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Photo of Professor Sandra Kröger

Professor Sandra Kröger

Associate Professor of Political Science


01392 263285

My research so far has addressed different questions related to democracy and social justice in the EU. Earlier research focused on the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) in the field of social inclusion, and other forms of soft law. I then became interested in electoral and non-electoral forms of political representation, on the one hand, and the norms that should be underlying the institutional design of representative institutions in the EU, on the other. More recently, I have become interested in differentiated integration in the EU, and how it could be institutionalised in a democratic and fair way. My most recent research develops some of the earlier questions further by investigating the ethics of politics as well as questions linked to digital democracy and dataethics.

In my teaching, which I greatly enjoy, I seek to involve students as much as possible as active agents of their learning, so as to develop critical, independent thinking as well as group and expression skills. This leads me to rely a lot on group discussions, role plays - both smaller ones and in the form of simulations - as well small research exercises in the class room. I was truly honoured, in 2016, to be the runner-up for the category 'Innovative teaching' in the UoE Teaching Awards.

In 2021, I have become the Director of the Centre for European Studies. Since 2023, I am a Dignity and Respect Advisor at UoE.

I organise an interdisciplinary reading group on Democracy in Europe. Get in touch with me in case you'd like to be involved!

Research group links

Research interests

  • European integration
  • Democratic theory
  • Parliaments, political parties, and civil society organisations in the EU
  • Euroscepticism
  • Populism
  • Ethics in politics
  • Digital democracy
  • Smartphones

I have been involved in a number of projects on soft law in the EU, bei it the Open Method of Coordination or corporate social resonsibility. Other projects were concerned with political representation in the EU, in both electoral and non-electoral forms. More recently, I have become more interested in the issues of differentiated integration in the EU and I was involved in two Horizon2020 projects on the topic (2020-23). It has led me to become interested in the topic of democratic backsliding which I now pursue in a new research project. I am also developing a new research interest which is linked to digital democracy and dataethics. Finally, I have most recently conducted focus groups on how smartphones support and undermine student wellbeing.

Any proposals of dissertations that focus on the above listed topics are highly welcome.

Other information

Research funding

  • UoE European Network Fund, October 2021, £8500
  • Horizon2020 project 'Differentiation: Clustering Excellence', 2020-2022 (90.000 Euro)
  • Horizon2020 project 'Integrating Diversity in the European Union', 2019-2021 (106.000 Euro)
  • Robert Schuman Fellow, EUI, 2018-2019 (35.193 Euro)
  • UoE Strategic Discretionary Fund, July 2016, £ 3.300
  • Fellow at the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg Delmenhorst, 10/2013-04/2014.
  • Life Long Learning Programme, Jean Monnet Action, Key Activity 1, 'New trends in political representation in the EU – still democratic?', conference in Exeter, 24-26 May 2012 (39.538,50 Euro).
  • Marie Curie Fellowship for 24 months at the Department of Politics of the University of Exeter, September 2011-August 2013 (192.850 Euro).
  • Workshop 'Representation in the European Union: Coping with present challenges to democracy', Fritz-Thyssen Stiftung, 2010 (8.000 Euro).
  • Workshop 'The OMC within the Lisbon Strategy: Empirical assessments and theoretical implications', Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 28.-30.11.2008 (10.000 Euro).
  • 2004-2007: Fellowship of the German Science Foundation, member of the doctoral programme 'The Future of the European Social Model', Georg-August University Göttingen.
  • 1999-2001: Fellowship of the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V.
  • 1994-1999: Fellowship of the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V.


A Marie Curie fellowship first brought me to Exeter (2011-2013). I started as lecturer in 2014 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2016 and to Associate Professor in 2021.

I hold degrees in social science (Humboldt-University Berlin, Paris VIII) and Interdisciplinary France studies (University Freiburg). I did my PhD as part of the graduate programme ‘The Future of the European Social Model’ (supervisors: Prof. Ilona Ostner and Prof. Claus Offe). The dissertation, which I defended in 2008, addressed the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social inclusion and its implementation in France, Germany, and at the EU-level.

Between 2006-2008, I was a teaching fellow at the Georg-August University Göttingen and the Humboldt University Berlin before becoming a lecturer at the Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies,University of Bremen (2008-2011). I have held fellowships at the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg (Delmenhorst, 2013/14), the European University Institute in Florence (2018/19), and at the Hertie School in Berlin (2023). In 2021, I became the Director of the Centre for European Governance.

Away from academic life, I enjoy going to concerts, both classic and folk, rock and some pop; reading fiction and discussing some of it in my book club, including graphic novels; seeing good films and good football matches (particularly when my team Werder Bremen wins which sadly does not happen often enough), swimming; traveling to warmer places and in particular Livorno; and being around my husband, (previously my late cat), and my friends.

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