The Core Team

The University of Manchester is the Host Institution for the project and the DiCED core team combine expertise in the fields of Political Science, Political Communication, Survey and Social Media Data Collection, Management and Analysis, and Research Software Engineering.

Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson joined the University of Manchester as Professor of Politics in the Institute for Social Change December 2007. In 2016 she was appointed as Director of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research.

She had previously served as Professor of New Media Studies at the University of Leicester and a lecturer in politics at the University of Salford. She completed her PhD thesis on the rise of anti-immigrant parties in Western Europe in the late 20th century at Texas A&M University in the US. She has held visiting fellowships at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), the Australian National University (ANU), and the Autonomous University in Barcelona (AUB).

Rachel has led several projects examining the impact of the Internet on political parties, campaigns and voters funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC). She has been a PI/Co-I on the Australian Election Study since 2001 and the Australian Candidate Study.

She developed and managed the internet component of the 2015 British Election Study (iBES) which merged survey responses with social media tracking data. She was co-editor of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (2011-16) and is a member of editorial boards of Political Studies, the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, Information Polity and the Australian Journal of Political Science.

She is a member of the Peer Review College of the ESRC and regularly reviews for the leading journals in the field and major national and international funding bodies.

Esmeralda Bon

Esmeralda Bon is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester, based in the Cathie Marsh Institute. She works for the project ‘Digital Campaigning and Electoral Democracy’ (DiCED), a new comparative project for the study of the drivers and effects of digital campaigning in 5 countries and 7 national elections during the period 2020-2023. She has recently obtained her PhD at the University of Nottingham, School of Politics and International Relations. Her PhD thesis focused on UK MP communication during the EU referendum, addressing the relationship between representation and the dynamics, frequency, and content of their political communication.

Marta Cantijoch

Marta Cantijoch is a Lecturer in Politics at The University of Manchester since 2014. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2013). Marta has developed an extensive portfolio of research in the fields of political participation, political communication, elections and voting, and the effects of digital media. She is particularly interested in understanding how citizens use the internet to engage in politics and develop their citizenship skills. Her most recent research project was a collaboration with the BBC in a study of political knowledge acquisition and online media consumption habits among people from different social backgrounds. Her work has been published in top tier journals, including The Journal of Politics, Political Communication and The British Journal of Politics and International Relations. She is also the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behaviour and Public Opinion (2018).

Jahandar Musayev

Jahandar Musayev is a DiCED Software Engineer. Graduated as a Computer Systems Engineer from the University of Manchester in 2018, he works as a Senior Software Engineer at

Peter Smyth

Peter Smyth is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester, based in the Cathie Marsh Institute. He has spent 35 years working in IT at various large and small commercial organisations before taking an MSc in Big Data Analytics at Sheffield Hallam University and moving into academia. In his previous roles he used any convenient programming environment to hand to solve problems. Now he teaches a variety of programming languages to help others to do the same.

He is a qualified Data and Software Carpentry instructor.

Niamh Cashell

Niamh Cashell is a PhD candidate at the University of Manchester affiliated to the DiCED project. She previously studied for a BA in Social Sciences at Manchester where she was awarded the McKenzie Prize for the most originality and creativity in a piece of independent research. This was for her dissertation comparing interactivity between MPs and the public on Facebook and Twitter. She was then awarded a scholarship to study an MSc in Political Communication at the University of Glasgow.

Niamh’s research will focus on the role of the visual in the spread of misinformation on social media. Her research will explore methodologies for analysing the visual by looking at the production, consumption and reproduction of images online.


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Filip Biały

Filip Biały is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester. He is also an Assistant Professor at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, and a lecturer at the European New School of Digital Studies. He holds a PhD in political science and a postgraduate diploma in Big Data and data processing. His research focuses on the ethical and political implications of digitalisation processes, including the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence. He was a visiting fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science and in the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge and currently is a fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin.


Country and Methods Experts

DiCED brings together an international network of experienced scholars with a range of specialist skills and country level knowledge about the impact of digital technologies in our cases for analysis.

Kate Dommett

Katharine Dommett is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield.

Her research focuses on digital campaigning and the role of technology in democracies.

