Center for Political Communication

The Center for Political Communication is dedicated to exploring political and strategic communication processes from an interdisciplinary perspective. By combining theoretical and methodological concepts from communication and political science, sociology and statistics. We pursue a comprehensive research agenda, develop innovative teaching and training formats and provide scientific services for regional and international partners.

At the center, we specialize in the research, study and application of knowledge of political and strategic communication thus contributing to a better understanding of strategic communication between political authorities and non-state actors such as companies, associations and other third sector organizations.

What we offer:

  • Capacity building: Professional training, undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  • Research: Focus on the communicative aspects of energy & environment, digitalization & infrastructure, social & economic politics, demographic change, social & economic innovation
  • Consultancies and Services: Provision of scientific services tailored to the needs of regional and international partners, consulting and process development


Laura Heintz is a research associate and PhD candidate at the Center for Political Communication and the Chair of Digital Communication at Zeppelin University. Currently she works as a research associate in project RETHINK which is supported by the european commission. She completed her studies in social science and communication at university of Landau with emphasis on strategic communication and use and effects of online media. Her research interests concentrate on use and effects of media, especially user-generated-content, as well as digital science communication and the impact on society. 

Christopher Köhler, M.A., is a PhD candidate and researcher at the Center for Political Communication and the Chair of Digital Communication at Zeppelin University (Friedrichshafen, Germany). He is responsible for the interdisciplinary and transnational research- and transferproject „Digitale Agenda Bodensee“ within the research lab KMUdigital. Christopher holds a masters degree in politics and public administration with a major in quantitative methods from the University of Constance (Constance, Germany). Before working within KMUdigital and at the ZU he was a data scientist in the area of process mining. Christopher´s research is dedicated to topics of governance, digitization of SMEs, (political) funding within the area of digitization, the influence of external goods of process optimization within the value chain of firms (especially SMEs) as well as in the area of quantitative methods. 

Dennis Lichtenstein, Dr. phil, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Political Communication and at the Chair of Communications in Global Context. Previously, he was doctoral and postdoctoral researcher at communication science chairs in Düsseldorf and Augsburg. As part of the DFG project „National Constructions of European Identity“ in Düsseldorf, he did his PhD with a thesis on identity constructions in key media of Eastern and Western European EU countries. He studied communication science at the universities of Salzburg, Augsburg and Vienna. His research interests concern topics of political communication, including questions about European Public Sphere and identity, the mediatization of crises and international conflicts, and political satire. Studying media coverage of the Ukrainian crisis, he works in cooperation with the Department of Journalism at the Russian North-Eastern Federal University Yakutsk.

Claire Perrot-Minot, M.A., is a project manager at the Center for Political Communication at Zeppelin University (Friedrichshafen, Germany). She is responsible for different projects including the interdisciplinary and transnational research- and transferproject „Digitale Agenda Bodensee“ within the research lab KMUdigital. Claire studied Public Management and Politics with a major in EU-regional policy at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Strasbourg (France). 

Prof Dr Michael Sharkow holds the Chair of Digital Communication and is the head of the Center for Political Communication at Zeppelin University.

Student workers

Frederic Denker, BA CME
Lara Heinz, BA PAIR
Malcolm Schmidt, BA CCM

Doctoral candidate

Christin Gärtner is a PhD candidate at Center for Political Communication at Zeppelin University (Friedrichshafen, Germany). She studied political science, english and East European history at the University of Göttingen (Germany). Following this she was a researcher at Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen on the topic of lobbying of trade unions. Christin's research is dedicated to compared political science and lobbying. Her thesis concers the strategies of German interest groups in EU in political fields like consumer protection, trade, migration, agriculture and energy.

Contact |

Former team member

Until September 2018 Alexander Ruser was temporary Professor for Sociology and Social Structure Analysis and the scientific head of the Center for Political Communication at Zeppelin University (Friedrichshafen, Germany). He holds a PhD in Sociology from the Max-Weber-Institute of Sociology at Heidelberg University and was a Dahrendorf Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, the London School of Economics and Political Sciences and most recently a visiting fellow at Punjab University, Chandigarh. His research focuses on the role of „science in society” and the impact of scientific expertise on climate and economic politics. Alexander has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Global Policy, Innovation, Current Sociology, The International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society and the Journal of Civil Society. Alexander is an active member of international research networks on „the social philosophy of science” (under the auspices of the Russian Academy of Science), „the use of numbers in political decision making and consulting” (under the auspices of the Heidelberg Academy of Science and the European Parliament) and the „role of think tanks in modern knowledge societies”.
Since October 2018 Alexander Ruser is Professor at Department of Sociology and Social Work at Agder University in Norway.

Until July 2018 Dr. Birte Fähnrich was a senior researcher at the Center for Political Communication at Zeppelin University (Friedrichshafen, Germany). Birte holds a PhD in Communication Science from Leipzig University (Germany).
She is the speaker of the Science Communication Section of the German Communication Association DGPuK and a member of the PCST committee. Birte was visiting professor for Organizational Communication at the University of Greifswald (Germany) as well as visiting researcher at the Royal Roads University (Canada, BC) and Lund University (Sweden). She is co-editor of two important German edited volumes on science communication (Forschungsfeld Wissenschaftskommunikation/the Field of Science Communication) and university communication (Forschungsfeld Hochschulkommunikation/the Field of University Communication) both published at Springer. Birte’s research is dedicated to strategic science communication, e.g. with regard to organizational crises, to science communication in political environments, e.g. in the field of science diplomacy, and more recently to alternative science communicators such as NGOs and their strategic use of science.
Since August 2018 Birte Fähnrich is a research coordinator at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

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