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Dr. Marc van the Wardt is Associate Professor at the School of Business and Economics within the department 'Ethics, Governance and Society' of the Vrije Universiteit. His research focusses on electoral competition, the emergence of new parties and survival of parties, political careers and political psychology.


Very recently, Marc has been awarded a five-year Vidi research grant from the Dutch Research Council 'NWO' for his project entitled 'Survivor. Uncovering the selection process of political elites in Europe'. The goal of the project is to explore how personality traits are related to political ambition and ambition fulfilment at several crucial steps in a political career. How do citizens that aspire to run for a political office differ in terms of personality from those who do not? How do personality traits relate to local politicians' aspiration and success in running for a higher-level office? And how do personality traits affect the political survival of national MPs? And which personality traits are deemed desirable by citizens in different European countries? Jointly these questions will uncover whether the selection process produces politicians with the personality traits desired by voters. This project will rely on personality models like the HEXACO and Dark and Light Triad. These are well-equipped to also tap into virtue-related personality traits like honesty-humility, Machiavellianism and narcissism, and thus, into personality traits that are antecedents of (un)ethical behaviour.         

Previously, Marc was awarded two postdoctoral research grants from the Research Foundation Flanders ‘FWO’ and the Fund for Scientific Research Wallonia ‘FNRS’ to carry out his own research on the emergence of new parties and exit of existing parties. He carried out this research at Ghent University and the Université Libre de Bruxelles and was also affiliated to Tilburg University as an assistant professor. Besides his PhD in political science (obtained in 2014 at the University of Amsterdam), he has master’s degrees in Communication Science and Sociology.

Most of Marc’s work is interdisciplinary, as he applies insights from organizational theory (i.e., organizational ecology and homophily theory) and psychology (e.g., bounded rationality theory and personality psychology) to party competition, political parties and politicians.

His work has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, the European Journal of Political Research, European Union Politics, the Journal of Politics, Party Politics and West European Politics. His dissertation was nominated for best dissertation 2014 by Dutch and Flemish Political Science Association.


Marc has a diverse teaching background. He has taught numerous courses on comparative politics, research design and statistics, business administration and organizational behaviour and human resource management. The level of the courses ranged from BA to research master’s level, aimed at students from different disciplinary backgrounds, including political science, public administration, business administration and economics and data science. He taught Dutch as well as international classrooms.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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