She is currently serving as Special Advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies and has recently been awarded the Political Studies Association’s Richard Rose Prize for an early-career scholar who has made a distinctive contribution to British politics. In 2020 she published her book, The Reimagined Party and is the author of over 30 academic journal articles.

Fabienne Greffet

Fabienne Greffet is a senior lecturer in political science at ISAM-IAE (Nancy), a researcher at IRENEE (Nancy) and Pacte (CNRS, Grenoble).

Her current research focuses on online election campaigns, political participation and digital activism. Fabienne Greffet’s research fields are generally European, with a particular interest in France and the United Kingdom. She is also interested in Quebec and Canadian cases.

For her research, Fabienne Greffet was successively a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Montreal (2003), a visiting scholar at the University of Salford (2008) and then in the Media Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science (2008-2009); and she received a grant from the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship in Quebec in 2010.

She has participated in several comparative projects, including the Franco-Quebec project, in which she was the co-lead. Fabienne co-founded the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) research group “Internet and Politics” in 2009, which she continues to lead. She has also been a member of the LED-CNRS network since 2005 and of the scientific committee of the journal Networks  since 2014.

Karolina Koc-Michalska

Karolina Koc-Michalska is a Professor at the Department of Communication & Culture at Audencia Business School (France) and Associate Researcher at Sciences-Po Paris.

She manages a large comparative studies in the UK, US and France concentrating on societal changes in the digitally advanced societies. She also ran longitudinal multi-panel studies in France (2009-2017). Prof Koc-Michalska runs comparative research projects in three languages: English, French and Polish. Her research concentrates on political participation, digital inequalities, and mobilization effects. She is involved in a study on political communication in 28 EU countries during the European Parliament elections (2009-2014-2019).

She is working on a large set of trace data from Facebook concentrating on communicational populism employed by political parties. She has published her research in peer-reviewed journal and edited several special issues dedicated to political engagement and communication (New Media and Society, Political Communication, Social Science Computer Review and Journal of Information Technology and Politics).

Jonathan Nagler

Jonathan Nagler is Professor of Politics and affiliated faculty at the Center of Data Science at New York University. He is a co-Director of the NYU Center for Social Media and Politics.

Nagler is a past president of the Society for Political Methodology, as well as an Inaugural Fellow of the Society for Political Methodology.  Professor Nagler’s research focuses on voting and elections, and the role of social media, as well as traditional media,  in politics.  He has been at the forefront of computational social science for many years, and pioneered innovative methods for analysis of discrete choice problems.  

His work has been published in the American Political Science ReviewAmerican Journal of Political ScienceScience AdvancesPolitical Analysis and other refereed journals.  Nagler has produced recent papers on the nature of online ideological media  consumption of individuals, the amount of hate speech on Twitter,  the impact of exposure to online information on knowledge of politics and political attitudes, and the impact of media coverage of the economy on economic perceptions.   Several of these papers have combined survey data with social media consumption in novel ways. 

Nagler has been a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute, a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and has taught at Harvard, Caltech,  and the ICPSR and Essex Summer Programs in Political Methodology. 

He is  a co-author of Who Votes Now? (Princeton University Press, 2014). 

Profile page: NYU Arts & Science
Twitter: @Jonathan_Nagler

Andrea Roemmele

Andrea Römmele is Dean of Executive Education and Professor of Communication in Politics and Civil Society at the Hertie School.

Her research interests are comparative political communications, political parties and public affairs. She was Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Modern German Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2012/13 and has been a visiting fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, and the Australian National University in Canberra. Römmele is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Political Consulting and Policy Advice and also works as a consultant to political and corporate campaigns.

She obtained her master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a PhD from Heidelberg University and a habilitation from the Free University of Berlin.


Data Collection Partners

In addition to the University of Manchester, the two main partner organisations to DiCED are YouGov and Who Targets Me. Both are innovators and specialists in the collection and linkage of survey and social media data.


YouGov is an international research data and analytics group.

Their data-led offering supports and improves a wide spectrum of marketing activities of a customer base including media owners, brands and media agencies. They work with some of the world’s most recognised brands.

