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Department of Political Science

URPP Equality of Opportunity

URPP Equality of Opportunity

About the URPP Equality of Opportunity

The new University Research Priority Program (URPP) Equality of Opportunity is one of five URPPs launched in 2021. The Department of Political Science participates in the URPP in various ways: with the project “Politics of Inequality and Social Change” in module 2, with a new Assistant Professorship to start in fall 2022, with a seminar series every fall, by contributing to the transversal working group on Interdisciplinary measurement and data, and with the “Inequality Research Fund” to support smaller projects in the field of inequality research.

The URPP Equality of Opportunity studies the economic and social changes that lead to inequality in society and the public policies that foster greater equality of opportunity. For that purpose, the URPP connects researchers from three faculties of the University of Zurich who represent the five academic disciplines of economics, law, political science, history, and philosophy. We leverage our combined academic expertise to conduct research in three interdisciplinary research modules that study distinct dimensions of equality and inequality: Economic Change, Social Change and Public Policy.

Learn more on the website of the URPP Equality of Opportunity

Politics of Inequality and Social Change

The research project Politics of Inequality and Social Change within the URPP's second module on Social Change is led by Prof. Tarik Abou-Chadi, Prof. Silja Häusermann and Prof. Stefanie Walter at the Department of Political Science. It wants to investigate how objective economic and social inequalities are translated into political preferences and political behavior. In order to do so, it is necessary to study the dynamics of perceived inequalities and opportunities that form the crucial link between structures and behavior.

The mechanisms translating structural inequalities into perceptions of social inequality, their main categories and reference points as well as the actors involved in these developments so far have been understudied in social science research. Social ties, group identities and the behavior of elite actors play a crucial role in forming perceptions of inequalities and linking them to political preferences and behavior.

Inequality Research Fund

Description of Fund

The Inequality Research Fund financially supports research on the politics of inequality.

Individuals at the doctoral, post-doctoral and professorial level are eligible for applying. Both individual and group applications are possible. In case of group projects, all group members can be co-PIs, but one individual should be the contact person on behalf of the group. Please note that at least one member of the group must be a member of UZH’s Department of Political Science.

The fund aims to financially support political science research initiatives that span max. 18 months. The upper limit for single project funding is CHF 12’000. The costs that can be covered by the fund can pertain to: data collection/fieldwork, costs connected to scientific collaboration, or salaries for research assistance, etc.

The funding can be used for new projects, as seed money to prepare grant applications, or to extend existing projects. It needs to result in identifiable deliverables within the timeframe specified in the application (ideally working papers and eventually publications), which have to be credited to the UFSP funding.

All individuals who successfully apply for funding agree to the following terms and duties:

  • Implementation of the research activities within the proposed timeframe
  • Acknowledgment of “support by the UZH Research Priority Program ‘Equality of Opportunity’” in all deliverables
  • Compliance with the ethical and data protection guidelines by the University of Zurich and UZH's Faculty of Social Sciences


Applications are accepted by July 1 and December 1. Please submit the following application documents in English

  • Research Plan (max 3 pages, formatting: min. 1.5 spacing, 12pts) stating the research questions, expected contribution, methods, and expected output
  • Breakdown of expected costs
  • Timeline for the implementation of the project
  • CV with a publication list of all participating applicants

Only complete applications will be considered.

We encourage all eligible individuals to apply. If you have questions, Profs. Silja Häusermann, Thomas Kurer or Stefanie Walter are happy to provide input and answer questions.

The December 2022-call was the last call for projects.

Assessment Criteria

In assessing applications, the committee - consisting of Profs. Silja Häusermann, Thomas Kurer and Stefanie Walter - will consider the following criteria:

  • Quality, promise and topical fit of the project with the URPP Equality of Opportunity
  • Scientific qualifications of applicant(s)
  • Collaborative projects are not a condition, but encouraged
  • For collaborative projects, mixed-gender or all-female teams of applicants are encouraged

The committee also takes into account relevant parts of IPZ and UZH's Diversity Policy in its assessment of applications. Over the entire duration of the Fund (prospectively 2021-2023), we intend to support at least 50% female applicants. In awarding the limited funding to projects, the committee will aim for a broad range of grantees. Therefore not yet having received funding from the Fund will be an asset for the evaluation. Also, applications asking for less than the maximum amount of funding may have higher chances of being funded.


After the submission of a complete application, the assessment committee will communicate decisions within 6 weeks from the application deadline. During this period, the committee might reach out to clarify questions regarding the application.

Negative decisions cannot be contested, but an application can be re-submitted.


October 10 | 5pm - Torben Iversen
Aspirations and Fears in the Transition to the Knowledge Economy: Substitutes or Complements?
On Zoom

October 24 | 5pm - Isabel Martinez
Intergenerational Mobility in Multiple Dimensions
On Zoom

November 7 | 5pm - Andrew McNeil
Social Mobility and Anti-System Support
On Zoom

November 21 | 5pm - Tabea Palmtag
The Long Shadow of Economic Opportunity
On Zoom

Participants at IPZ


Prof. Silja Häusermann
Phone: +41 44 634 40 13

URPP Equality of Opportunity
Schönberggasse 1, 8001 Zürich
Phone: +41 44 634 55 77