Research - Working life

Barbara Gerstenberger is Head of the Working Life unit at Eurofound. In this role, she coordinates the research teams investigating job quality in Europe based on the European Working Conditions Survey and has overall responsibility for the European Observatory of Working Life and research into industrial relations in the EU. She joined Eurofound in 2001 as a research manager in the then newly established European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC). In 2007, she moved to Eurofound’s Information and Communication unit as Head of Communication Products, before being appointed Coordinator in the Directorate in 2011. Previously, she worked as senior research officer in the European Metalworkers’ Federation in Brussels. A graduate in political science from Hamburg University, she completed a Master's degree in Public Administration at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

David Foden is Adviser, Industrial Relations, attached to the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He is responsible for coordinating work on industrial relations across the organisation. He also manages the Network of Eurofound Correspondents, which contributes to all areas of research in Eurofound. He worked from 1979 to 1985 in the Economic Department of the Trades Union Congress in the UK. In 1985, he moved to the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels as research officer and then coordinator of the research unit on employment and labour market policies and social protection. He joined Eurofound in 2002. As research manager, he was responsible for developing the European Company Survey and was involved in managing the European Industrial Relations Observatory. He was Head of the Observatories unit until 2011, and from 2012 to 2016 was Head of the Working Conditions and Industrial Relations unit. He holds BA and MA degrees from Cambridge University, where he studied economics.

Agnès Parent-Thirion is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, tasked with the planning, development and implementation of working conditions research projects, in particular the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) and its analyses. She is responsible for the EWCS 2021 extraordinary edition and for the preparation of the questionnaire for the EWCS 2024. Her research interests include working conditions, job quality, the monitoring of working conditions, work organisation, gender, the future of work and time. She has been working in the area of European comparative surveys for more than a decade, in all aspects including design, questionnaire development, fieldwork, quality control and analysis. She is a graduate in economics and management from Paris IX Dauphine and Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne universities and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin. She has recently completed online courses on artificial intelligence: inquiry-driven leadership with MIT Sloan Executive Education and ‘Les grand enjeux de la transition: re-ouvrir l'horizon, comprendre pour agir’ with the Campus de la Transition. Before joining Eurofound, she worked for a number of years in the European Commission.

Christian Welz is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He manages projects and develops expertise and quality of research in the field of industrial relations (European Industrial Relations Dictionary and Index, European Social Dialogue, capacity building, working life country profiles). Prior to joining Eurofound, he was Deputy Director of a French-German training institute for civil servants, managed the EU unit of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Augsburg and was professor of EU law. He studied law and political sciences at the Universities of Bonn, Freiburg, Aix-en-Provence and Strasbourg and holds a PhD from the University of Nijmegen. He was appointed honorary professor at the University of Kehl and was visiting fellow at Massey University (Auckland, NZ). He is an Advisory Board Member of the European Journal of Industrial Relations, the European Labour Law Journal and the Global Employment Institute of the International Bar Association.

Christine Aumayr-Pintar is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. Her current research topics include minimum wages, collectively agreed wages and gender pay transparency. She also manages the EU PolicyWatch database. From the end of 2022, she will take up the coordination of Eurofound’s research on industrial relations and social dialogue, while also managing the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). Before joining Eurofound in 2009, she worked as a researcher in labour markets and regional economics at Joanneum Research, Austria. She studied economics in Graz, Vienna and Jönköping and holds a Master’s degree and a PhD in Economics.

Peter Kerckhofs is a research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound and is responsible for representativeness studies. His work involves developing in-depth knowledge on the specificities and the industrial landscape of sectors. He also works on industrial relations projects related to European Works Councils and European Sectoral Social Dialogue. Before Joining Eurofound, he worked as a researcher for ETUI and UCL, as a political secretary for EMCEF and was scientific coordinator of the PhD School of the social sciences faculty of KU Leuven. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Political Science from KUL and one in International Relations from UCL, and has a PhD in Industrial Relations from the University of Manchester. 

Jorge Cabrita is a research manager in the Working Life unit. He is responsible for formulating, coordinating and managing European-wide research, and promoting the dissemination of findings in the areas of working conditions and industrial relations. His main research areas of interest include working conditions and job quality, working time and work–life balance, workers’ health and well-being, gender equality and the socioeconomic impacts of the transition to a climate-neutral economy. He is currently leading research on working time developments and on social dialogue and collective bargaining during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Studies for Social Intervention and at the Research Centre on the Portuguese Economy of the Lisbon School of Economics, and as a trainer and consultant in the areas of strategic management, organisational communication, leadership and team building. He holds a BSc in Economics and an MSc in Socio-Organisational Systems of Economic Activity from the Lisbon School of Economics.

Tina Weber is a research manager sharing her time between the Employment and Working Life units at Eurofound since March 2019. Her research focuses on labour market change (including as a result of digitalisation), restructuring, industrial relations and working conditions. Her work mainly involves monitoring and assessing the impact of and policy approaches to the flexibilisation of the labour market and the impact of the increasing trend towards teleworking and associated issues of work–life balance as well as connection and disconnection. She was responsible for mapping and analysing measures to address the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, workers and citizens. Her research also focuses on addressing labour shortages in EU labour markets. Tina holds a PhD in Political Sciences from the University of Edinburgh.