YouGov’s ground-breaking syndicated data solutions include the daily brand perception tracker, YouGov BrandIndex, and the media planning and segmentation tool, YouGov Profiles. Our market-leading YouGov Realtime service provides a fast and cost-effective solution for reaching nationally representative and specialist samples. YouGov’s Custom Research division offers a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research, tailored by sector specialist teams to meet clients’ specific requirements.

As the pioneer of online market research, YouGov have a strong record for data accuracy and innovation. A study by the Pew Research Center concluded that YouGov “consistently outperforms competitors on accuracy” as a vendor of choice. They are the market research pioneer of Multi-level Regression with Post-stratification (“MRP”) for accurate predictions at a granular level.

YouGov data is regularly referenced by the press worldwide and we are the most quoted market research source in the UK.

With a proprietary panel of over 11 million registered members globally and operations in the UK, Americas, Mainland Europe, Middle East, India and Asia Pacific, YouGov has one of the world’s largest research networks.

Who Targets Me

Who Targets Me are a small group of activists creating and managing a crowdsourced global database of political adverts placed on social media.  

They were founded by Sam Jeffers and Louis Knight Webb in 2017 during the UK elections to monitor the use of online political ads in real time and provide analysis of their intended impact. The Who Targets Me plug-in has now been installed by over 30,000 users worldwide in more than 100 countries and 20 languages. 

Since 2017 they have worked on over 10 elections worldwide including in Europe, the Middle East, North and South America. They are grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, Open Society Foundations Information Programme and Democracy Fund for their support and also to Oxford and Sheffield Universities, Buzzfeed Germany and InternetLab in Brazil. They are always keen to hear about partnerships and funding opportunities.


Research Affiliates

DiCED is building a network of collaborating scholars that have shared interests and expertise to address our research questions and elections.

Andrew Barclay

Andrew Barclay is a Research Associate at the University of Sheffield, where he researches data-driven election campaigns across Europe. He holds a Ph.D. in politics from the University of Manchester. His research addresses political behaviour, and looks particularly at the factors that promote and inhibit engagement in elections. His published work has centred upon political communication and the electoral behaviour of ethnic and religious minority groups. 

Philipp Darius

Philipp Darius is a Ph.D. candidate at Hertie School in Berlin, affiliated to the Centre for Digital Governance at Hertie School, affiliated researcher to the DiCED project and until June 2021, a guest researcher at GESIS EUROLAB (Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences).

Philipp’s dissertation research explores the intersections of technology, politics, and the media by investigating digital political campaigning, socio-political polarization, and social platform regulation. Following an interdisciplinary empirical approach, he applies computational and statistical methods to collect and analyse digital trace data from social networking sites and survey data. Moreover, Philipp works as a consultant and trainer, for instance, in a project countering political polarization with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.


Thomas Flavel

Thomas Flavel is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester, based in the Cathie Marsh Institute. He has recently obtained his DPhil in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences from the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. His DPhil thesis explored the social communications of cosmopolitan Chinese youth – how digital mediation and physical co-presence shape interfaces between global and local cultures and communities among such groups, resulting in highly divergent patterns of social organisation and political worldviews.

Liam McLoughlin

Liam McLoughlin is a lecturer in Communication & Media at the University of Liverpool.

Liam’s research seeks to understand how social media platforms have changed the way we conduct politics online, particularly looking at communication between elites and citizens and political discussion online. This includes work which addresses content moderation; the abuse of politicians & journalists online; the role of platforms within elections; and new communicative forms within politics (such as memes).

He is also a committee member for the Technology, Internet, & Policy Group at the PSA and a member of DigiPol at the University of Liverpool.


Rosalynd Southern

Rosalynd Southern is a Senior Lecturer in Political Communication at the University of Liverpool. Her work focuses on how digital and social media are used for political communication by politicians, parties and ordinary citizens. She has published work on the use of social media by parties and / or candidates at the last four UK general elections and the Brexit referendum. 

More recently her work has focused on uncivil and intolerant online speech – particularly that directed at women politicians. She has also published on ‘new’ forms of political communication, particularly via visual and alternative forms such as memetic content and online satire. Her work has been funded by the British Academy and Research England and published in Electoral Studies, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, and Social Science Computer Review, among others.