A portrait of Robin in 2020

Hi, I'm Robin

I study how we, as societies, debate and try to deal with large-scale collective challenges. I am particularly interested in how socio-economic transformations affect our ideas about social justice and identity. Currently, I am employed as a postdoc at the University of Hamburg, Germany, where my work is focused on climate change and the transition towards a sustainable economy and way of life ahead of us.  

Until late 2021, I studied how news media portray the science and politics of climate change in Germany and the United States and how citizens respond to such reporting. As a culmination of that work, in March 2022, I obtained a PhD in communication science at the University of Amsterdam — you can find my dissertation here

I enjoy making research and scientific knowledge accessible and useful for people that strive to change this world for the better. I do so by offering my expertise to media organisations, people working in education, and policymakers. If you feel you or your organisation could benefit from that, just write me an email.

If you want to learn more about my work, have a look at my (mostly up-to-date) academic CV, or by taking a look around


In my research, I focus on how media report on societal challenges, how we, as individuals, engage with them, and how we can improve our public conversation and decision-making. I am particularly interested in the role our ideas about justice and our identities play in our public conversations about large-scale problems, such as climate change.

Teaching and Workshops

My current and past teaching includes courses on "Identity, Social Justice and the Public Sphere", "Climate Communication", "Theories of Journalism in the Digital Age", "Societal Challenges", and social science research methods and philosophy. Next to my teaching at university, enjoy giving worshops to practitioners and interested audiences about social science, using interactive, learner-driven formats combining hands-on experience, teamwork, and collective reflection.

Open and Public Science

I believe that all science should be done in service of the public good, and that implies making what I do accesible to those interested. I do so by offering my expertise to those interested in the form of workshops, interviews, or background conversations. I also strive to be transparent about how I do my work and make it open to criticism and replication, and allowing others to build on what I have done. When possible, I make my study materials available via my Open Science Foundation profile.

Recent activities

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.