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Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


Judith Sijstermans

Judith Sijstermans
Judith Sijstermans
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Political parties, European Union, Policy learning, Europeanization, Nationalism, Regionalism, Socialization, Policy networks, Policy transfer, Multi-level governance, British Politics

Research Summary

My PhD research explores whether, how, and under what conditions European stateless nationalist and regionalist parties (SNRPs) influence each other’s policy choices. In particular, I ask: does transnational collaboration between European SNRPs impact their policy and strategy making processes?

To study the relationship between collaborating political parties, I adopt a policy transfer and policy learning approach. This approach also allows me to engage with existing literature on multi-level governance, networks, and Europeanization/socialization processes. My research can be differentiated from these approaches due to its focus on heterarchical and horizontal (rather than hierarchical and vertical) relationships in the European Union. Furthermore, by understanding the consequences of collaboration, my research counterbalances  prevalent competitive explanations of political party behaviour.

I look at the cases of the Scottish National Party, the Frisian National Party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya,  Partit Demòcrata Català (formerly Convergencia Democratica de Cataluna), and the Union Démocratique Bretonne.

Research Interests

Political Parties; European Union; Policy Transfer; Policy Learning; Nationalism; Europeanization; Socialisation; Policy Networks


Professor Nicola McEwen and Dr. Alan Convery


2015—MSc International and European Politics (with Distinction), University of Edinburgh

  • Dissertation: "The Curious Case of Collaboration: Explaining Plaid Cymru’s Policy Development through Policy Transfer." Awarded a mark of 78% (UK First).

2014—BA Political Science (Highest Honours and Highest Distinction), University of California at Berkeley


2016 Awarded a UACES & James Madison Charitable Trust PhD Scholarship for fieldwork.

2015-2018 Funded by a University of Edinburgh Graduate School of Social and Political Science Studentship.

2014 Edinburgh Santander Master's Scholarship

2014 Winner of the Departmental Citation, given yearly to the student with most outstanding achievement in political science at UC Berkeley

Knowledge Exchange 

Relevant Work Experience 

2016-Present: Programme Assistant to the MSc in International and European Politics

2016-Present: Tutor on courses such as 'Politics in A Changing World' and 'Comparative Politics in a Globalized World.'

2015-Present: Parliamentary Researcher at the Scottish Parliament

2015: Research Intern to the Chief Executive of Stirling Council

2014: Impact Case Study Writer at Edinburgh Research and Innovation

2013: Research Intern at the Democratic Progress Institute