Dr. Matthias Freise

Dr Matthias Freise has been a senior academic councillor since 2009 and a private lecturer at the Institute of Political Science at the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster since 2018. His research focus is on the European integration process, in particular EU cohesion policy. In addition, Dr Freise conducts research in the field of civil society and third sector research.

The team

In Dr Freise's seminar "The European Union in Political Discourse", Master's students from a total of three degree programmes come together: the Master of Political Science, the Master of Education Social Sciences and the Master of International and European Governance. The latter programme is a binational cooperation programme with Sciences Po Lille, from which a particularly large number of students are taking part in the seminar this year. In Münster, as in previous years, the students' preliminary debates will again be recorded so that video analyses can be carried out later.




Dr. Dreyer-Plum

Since 2016, Dr Domenica Dreyer-Plum has been working as a research assistant at the Institute for Political Science and Sociology at the University of Bonn. In the same year, she received her doctorate with a thesis on the border and asylum policy of the European Union from a cosmopolitan perspective. She is currently writing her habilitation on the legal culture of the European Union and is supported by a habilitation scholarship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Law, politics and the legitimation of European politics are among her teaching and research interests.

The Team

The Bonn team is participating in "NRW debattiert Europa" for the first time this year. Seven students from the Master's in Political Science are taking part in the seminar to prepare for the debating competition. They are taught the basics of European politics as well as subject knowledge specifically tailored to the theses. The students prepare for the debate competition in small groups and compete against each other in preliminary debates.


Dr. Volker Best

After completing his doctorate and dissertation at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Dr Volker Best has been filling the professorship of "Political Systems and Comparative Politics" at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen since the summer semester of 2020. He usually has his students debate proposals on democratic reform, which is one of his main areas of research, along with party and coalition research.

The Team

This year, Dr Volker Best is leading a team from Aachen for the second time. The students are all from the Bachelor of Social Sciences and are attending the seminar with the topic "Franco-German Axis, Weimar Triangle, Core Europe? Debates on the Future Shape of Europe". For the twelve participants, he is again planning a preliminary debate in the form of a friendly match, in which RWTH Aachen University will compete against one of the other partner universities of NRW Debates Europe to put their debating skills to the test under real conditions.



Dr. Oliver Schwarz

Dr Oliver Schwarz has worked at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen since 2004. Questions of European integration and European policy are at the centre of his research and teaching. He is the coordinator of the mentoring programme for the Bachelor's programme in Political Science and co-director of the Duisburg branch of the Southeast Europe Society (SOG). Further information can be found on his university website or his private Twitter account.

The Team

The team from the University of Duisburg-Essen is made up of students from the Bachelor's degree programme in Political Science. The 29 students attending the seminar "European Integration and Politics in the European Multi-level System: NRW debattiert Europa" with Dr Oliver Schwarz learn about many European policy topics as well as the basics of the debating format and apply what they have learned in a preliminary debate.



Prof. Dr. Sven-Oliver Proksch

Sven-Oliver Proksch is Professor of Political Science and Head of the Department of European and Multilevel Politics at the Cologne Center for Comparative Politics at the University of Cologne. His research interests include questions of political representation in Europe, parliamentary institutions, party competition, and content analysis of political debates. He is co-author of the books Reforming the European Union: Realising the Impossible (Princeton University Press, 2012), The Politics of Parliamentary Debate: Parties, Rebels, and Representation (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and the textbook Foundations of European Politics: A Comparative Approach (Oxford University Press, 2021). Since 2021, he has been leading the European Research Council-funded project "Democracy without Majorities: Political Representation under Minority Rule" at the University of Cologne.

The Team

The students at the University of Cologne who are taking part in the debate competition are all studying for a Master's degree in Political Science and are attending the seminar "Institutional Reform of the European Union". In total, the seminar consists of 17 participants who are preparing for the competition together.



Benjamin Läpple

After completing his Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Benjamin Läpple studied for a Master's degree in Economics at Lund University. Since 2016, he has been a research assistant and doctoral student at the Chair of Social Policy and Public Finance at Ruhr University Bochum. His research interests include public choice, political economy of pension reforms, computational social sciences and social media data.

The Team

The seminar “NRW debattiert Europa” brings together Bachelor's and Master's students from the Ruhr University Bochum.  The Bachelor's students study Political Science or in the 2-subject Bachelor's programme Politics, Economics and Society, while the Master's students in the seminar study the Social Science Methods Master's programme or the Europe Master's programme. In the seminar, the 18 students deal with political storytelling, various models from political communication and classical argumentation structures.



Dr. Michael Franke

Michael Franke has been working as a research assistant at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Wuppertal since 2019. He completed his doctorate at the Ruhr University Bochum, where he also worked as a research assistant at the Chair of International Politics. The dissertation "Government Policy in the World Financial Crisis" was published by Nomos in 2020. His research and teaching focus on the fields of international relations and international political economy. He is particularly interested in researching politics in times of economic and social crises.



Dr. Sonja Blum

Sonja Blum is a research associate at the Department of Policy Analysis and Environmental Policy at the Institute of Political Science at the FernUniversität in Hagen. She is also a Research Fellow at the Public Governance Institute of KU Leuven. Previous positions were at KU Leuven, the University of Vienna and the University of Münster. Her research interests include policy field analysis, social policy in the European Union, policy processes and policy design, and evidence and policy.





Dr. Daniel Rasch 

After completing his Master's degree in social science with a focus on globalisation, transnationalisation and governance at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Dr Daniel Rasch wrote his doctoral thesis on "Informational lobbying and the effect of frames: a mixed methods approach to study advocacy success in the European Union". Since 2020, he has been a research assistant at the Department of Policy Analysis and Environmental Policy at the FernUniversität in Hagen and is conducting research on the institutional integration of societal interests in environmental and energy policy with a focus on the content-related and process-related dimensions of the two policy fields. His research interests include interest mediation, policy field analysis and empirical social research.


The Team

The seminar „NRW debattiert Europa - Debating Competition on the Future of Europe" is attended by Bachelor's students from the degree programme "Political Science, Administrative Science, Sociology" and Master's students from the degree programme "Political Science - Governance and Participation" at the FernUniversität in Hagen. Since many of the students are employed and complete their studies independent of location, the ten participants meet for preparation both online and in presence. During the preliminary debate, the team from Hagen will test the students' debating skills together with the team from the University of Wuppertal.