Short CV/Education and training

  • Since 2017
    Heisenberg Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) for research in the Department of Education Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

  • 2011 – 2017
    Assistant professor (Juniorprofessorin), researching school systems, in the Department of Education Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin

  • 2010 – 2010
    T.H. Marshall Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences within the framework of the "T.H. Marshall Fellowship Programme on European Social Policy" of the Volkswagen Foundation

  • 2010 – 2010
    Fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Centre for European Studies (CES), Harvard University, within the framework of the exchange programme sponsored by the CES and the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB)

  • 2007 – 2011
    Head of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) young investigator group "Education and Transitions into the Labour Market" at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB)

  • 2006 – 2007
    Assistant to the research manager at the Institute of Labour Market and Career Research, Nuremberg, Germany (Prof. Jutta Allmendinger, Ph.D.)

  • 2006
    Doctor of political science (Dr. rer. pol.) from Heidelberg University, Germany (examiner: Prof. Dr. Manfred G. Schmidt, co-examiner: Prof. Dr. Uwe Wagschal)

  • 2004 – 2006
    Research associate on the German Research Foundation (DFG) project "Education expenditures in cross-national comparison" with Prof. Dr. Manfred G. Schmidt at Heidelberg University

  • 2004 – 2005
    Acting research associate (temporary replacement for Dr. Reimut Zohlnhöfer) in the research group of Prof. Dr. Manfred G. Schmidt at Heidelberg University

  • 2004
    M.A. (political science/mediaeval and modern history), Heidelberg University

  • 1998 – 2004
    Studied political science and mediaeval and modern history, Heidelberg University

Selected publications

  • Koinzer, Thomas/Nikolai, Rita/Waldow, Florian (eds) (2017): Private Schools and School Choice in Compulsory Education. Global Change and National Challenges. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

  • West, Anne/Nikolai, Rita (2017): The expansion of ‘private’ schools in England (academies/free schools), Sweden (friskolor) and Germany (Freie Schulen): A comparative perspective on policy development and the role of ideas in institutional change, in: Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice (Online access 17.01.2017).

  • Nikolai, Rita/Briken, Kendra/Niemann, Dennis (2017): Teacher Unions in Germany: Fragmented Competitors, in: Moe, Terry M./Wiborg, Susanne (eds.): The Comparative Politics of Education: Teachers Unions and Education Systems around the World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 114-142.

  • West, Anne/Nikolai, Rita (2013): Welfare regimes and education regimes: Equality of opportunity and expenditure in the EU (and US), in: Journal of Social Policy 42 (3), 469-493.

  • Nikolai, Rita/West, Anne (2013): School type and educational inequalities, in: Brooks, Rachel/Bhopal, Kalwant/McCormack, Mark (eds.): Contemporary Debates in the Sociology of Education, Houndmills, Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 57-75.



Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Private School Development in the Liberal Welfare States (England, Australia and New Zealand)

  • Private Schools in Germany, Austria, Switzerland

  • School Politics and Educational Inequality

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