€1.5 million ERC Starting Grant awarded to Prof. Virginie Van Ingelgom

LOGO-ERC_418x400_289331-300x300Virginie Van Ingelgom, Research Associate Professor in political science at the Université catholique de Louvain and Editorial Board Member of Politique Européenne, has recently been awarded a €1.5 million Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for her project ‘QUALIDEM – Eroding Democracies. A qualitative (re-)appraisal of how policies shape democratic linkages in Western democracies’.  Qualidem is an interdisciplinary project that intends to bridge between scholars of public policy and students of mass politics. Based on their previous research, it brings together Prof Van Ingelgom (principal investigator), who specializes in the study of mass public, and Dr Claire Dupuy (principal collaborator), a scholar of comparative public policy. The project commenced on 1 April 2017 and lasts for five years. It is hosted by the Université catholique de Louvain – ISPOLE in partnership with Sciences Po Grenoble – PACTE.

The Qualidem project offers a qualitative (re)appraisal of citizens’ (dis-)affection towards politics by relying on the core argument of the policy feedback literature: attitudes and behaviours are outcomes of past policy. It aims to explain the evolutions of democratic linkages – political trust, political support, loyalty, formal and informal participation – as being shaped by public policy, and specifically by the turn to neoliberalism and supranationalisation.

On the empirical level, Qualidem relies on the reanalysis of qualitative data – interviews and focus groups – from a diachronic and comparative perspective focusing on four Western European countries, Belgium, France, Germany and the UK, with the US serving as a counterpoint. The objective is to systematically analyse the domestic and socially differentiated effects of both the major policy-related macro transformations to citizens’ representations and experiences of politics.

Qualidem’s team includes Damien Pennetreau (PhD candidate), Ferdinand Teuber (postdoctoral fellow from October 1st, 2017), one PhD candidate, two postdoctoral fellows, one IT specialist, as well as Prof Virginie Van Ingelgom and Dr Claire Dupuy.

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research.  ERC Starting Grants are designed to encourage young talented researchers who have proven potential of becoming independent research leaders.  The funding enables these young researchers to set up their own research teams and pursue ground-breaking ideas.  This year’s funding received over 2,900 proposals, of which 11% was funded, and to date the ERC have funded over 5,000 top researchers at various stages of their careers.