Sosiologisk institutt
Staff and advisory board

Staff and advisory board

Here you can read more about the members of the research group and the advisory board.

Tilknyttede personer som står foran et trehus og smiler til kamera.
Staff at Solstrand Hotel. From the left: Rita Nikolai, Susanne Wiborg, Katharina Sass, Ian Craig, Anders Tonning Rong, Helena Holmlund and Karin Edmark.
Thomas Lorentzen for UiB


Karin Edmark has a PhD in Economics and is currently employed as senior lecturer at the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University. During the past years her research has focused at evaluating the impacts of voucher school reforms, by applying econometric models to register based data. Other current research projects analyze the impact of field of study, and the labour market for preschool personnel.

Dr Susanne Wiborg  is the leader of this research group. She is reader in Education at UCL Institute of Education and member of the LLAKES centre. With a background in comparative politics of education, her research focuses on policy of secondary education and interest group politics in Europe and the Nordic countries.  She is the author of Education and Social Integration: Comprehensive Schooling in Europe, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, and (together with Terry M. Moe, Stanford University) The Comparative Politics of Education: Teacher Unions and Education Systems Around the World.  Cambridge University Press, 2017. She has received scientific and media coverage in respect of her research in The Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, BBC, Newsweek, Prospect, etc. Wiborg is also leader of the MA in Comparative Education at UCL and supervises doctoral students in the field of comparative politics of education.

Thomas Lorentzen, Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology, UiB, is the Project Manager of the research study. He has detailed knowledge on education policy in Norway and has long-standing experience working with longitudinal administrative register data, having been involved in several related comparative research projects. Dr Susanne Wiborg, of UCL IOE, UK and NTNU, Norway, is an experienced research manager who has conducted large-scale comparative politics studies on secondary education in Scandinavia and Europe with internationally leading scholars in the field.

Dr. Katharina Sass, Department of Comparative Politics, UiB, is an early career researcher and has conducted comparative research on school reforms from a political cleavage perspective in Norway and Germany. She has recently published a masterful book of how political forces have a lasting impact on the development trajectories of secondary school system. Katharina Sass (2022): The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms: Cleavages and Coalitions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available with Open Access.

Anders Tonning Rong is a PhD-student on “Admission Impossible: School Choice in European Cities”. His main interests revolve around topics such as social capital theory, research methodology, and education policy including school choice. He holds a MA in sociology from University of Bergen from 2021 and has also studied history at the same university. Rong was a coordinator of the BA-programme on social science methods (from 2021 to 2022) at University of Bergen and has experience in teaching quantitative and qualitative methods.

Sarah Christin Aga, with a background in political science, will contribute as our research assistant for a two year period.

The team will be supported by an Advisory Board consisting of leading experts on school choice/education politics internationally. The role of the Advisory Board is to contribute to the scientific quality of the project, through advice on theoretical and methodological approaches as well as through feedback on academic publication. The members will be invited to attend two interim meetings (in Bergen and London), to discuss research progress and preliminary findings, and the final conference to be held at UiB, Bergen. The advisory team will consist of:

Professor Gudmund Hernes is researcher at the Fafo Institute in Oslo, and Professor II at BI Norwegian School of Management. Gudmund Hernes got his PhD in sociology at Johns Hopkins University in 1971. He became a professor at the University of Bergen in 1971, and later at the University of Oslo. He has been a Fellow at The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford (1974-75) and Visiting Professor at Harvard University in 1986 and 1990. Gudmund Hernes was Norway's Minister of Education and Research 1990-95. From 1999-2005 he was the Director of UNESCO's International Institute of Educational Planning in Paris. Gudmund Hernes has written and edited many specialized books, reports and, articles; has been on the editorial board of several international specialist journals and, is a member of several professional societies and academies.

Rita Nikolai is a Professor of educational science at Augsburg University. Previously she was a Heisenberg-Fellow of the German Research Foundation at the Humboldt-University Berlin, worked at the Social Science Research Center Berlin, and was a Juniorprofessor for System-related School Research at the Humboldt-University. In her research she focuses on the institutional change in school politics, (new) forms of educational governance and educational inequalities.

Dr. Ian Craig has been a teacher, headteacher, LEA and Ofsted inspector, local and central government official. He is currently a visiting professor at UCL, where he mainly tutors and supervises post-graduate students. His main interests are in education systems policy, strategy, organization and management.

Dr. Helena Holmlund, Stockholm University. Helena Holmlund is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, and an Associate at the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. She received her PhD in Economics at Stockholm University in 2006. 2006-2008 she worked as a Research Economist at the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE. Her main research interests are economics of education, applied labour economics and family economics.