New intellectual contributors join Das Progressive Zentrum

New Members of the Scientific Council and Fellows support our think tank

A total of 16 outstanding progressive thinkers and practitioners will add to the intellectual life within the think-tank in our three programme areas “International Relations”, “Future of Democracy” and “Structural Change”, and elaborate on new thematic threads such as “Digital Democracy”, “Corporate Citizenship” and “Democratic Debate Culture”.

Scientific Council

The Scientific Council brings together leading academics and intellectuals from Germany and beyond who are actively working to design and promote progressive policies and politics. Members of the Scientific Council advise and support the work of Das Progressive Zentrum.

Dr. Oliver Geden
Oliver Geden is Head of the EU/Europe Research Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). He supports Das Progressive Zentrum with research on European and international climate policy, and the quality of scientific policy advice. For the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6) Geden has been selected as a lead author. Twitter: @Oliver_Geden

Prof. Dr. Florian Grotz
Florian Grotz is a Professor for Political Science, primarily for Comparative Government, at the Helmut-Schmidt University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg. He will contribute his research on the performance and reform of democratic institutions in Germany and Europe.

Prof. Dr. Tanja Klenk
Tanja Klenk is a Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy at the Helmut-Schmidt-University Hamburg. Her principal research interests lie in the field of the governance and administration of the welfare state and comparative social policy.

Prof. Dr. Rita Nikolai 

Rita Nikolai is a Heisenberg-Fellow of the German Research Foundation at the Humboldt-University Berlin. She supports Das Progressive Zentrum with her research on the institutional change in school politics, (new) forms of educational governance and educational inequalities.

Prof. Dr. Sabine Ruß-Sattar
Sabine Ruß-Sattar is a professor for comparative political science at the University of Kassel. Besides her professorship, she works as an evaluator for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Franco-German university (DFH). Since October 2013, she is Associate Fellow for the German Council on Foreign Relations.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard WeßelsBernhard Weßels is Professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin and Deputy Director of the Department “Democracy and Democratization” at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. His research areas include comparative political behavior, mediation of interests and political representation. He is co-head of the German Election Study (GLES) and head of the Manifesto Project (MARPOR). Twitter: @BernhardWessels


The group of Policy Fellows and Visiting Fellows consists of academics, thought leaders, consultants and practitioners. They make an invaluable contribution to Das Progressive Zentrum by supporting its strategy and operations. The Visiting Fellows substantively support the organisation for a limited period (one year).

Manuela Barišić
Manuela Barišić works as a Project Manager in the project “Future of Employment” at the Bertelsmann Stiftung. As a Visiting Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum, she works in the programme Structural Change and Inclusive Growth on the topics “Inequality and Growth”, “Income and Social Mobility Prospects” and “The Role of Public Investments for Inclusive Growth”. Manuela develops analyses and reform proposals for a dynamic and inclusive labour market. In addition, she deals with fundamental issues of economic policy.

Daniela Blaschke
Daniela Blaschke is an Associate for Public Affairs at Volkswagen Group. As a Visiting Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum, she works within the programme area of Structural Transformation & Inclusive Growth on the topics of Sustainability, Corporate Activism, and Futures of Mobility. Daniela Blaschke is currently writing her doctoral thesis at the department of philosophy and humanities at Freie Universität Berlin.

Dr. Maik Bohne
Maik Bohne is the owner and director of the consultancy “Die Gesprächspartner“. He advises companies, administrations and research institutions. For the 2009 initiative “ProDialog”, Maik headed the national and cross-party campaign “Messengers for democracy”. He worked as a consultant for IFOK and continued this work in the strategic department at the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). Twitter: @fuer_gespraeche

Kübra Gümüsay
Kübra Gümüsay is an author and activist writing amongst others for the German newspapers ZEIT, ZEIT Online, and taz. At Das Progressive Zentrum she is a Visiting Fellow in the Programme Future of Democracy. She initiated various campaigns such as the anti-racist campaign #SchauHin, the feminist association #Ausnahmslos and the campaign „Organisierte Liebe“ (Organised Love) against internet-based hate. Her blog has been nominated for the Grimme Online Award. According to the Deutschlandradio she is one of the key thinkers on Islam in Germany. Twitter: @kuebra

Johannes Hillje
Johannes Hillje is a political and communications consultant working in Berlin and Brussels. He works for institutions, political parties, companies and NGOs. In 2014, he managed the EU election campaign of the European Green Party. Previously he also worked for the United Nations in New York and as a journalist for the ZDF. Johannes is the author of the book “Propaganda 4.0” (Dietz Verlag), which was published in 2017. Twitter: @JHillje

Lutz Mache
Lutz Mache has been working as a Public Policy and Government Relations Senior Analyst for Google Germany since 2014. As a Visiting Fellow for Das Progressive Zentrum, he works in the programme Future of Democracy. Prior to working with Google, he accompanied the firm as an external adviser and worked for an SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) member of parliament. He is actively involved as a volunteer with the digital policy association “D64 – Zentrum für Digitalen Fortschritt e.V.” Twitter: @lutzmache

Isabelle Maras
Isabelle Maras is an expert for external relations and partnerships at the Franco-German University (DFH/UFA) and a Senior Fellow at the Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE). At Das Progressive Zentrum she works as a Visiting Fellow for the Programme International Relations. She has gained extensive both academic and practical experience in Franco-German relations, EU foreign policy and European defence and security policy. Twitter: @Isabelle_Maras

Dr. Florian Ranft
Florian is the Head of Policy and International at Policy Network, and a Senior Research Analyst at the Centre for Progressive Policy, both think tanks based in London. As a Policy Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum, he works in the Programme Structural Change with a focus on inclusive growth and the future of work. Previously, he was a researcher and lecturer in political sociology and international relations at the Universities of Frankfurt and Greifswald. Twitter: @FloRanft

Dr. Alexander Schellinger
Alexander Schellinger is assistant to the CEO of Techniker Krankenkasse, the largest public health insurer in Germany. As a Visiting Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum, he works in the Programme International Relations on the topics of the future of the eurozone and social Europe. He publishes on European politics and participates in panel discussions. Twitter: @AlexSchellinger

Fiona D. Wollensack
Fiona D. Wollensack is a Policy Adviser at the German Agency for International Development Cooperation (GIZ), where she focuses on renewable energy policy, particularly in Africa. As a Visiting Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum she works in the International Relations programme. Her work includes topics such as Brexit, European sustainability strategies (including the 2030 Agenda) and European development policy, and European policy issues more generally.

The programme areas of Das Progressive Zentrum