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Spotlight on... | 22.09.2021

"Spotlight on…" Mirna and Katharina

We welcome two new doctoral researchers. Learn more about Mirna and Katharina and their research projects in the interviews.

    Mirna El Masri

    Mirna joined the GIGA as a Research Fellow in the project “MOTRA-Monitoring System and Transfer Platform Radicalization” in December 2020. She holds a Master in International Relations from the University of Essex and has now started her dissertation project. Get to know Mirna and her dissertation project in the short interview below: 

    What made you choose to do a PhD? 

    I love educating myself on topics I’m interested in—pursuing a PhD is therefore perfectly made for it. Besides, my position at the GIGA enables me to connect the project I am working on with a PhD. So, since I am anyway researching on a project and writing papers in the future, I might as well just connect it with a PhD.  

    What are you looking most forward to during your PhD studies? 

    I am mostly looking forward to learning new methods and gaining experience in pursuing good research. I also love the environment of universities, which is why working and teaching there excites me.  

    What difficulties do you expect to encounter during your project? 

    It is hard to find datasets which actually measure radicalization. Apart from that, already collected data might be biased. It also might be difficult to do a PhD which perfectly aligns within the project I am working on at the GIGA.  

    And now to wrap this interview up: Qualitative or quantitative methods? 

    I prefer working quantitatively because it just makes more fun.  

    Paperback book or eBook? 

    Definitely eBook because it won’t take too much space and dust somewhere in my room.

    Katharina Fietz

    Katharina completed her master studies in Economics at the Nova School of Business and Economics and worked as a Research Analyst in the Social Protection and Jobs Unit at the World Bank Group. She recently joined the GIGA working in the project “Context Matters – Country-Specific Politico-Economic Analyses, Conflict and Crisis Potentials, as Well as Global and Regional Trends” and now also starts with her dissertation titled “Social protection systems and (in)formal labour markets in developing countries”. Get to know Katharina and her dissertation project in the short interview below: 

    What made you choose to do a PhD? 

    I choose to do a PhD since I want to learn more about the topic of informality and social protection system in an analytical and structured way. I would like to increase my knowledge in quantitative methods and data analytics in an academic environment. 

    What is your main motivation to address the topic of your PhD? 

    Low- and middle-income countries are often struggling with a high level of informality and a resulting high share of people not protected by any social protection system. The currently ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how dangerous a missing social protection system can be to societies. Public policies often try to address this challenge and to incentive people to enter the formal labour market. In my PhD I want to analyse the incentive structure of selected public policy measures to decrease informality and guarantee social protection to people. I believe this is especially relevant in a changing nature of work, where we see an increasing share of people working under non-standard working arrangements. 

    What are you looking most forward to during your PhD studies? 

    I hope that I will get the chance to discuss my work and the work of others with fellow students and researchers in order to reflect the work I do. 

    If you could choose one person to discuss your research topic with, who would that be (e.g. a well-known researcher, politician, other public figure)? 

    Santiago Levy Algazi  

    And now to wrap this interview up: Big conferences or small workshops? 

    Even though I perceive big conferences as very informative and important, I like to discuss questions and approaches in small workshops, where I can brainstorm with others over my and their ideas. 

    Paperback book or eBook? 

    I am reading a lot on my computer during the day, therefore I like the feeling of holding a book in my hand in the evening and prefer paperback books over eBooks.