Photo: Gijs van Ouwerkerk
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Telephone: + 31 53 489 3897/ 3280
Email: Martin Rosema
Cubicus building, room: C-337
Martin Rosema is assistant professor of political science at the University of Twente. His main tasks are in education (80 per cent): he teaches several courses about political science, governance, democratic legitimacy, European politics and research methods in the bachelor and master programmes in Public Administration (including MS&T) and European Studies and the pre-master programme in Psychology. Furthermore, he teaches a university-wide minor about the governance of student organisations. In his research, Martin currently focuses on themes like digital democracy (especially decision support systems, such as voting advice applications), democratic innovations, and the use of modern technology (e.g. brainimaging, virtual reality) to study emotions, political attitudes and behavioural change. His past research focused primarly on elections and referendums, especially the psychology of voting. For more information about his current and past activities, please refer to his biography and research project pages below.
- Decision support systems (e.g. voting advice applications)
- Democratic innovation and citizen participation
- Digital democracy
- Elections and referendums
- Emotions and behavioural change
- Political psychology
In his research, Martin currently is involved in five projects. He is one of the initiators of the project Revitalized Democracy for Resilient Societies (REDRESS), which brings together scholars from four universities and a range of governmental and societal organisations that are interested in studying the design and effects of democratic innovations. Their main focus is on democratic instruments that combine elements of deliberation (like citizen assemblies) and elements of voting (like referendums). The project received funding from the Dutch Science Agenda from NWO and runs until 2026.
His other research projects include one that received funding from the Tech4People grant scheme of the University of Twente. In collaboration with the Donders Institute at Radboud University, a combination of survey research and brainimaging technology (EEG, fMRI) is used to analyse the role of political information and emotions in public opinion and political behaviour. Furthermore, in collaboration with colleagues from VU University he works on project that uses Virtual Reality (VR) to study the role of empathy in polarisation. Additionally, Martin currently also does research about decision support systems, in particular voting advice applications, and algorithmic governance.
In his past research, Martin specialised in elections and referendums, with a particular focus on the psychology of voting behaviour. More information about his work on these topics, including overviews of academic publications as well as articles aimed at the general public, can be found via the following links:
In the academic year 2021-2022, Martin's teaching comprises the below courses and activities. Most of these are embedded in the bachelor degree programme Management, Society and Technology (MS&T), while others are in the (pre-)master programmes in European Studies and Psychology. The minor 'Governance of Student Organisations' is open to students of all bachelor degree programmes.
- Comparative Governance and Politics (3 EC, bachelor MS&T year 2)
- Comparative Public Governance (5 EC, master European Studies)
- European Union Simulation (5 EC, bachelor MS&T year 2)
- Minor Governance of Student Organisations (15 EC, bachelor year 3)
- Qualitative Research (2 EC, bachelor MS&T year 1)
- Research Practical (5 EC, with Steven Watson and Marlise Westerhof, pre-master psychology)
- Workshop Statistical Design (2 EC, with Giedo Jansen, bachelor MS&T year 3)
- Internship coordination (with Rik Reussing, bachelor MS&T year 3)
- Bachelor thesis circle "The impact of technology on democracy"
- Bachelor thesis circle "Digital democracy in practice: Voting Advice Applications"
- Master thesis supervision
Martin Rosema was born in 1970 in Hengelo, only 6 km away from his current office on the campus of the University of Twente. But he took a bit of a detour to get there.
At the age of 12, he left the region of Twente and moved with his parents and sister to Maastricht. After completing high school, he shortly tasted the life of an accountant at KPMG and that of a sergeant in the army. The government at that moment abolished compulsory military service (an example of correlation, not causation, Martin wishes to emphasize). He learned how to fire bullets and grenades, as well as to drink beer. The latter proved more useful for his later life than the former.
When he noticed that neither position made him happy, Martin decided to go to university. He opted for the one most conveniently located between the three Dutch cities that hosted most of his favourite pop concerts and thus ended up at Leiden University. As subject he chose political science, simply because he found it very interesting. He specialised in empirical political science and did a minor in social psychology. Perhaps an interesting fact in light of his later career: his two lowest grades were for the courses on political psychology and research methods.
In those days students received a government allowance for five years at maximum and one week before this term ended he completed his master degree (an example of causation, Martin is willing to admit). The thesis was about psychological explanations of voting behaviour. He got the taste for doing research and, encouraged by his supervisors Galen Irwin and Joop van Holsteyn, soon after started a Ph.D. project on the same topic in Leiden. He interrupted this period to go to the University of Cambridge to follow a master programme in social and developmental psychology, in order to learn better how the mind works. He also learned how to cook a full English breakfast and how to punt a boat.
When his Ph.D. thesis was close to being finished, Martin applied in Twente for a four-year position as assistant professor of political science in Jacques Thomassen’s group. To his delight, they hired him and a few years later changed it into a permanent position. So almost 20 years after leaving the region as a kid at primary school, he returned to Twente as lecturer at university.
Since joining the University of Twente in 2001, Martin has developed and taught about 30 different courses at bachelor and master level covering a broad range of topics in the fields of political science, governance studies, and research methods. Students have nominated him multiple times for the best teacher award (but he, deservedly, always ended behind the same colleague). He spent short periods as guest lecturer at University College Utrecht (2006) and Radboud University (2019).
In his research, the topics of elections and referendums have been central, with a particular focus on the psychology of voting. He published on topics such as voter decision making, party attachments, voting advice applications, electoral turnout, strategic voting, and local and national referendums. Other recurring themes in his past research are political psychology and the quality of representation. His current research includes projects on digital democracy (especially decision support systems, like voting advice applications), democratic innovations, algorithmic governance, and the use of modern technology (brainimaging, virtual reality) to study emotions, political attitudes and behavioural change.
Martin has frequently been consulted by media, national and local governments, and various other organisations. Furthermore, he has held several board and editorial positions: he was co-editor of the academic journals Res Publica (2007-2010) and Political Psychology (2015-2018), co-director of the Dutch Parliamentary Election Study (2006), and member of the governing council of the International Society of Political Psychology (2008-2011) and the governing board of the Dutch Political Science Association (2009-2015). In his free time Martin enjoys listening to music (recorded and live) and visiting modern art museums.
- Web and newspaper articles (in Dutch)