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In 2024, LIVES hosts eleven researchers on an academic visit

©Loyloy Thal

This grant is aimed at foreign researchers who wish to visit the LIVES Centre in Lausanne or Geneva for a period of at least two months and covers travel and/or accommodation expenses. Eleven researchers will visit us in 2024.

The LIVES Centre offers three types of grants to support innovation in life course research: the "Seed money", the "Young scholar grant" and the "Visitor grant". These funds are addressed to the members of the LIVES Centre as well as to the extended network of researchers studying the life course and vulnerability. 


  • Riccardo Valente

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Sociology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Centre for Demographic Studies, Dr Valente’s research spans a range of different topics, all of which are anchored in a conceptual and empirical framework enabling the analysis of processes of social disorganization, and their implications for public health, mental health, and residential choices. He is currently involved in the ERC-funded LIFELONGMOVE project, which analyses the significance of spatial mobility in childhood for social outcomes later in life.

Riccardo Valente
  • Ying Shen

Ying Shen is a PhD candidate in Social Gerontology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, under the supervision of Prof. Theo van Tilburg and Dr. Mariska van der Horst. Her research is embedded in the Social Context of Ageing (SoCA) research program at the Department of Sociology and the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Her focus lies in intergenerational care for older adults, particularly against the backdrop of decreased family size in various social contexts. Her PhD project explores the translation of intergenerational care potential, utilizing a mix of quantitative and qualitative methodologies across both Chinese and Dutch contexts.

Ying Shen
  • Elisa Thevenot

Elisa Thevenot has conducted her PhD at the University of Tübingen with the DFG graduate program ‘Doing Transitions’. The research group has developed new perspectives about how life course transitions are done in practice. Her PhD specifically, focused on how professional transitions are being done in the context of the ecological transition. Her research interest includes sociologies of work and sustainability, adult education, practice theory and qualitative methodologies. During her stay in Geneva (Sep.-Oct. 2024), she will explore LIVES’ notion of vulnerability to further develop her research on life courses in the context of the ecological transition. 

  • Min Zhu

Min Zhu is currently enrolled as a PhD student in Demography at the Centre for Demographic Studies (CED), Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. Her doctoral research focuses on gender inequality within the context of internal migration in China, utilizing longitudinal data. The research aims to study the influence of family dynamics, education and urban-rural divides on migration behaviours and associated outcomes in the labour market and housework division after migration.

Min Zhu
  • Frederike Esche

Frederike Esche is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hamburg. She received her PhD in Sociology from Humboldt University in Berlin, examining the effects of unemployment on couples' subjective well-being and partnership stability. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of social inequality. In particular, she is interested in how the household context affects social inequality throughout the life course, how social inequality impacts individuals’ subjective well-being, and how individuals respond to social inequality and its emotional consequences.

  • Mar Cañizares Espadafor

Mar C. Espadafor is a postdoctoral researcher at the Sociology II Department in UNED (Madrid) and an INVEST fellow at the University of Turku (Finland). She has recently joined the MapIneq project, a Horizon Europe project aiming at investigating how causes of inequality differ across local, regional, and national levels, and lifetime and cohorts. Her previous appointments include positions as a visiting scholar in the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) in the fall of 2021 and in the INVEST Flagship centre at the University of Turku (Finland) in the fall of 2022. 

She obtained a PhD in Sociology from the European University Institute (Italy) in 2023 with a thesis on “Selection or Moderation? Three essays on education inequalities”. Her main research interests are in the areas of social stratification, sociology of education and social demography. From a substantive point of view, she is broadly interested in inequalities: how these are transmitted through generations or different institutional configurations. In her research, she uses quantitative methods and causal inference designs.

  • Astrid Favella

Astrid Favella is a third year PhD candidate at Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology, supervised by Prof. Lucisano with a thesis on the politics of education policy-making in the Italian secondary school system (1996-2024). Experienced in EU policy evaluation, her research lies at the intersection of political science and education, after specializing with an MSc in Political Economy of Europe at LSE, and with an MSc in Education (Higher Education) at the University of Oxford. In Lausanne, she works on educational badges, developed in Rome by Prof. du Mérac, as forms of micro-credentials.

Astrid Favella
  • Stefanie Sprong

Stefanie Sprong is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science of Utrecht University and and the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER). Her research covers a variety of topics related to social inequality, migration and integration, and education. She is involved in the EqualStrength project which investigates cumulative and structural forms of discrimination, outgroup prejudice and hate crimes against ethnic, racial and religious minorities. As part of this project, she co-coordinates a set of linked field experiments within the domains of employment, housing, and access to childcare in all nine EqualStrength countries (including Switzerland).

Stefanie Sprong
  • Bianca Suanet

Bianca Suanet, currently associate professor in Sociology and head of the Social Functioning Group in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (as of January 2023), is dedicated to researching and preventing loneliness and social isolation throughout the life course. Her focus includes understanding the influence of community, societal factors, and the bidirectional effects on health. Integrating theories from diverse disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, and health sciences, Suanet has contributed to esteemed journals like the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Journal of Marriage and Family, Psychology & Aging, and Ageing & Society. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Women and Ageing and has received a NWO VENI grant as the principal investigator, in addition to contributing to an NWA grant as a co-applicant.

Bianca Suanet
  • Chiara Comolli

Chiara Ludovica Comolli is Assistant Professor of Demography at the Statistical Sciences Department of the University of Bologna. Her research focuses on fertility behaviour in developed countries, on how childbearing decisions relates to uncertainty and more broadly on family dynamics and inequality. Other research interests cover gender and socioeconomic inequalities in ageing, health and wellbeing over the life course. Her work has been published in European Sociological Review, European Journal of Population, Demographic Research, Advances in Life Course Research and the IZA Journal of Labor Economics. Since April 2021, Chiara is Associate Editor at Demographic Research.

Chiara Comolli
  • Marta Veljkovic

Marta Veljkovic is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in sociology at the Employment and Labour Research Centre (CEET-CNAM) in Paris. She is also affiliated to the Centre for Research on Social Inequalities (CRIS) at Sciences Po and to the French Institute for Demographic Studies (Ined), where she defended her PhD thesis in sociology in December 2022. Her research focuses on social stratification, mainly analyzed through the prism of intragenerational mobility and its temporal evolution. More specifically, she is interested in the frequency and trajectories of social mobility over the life course, the gendered dynamics of career processes and how they relate to wage inequalities.

Marta Veljkovic