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Research interests

I am a Prize Fellow in the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies at the University of Bath. I previously held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Leuven and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as visiting positions at the European University Institute, the Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, and Yale University. My PhD was awarded by ETH Zurich in 2017.

My research focuses on ethno-nationalist conflict, digital democracy, and political behavior. In my research on ethno-nationalist conflict, I address question such as: why do ethno-nationalist and especially separatist conflicts emerge? What determines the reactions of states to ethnic claims for increased self-determination? Under what conditions do nonviolent separatist conflicts escalate to violence? And, under what conditions can ethno-nationalist conflicts be resolved peacefully? In terms of the latter, I am especially interested in the contribution that democratic decision-making mechanisms, such as referendums, can make to the peaceful resolution of separatist conflicts. In ongoing work, I am extending the focus beyond separatist conflicts and study the potential of one of the most prominent proposals for democratic innovation – deliberative mini-publics – to reduce conflict by increasing the acceptance of negative political decisions.

I also have a strong interest in the implications of the digital revolution for political behavior and democratic quality more generally. In particular, I am interested in internet voting as well as voter information systems commonly referred to as Voting Advice Applications (VAAs). One key question that I address in my research is whether digital innovations like internet voting and VAAs can increase electoral turnout. I have also investigated the potential of internet voting to prevent voters from making easy mistakes that lead to their votes not being counted. Finally, I am involved in a consortium of researchers producing state-of-the-art VAAs for elections in the UK and elsewhere. Our tools have been accessed by hundreds of thousands of voters across Europe.

My work has been published in academic journals such as International Organization, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, Political Communication, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Electoral Studies.

For more information on my current projects as well as access to various datasets that have emerged from my research, please visit my personal website:

Education/Academic qualification

Political Science, Doctor of Science, ETH Zürich

Award Date: 28 Jun 2017

Political Science, Master of Social Science, University of Zurich

Award Date: 1 Feb 2012

Political Science, Bachelor of Social Science, University of Zurich

Award Date: 1 Sep 2009

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Research Output

Making Votes Count with Internet Voting

Germann, M., 2 Mar 2020, In : Political Behavior.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
4 Downloads (Pure)

Political Exclusion, Lost Autonomy, and Escalating Conflict over Self-Determination

Germann, M. & Sambanis, N., 31 Mar 2020, (Acceptance date) In : International Organization.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
23 Downloads (Pure)

Getting Out the Vote With Voting Advice Applications

Germann, M. & Gemenis, K., 2019, In : Political Communication. 36, 1, p. 149-170 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
1 Citation (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)

Why Voting Advice Applications help get out the vote

Cioroianu, I., Germann, M. & Wheatley, J., 2019, inews.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Open Access

Catalonia Is Just the Most Recent Referendum on Sovereignty. Why Are They Proliferating?

Germann, M. & Mendez, F., 27 Mar 2018, Washington Post, Monkey Cage.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Contested Sovereignty: A Global Compilation of Sovereignty Referendums (1776-2012)

Mendez, F. (Creator), Germann, M. (Creator) & Aubert, N. (Researcher), Harvard Dataverse, 26 Jan 2016


SDM: A New Dataset on Self-Determination Movements, 1945-2012

Sambanis, N. (Creator), Germann, M. (Creator) & Schädel, A. (Creator), Sage Publications, 30 Oct 2017