Oscar Vargas Llave is a research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound and manages projects on changes in the world of work and the impact on working conditions and related policies: organisation of working time, remote work, the right to disconnect, health and well-being and ageing. Before joining Eurofound in December 2009, he worked as project coordinator in the field of health and safety and was responsible for the Professional Card Scheme for the Construction Sector in Spain at the non-profit Fundación Laboral de la Construcción in Madrid. He has a background in industrial sociology (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca), and also holds a Diploma in Social Science Research Methods from the University of Cardiff and a Master’s degree in Health and Safety from the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Ricardo Rodriguez Contreras is a research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound and focuses on comparative industrial relations, social dialogue and collective bargaining. He is also involved in research on restructuring and the implications of technology and digital change in employment relations. Prior to joining Eurofound in 2014, he worked as a consultant for the European Commission and the European Parliament conducting studies at EU level assessing the implementation of social legislation throughout the EU, the EEA and the candidate countries. For years, he performed training activities for multinational companies and European Works Councils in the area of comparative industrial relations and labour legislation in the EU. He has also worked for the Inter-American Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration in some countries of Latin America. He holds a BSc in Law from the Complutense University in Madrid.

Franz Eiffe is a research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He is involved in projects on sustainable work, quantitative analyses and upward convergence in the EU, as well as in the preparation of the fourth European Company Survey. Before joining Eurofound in 2016, he was Head of Unit ‘Analysis’ at Statistics Austria in Vienna and project leader of ‘How is Austria? Measuring wealth and progress beyond GDP’. He holds a PhD in Economics from Vienna University of Economics (WU), where he also worked as research associate from 2005 to 2009 and lecturer until 2016.

Eleonora Peruffo is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She works with the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) team and on projects related to the future of work, providing data analysis and data visualisations. She holds an MA in Diplomatic Sciences and International Relations awarded by the University of Trieste and an MSc in Computer Science - Data Analytics from the National College of Ireland. She joined Eurofound in 2014 and she has also worked on topics related to restructuring, employment and upward convergence.

Viginta Ivaškaitė-Tamošiūnė is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. Before joining Eurofound in 2022, she worked as an economic analyst at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and carried out cross-country research to support fiscal policy development in the EU. She also worked as a researcher at the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the Lithuanian Social Research Centre and as a lecturer at Vilnius University. Her main research interests include income inequality, poverty, gender equality, as well as fiscal and social policy. Viginta holds an MA in Social Policy and a PhD in Social Sciences (Sociology) from Vilnius University. She was a visiting researcher at the University of Antwerp, Stockholm University and the University of Essex.

Jakub Kostolný is a research support officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He is responsible for data management, quality control and analysis in several work-related databases. Prior to joining Eurofound in 2021, he worked as a data manager and researcher at the Central European Labour Studies Institute in Bratislava, focusing on topics of labour market vulnerability and industrial relations. Jakub holds an MA in Political Science with a specialisation in research methods from Central European University.

Maria del Mar Cantero is a research support officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She is involved in quality control and analysis of Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch database and in topics related to minimum wages and national reporting on industrial relations, social dialogue and working life. Maria del Mar previously worked as a statistician and market analyst at the International Trade Centre in Geneva, identifying export opportunities in collaboration with international organisations and national government institutions. She holds a Master's degree in Empirical and Theoretical Economics from the Paris School of Economics.

Victoria Cojocariu is a research support officer for the representativeness studies in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She is responsible for the management of the research input from Eurofound's national correspondents, quality control, as well as contributing to drafting overview reports for sectoral representativeness studies and data building for the European Social Partner Database. Prior to joining Eurofound in 2019, Victoria worked as a programme coordinator for the Open Society Foundation Romania and as a researcher for the Centre for Public Innovation in Bucharest, contributing to national and international research projects in the field of migration, education, access to the labour market of third-country nationals, as well as human rights. She holds BA and MA degrees in Sociology.

Sophia MacGoris is surveys officer based in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She works on all three of Eurofound's surveys. Having been involved in cross-national surveys for many years, she uses her experience and her transversal role to ensure a continuity of learning and quality assurance to the highest level during the entire survey process. Prior to joining Eurofound in 1996, she worked for several years in the European Commission in Brussels in the area of science, research and development. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Social Science specialising in Social Policy.

Manuel Gómez Martín is an administrative assistant in the Working Life unit. He is mainly involved in the industrial relations area, and specifically organises procurement and meetings within related projects. He has previously worked for DG JRC in the European Commission and for private companies in London and Spain.


Victoria Rahm is an administrative assistant in the Working Life unit. She is mainly involved in the administration of the Network of Eurofound Correspondents (NEC). She has previously worked for a management consultancy company in Dublin and the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen.



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