negative impact on Argentine legislation."

Simon Gerards Iglesias had been a member of SFB 1342 since 2019. Now he is joining the German Economic Institute  in Cologne.

Simon Gerards Iglesias
Dr. Helen Seitzer
Dr. Helen Seitzer
Supported by the grant, Seitzer will develop an automated method to extract info on bibliographies & citations from documents. This will help Seitzer analyse where IOs draw their expert knowledge from.

Helen Seitzer will receive seed funding from the Data Science Center (DSC) at the University of Bremen from 1 June 2022 to 31 December 2022. The seed funding will support her research project "The origins of expertise: Where does IO-knowledge originate from?", in which Seitzer investigates the origins of expertise from international organisations dealing with education. For this work, hundreds to thousands of text documents have to be analysed. To speed up this process, Seitzer is developing an automated text analysis procedure to extract information on bibliographies and citations from PDF files. Seitzer will initially apply this procedure to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but it should then be transferable to other organisations and thus enable comparisons.
Seitzer's work is concerned with examining more closely the hitherto generally accepted expert status of international organisations in the field of education and education reforms. Specifically, the aim is to determine the source of expertise of these influential organisations. Do they use results from current research or do they repeatedly refer to research results from their own ranks? Or do they use only few central documents? This research is linked to the CRC project A05 The Global Development of Coverage and Generosity in Public Education, directed by Kerstin Martens and Michael Windzio.

The DSC Seed Grant

The DSC Seed Grant is designed to strengthen the collaboration of working groups from different faculties of the University of Bremen and thus to lay the foundation for interdisciplinary research projects in the context of data science. The overall goal of the DSC Seed Grant is to promote excellent research in the field of data science. The amount of the grant is up to EUR 2,500 per applicant.

Dr. Helen Seitzer
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57065

The professor of German and transnational social policy talks about the role of social welfare systems in global crises, the transfer of ideas and knowledge across borders and from science to politics.

Alexandra Kaasch is a professor at Bielefeld University and a member of CRC 1342 since the beginning of the year: together with Kerstin Martens and Ewa Kaminska-Visser, she directs project B12 Crisis Management in the Covid 19 Pandemic by International Organisations.

In the podcast, which was created in the context of CRC 1288 "Praktiken des Vergleichens" ("Practices of Comparison"), Kaasch explains the questions they are pursuing in their research project: "We are investigating what recommendations international organisations give to similar countries in different parts of the world with regard to the Corona pandemic and its consequences. We are interested in: Does the social aspect that we see in global discourses also translate regionally in the attempts to deal with the crisis and the respective problem situations? We also compare international organisations with each other. Do they recommend the same things? What are their priorities? Where do they differ, where do they argue? And how do they organise their cooperation with the states?"

With regard to Germany, Kaasch notes that social policy spending is higher than ever before. " With regard to public finances and the labour market, it makes perfect sense to invest in social measures for a certain period of time during an economic crisis in order to have a stable situation after the crisis. In this way, Germany remains close to full employment. However, the growing mountain of debt that has to be paid back by an ageing population has to be set off against this. The question is: up to what point is the equation still positive? "With Corona, I think we will get to the point [and ask]: how much longer can we afford this, is it still possible now?"

According to Kaasch, crises like the Corona pandemic and its further aftermath can be used to identify previously hidden weaknesses in political (welfare) systems in order to eliminate them in the aftermath of the crisis: "building back better", as Kaasch calls it. "One example is teaching at universities. We had the tried and tested teaching model before the pandemic [almost exclusively face-to-face teaching], we see the adaptation in the crisis [almost exclusively digital teaching], and there is a desire to combine both into better teaching in the future." It is still necessary to clarify exactly what this should look like and how we can recognise what is actually best. But the situation shows that there is some truth in the often-used phrase "crises provide opportunities". "Because in crises we learn something about the vulnerability of existing systems and groups."

You can find the entire podcast (in German) here:
Praktisch Theoretisch #35: "Strong health systems help in every crisis" - from the economic to the Corona Crisis

Prof. Dr. Alexandra Kaasch
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Faculty of Sociology
Universitätsstraße 24
33615 Bielefeld
Phone: +49 521 106-2427

The seventh volume of the Palgrave Macmillan series "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" highlights in 39 essays how inter- and transnational influences have affected social policy in a wide range of countries around the world.

The edited volume "International Impacts on Social Policy - Short Histories in Global Perspective" was published by Frank Nullmeier, Delia González de Reufels and Herbert Obinger and illustrates the importance of inter- and transnational influences for the development of public social policy worldwide. The book consists of 39 case studies that are divided into four sections analysing the importance of (1) violence, (2) international organisations, (3) trade relations and economic crises, and (4) ideas, networks of experts and migration. The contributions illustrate important parts of the results produced by the CRC 1342 and its 15 projects in the period from 2018 to 2021.

Like the entire Global Dynamics of Social Policy series, this volume is published in open access format to make the research results of the CRC 1342 easily accessible to the scientific community in all parts of the world.

The entire volume as well as the individual contributions can be downloaded free of charge from the Palgrave Macmillan/Springer website:

Frank Nullmeier, Delia González de Reufels, Herbert Obinger (eds.)(2022): International Impacts on Social Policy - Short Histories in Global Perspective, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67200

Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576

Prof. Dr. Herbert Obinger
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58567