Meaningful knowledge empowers people to shape lasting change
Meaningful knowledge empowers people to shape lasting change
A portrait of Robin in 2020

Hi, I'm Robin

I study how we, as societies, debate politically pressing issues — in particular climate change, social justice, and identity. Currently, I am employed as a postdoc at Universität Hamburg (Germany). I also teach and write about science and politics, aiming to bring some insightful social research to a broader audience. 

Over the past years, my research focused on how media portray the science and politics of climate change in Germany and the United States. As a culmination of that work, in March 2022, I obtained a PhD in communication science at the University of Amsterdam (link to dissertation). You can find more detail about that side of my work in my academic CV, or by following one of the links in the menu.

I enjoy making research and scientific knowledge accessible and useful for people that strive to change this world for the better. Have a look at what I do and my ideas of how I could help you or your organisation below. If it inspires you and you have a great idea, I'd be thrilled to help you realise it. Just write me an email.

Research Projects

I design and conduct my own projects using a variety of methods and theoretical lenses. I also supervise junior researchers and students, and review the work done by colleagues in my field.

Teaching and Workshops

I teach students, practitioners, and interested audiences about social science, using interactive, learner-driven formats combining hands-on experience, teamwork, and collective reflection.

Public Social Science

I organise and participate in events and other activities that bring scientists, political actors, and interested citizens together to debate pressing societal challenges.

Writing and Media

I write about research and science for academic and public outlets. I also enjoy helping others express their knowledge and ideas, and can give advice about content and presentation.

Presentations and Talks

I present the results of my work and insights from other scientific fields at academic conferences and in formats accessible to general and specialist audiences. 

Make climate a class and solve climate change by 2030

Public Social Science Event
How to solve climate change by 2030 flyer
Flyer design by ACES

The next ten years are a crucial window for determining if and how Europe can uphold its commitment to reduce emissions to zero by 2050. In this interactive session, we discussed the most important changes that need to happen in the Netherlands. We focused on the justice and fairness challenges involved and how young people and their allies can have an impact and shape the next steps.

A recording of the event, hosted by myself and Laura Burgers can be found on the YouTube channel of ACES. Part of the global "Make Climate a Class" initiative, the event aimed to encourage schools and universities to use the recording as a teaching resource. Many more webinars with similar conversations happening around the globe can be found on the initiative's website and Youtube channel.

Why we need to talk less about climate science (and focus on politics instead)

Blog Post
The climate is changing - why aren't we?
Photo by Markus Spiske

After many decades of inaction, we now have to face severe climate change. Yet, the most important question is not how bad it will get, but what can be done now to cut emissions quickly. This is a point often missed by the media and campaigners.

In a blog post on the "Communicating Communication" blog, featuring the research of PhD students at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research, I discuss why media reporting on climate change, even when accurate, can lead the public conversation in the wrong direction.

How do media make climate change a feature of political identities?

Research Project

With this research project, I investigated how different media report about the politics of climate change. I focused on how media portray known and new "political identities" (eg. Conservative, Socialist, Fridays for Future activist) and if and how they align them with a particular stance on climate change and climate policy.

And indeed, they do so by linking the issue to more and less fundamental aspects of the identity in question. But as I found out, there are strong differences between the US and German media. In addition, left- and right-leaning media tend to exaggerate differences between groups much more than media read by wider audiences. The paper about the study is currently undergoing revision and will be out later in 2021.

Political Communication, Journalism, and Social Research Methods

University Teaching Activity
Graduate School and College of Communication at UvA
Logos by the University of Amsterdam

From 2018-2021, I had the pleasure of teaching some of the very talented students in the bachelors and masters programmes offered at the College of Communication and Graduate School of Communication at the University of Amsterdam.

Over the years, I taught classes in "Philosophy of Science and Methodology" and "Political Communication and Journalism". I also supervised student internships, bachelor thesis projects, and a number of students writing their master thesis.

Do our economies have to grow?

University Teaching Activity

For most people, it is obvious that economic growth is good, and that governments should spend a considerable amount of time and resources to create the optimal conditions for growth. In particular, economists tend to focus on how to make our economies grow, but less so on whether that is a desirable goal in the first place. 

In this 4-week interdisciplinary seminar, taught in the Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics programme at the University of Amsterdam, I challenged my students to re-think their own views about economic growth, and critically reflect on the assumptions and challenges associated with pro-growth policies.