Our Team

Director and founder of Social Science Works is Hans Blokland. Team-members are Mirjam Neebe, Nils Wadt, Zak Reimer and Philipp Bautz. Various interns and visiting scholars additionally are part of our team.

Moreover, we are supported by a growing number of Fellows. Please find more about them here.

Prof. Dr. Hans Blokland

Mirjam Neebe MA

Nils Wadt MA

Nils Wadt has been connected to Social Science Works from the very beginning. Nils finished his Bachelor degree in Sociology and Political Science in Cologne and Frankfurt. Both schools are grounded in different research traditions, Frankfurt with a strong background in Critical Theory (Horkheimer & Adorno, Frankfurter Schule) and Cologne with a strong background in empirical research and methodology (René König, Kölner Schule). Nils completed his graduate degree in Social Science at Humboldt University Berlin integrating the different academic backgrounds.

In his Master thesis Nils researched the political motivations and social values of civil volunteers in the refugee sector. His academic profile is leaning towards qualitative methods backed up by general competence in quantitative analysis. His qualitative focus covers methods such as genealogy, content analysis, as well as a variety of interview techniques and participatory observation.

Besides his studies, Nils Wadt worked at Chairs of Sociology, Political Theory, Psychology and Economics, gaining insights into the different research practices and epistemological groundings.

Within his work and studies in the academy, Nils Wadt apprehended the problems, contemporary social science is facing. This includes not only the separation between empirical research practice and the evaluation of its epistemological assumptions, but also the growing irrelevancy of academic research to civil society. His commitment to the project of Social Science Works is grounded in this apprehension. 

Sahba Salehi MA

Sahba Salehi is a master student of International Humanitarian Action (NOHA) at the University of Groningen. She has previously studied International Development at the University of Edinburgh and has an undergraduate degree in English Language. She has experience working with the Danish Refugee Council on a project for Afghan refugee children’s access to education in Iran. Prior to this, Sahba also has worked as a language teacher and an education coordinator in a community centre in Tehran. She is passionate about alternative types of education as a means of social change and promoting equality. Her other interests include issues related to working with communities on different areas such as education, participation, and integration. As an intern with Social Science Works, Sahba is excited improve her knowledge of democracy and deliberation. She is also interested in exploring the impacts of SSW as a local NGO on the community and the challenges, achievements, and learnt lessons of the projects.

Zak Reimer MA

Zak Reimer was a German Chancellor Fellow from the Humboldt Foundation conducting research at Social Science Works into grassroots refugee integration efforts in Germany. More information about his project can be found here.

Zak grew up in the state of Montana, USA and first became interested in the subject of migration after studying the issue at the US/Mexico border in 2016. In 2017, Zak began work with refugees at the newly opened office of the International Rescue Committee in Missoula, Montana. While working to help the community welcome refugees, Zak began asking the questions that led him to pursue his research in partnership with Social Science Works: chiefly, what factors strengthen the role a community plays in integrating refugees and how can successful programs in Germany be replicated in the US?

Zak holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Montana State University and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Montana.  His other areas of research interest include childhood development, economic justice, and conflict mediation.

Philipp Bautz BA

Philipp studied Public Economics and sociology at the University of Potsdam, as part of a dual-subject bachelor. A wide variety of subjects were at the center of his studies, such as resource and environmental economics, organizational structures, micro economics, statistics and survey design. He is a especially interested in how the economic and ecological spheres influence each other. Also for this reason he wrote a bachelor thesis on the international protection efforts regarding the river Oder, which he approached from a game theory angle. In his spare time he enjoys art, animation, movies, cooking and baking, especially pizza.

Isabel Romijnders BA

Isabel is a recent graduate of the BSc International Development Studies at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. Her study focused on policy implementation, grassroots innovation, and human rights philosophy. In her BSc thesis, she explored the accountability of Civil Society Organizations that are active in the humanitarian aid field. She would like to gain a better understanding of bottom-up approaches of organizations that address crucial social issues. Therefore, before starting an MSc, she joined Social Science Works to develop actionable knowledge, practical skills and learn more about addressing issues such as integration, radicalization, and citizen participation.