Research - Working life

Barbara Gerstenberger is Head of the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She coordinates the research teams investigating job quality in Europe based on the European Working Conditions Survey, running the European Observatory of Working Life, and researching industrial relations in the EU. She joined Eurofound in 2001 as a research manager in the European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC). In 2007, she moved to the 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 (1993–2001) and was seconded to work in the European Commission’s DG EMPL for a year in 1999–2000. 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 2012–2016 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. Her research interests include working conditions, job quality, 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 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne universities. She holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin and has recently completed a certificate on Artificial intelligence: Implications for business strategy with MIT Sloan Executive Education. 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.

Isabella Biletta is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, responsible for several research projects addressing both industrial relations and working conditions trends and developments in Europe. Her main research areas are undeclared work, atypical and fraudulent forms of work, flexicurity, developments in social partner organisations, working conditions and industrial relations in central public administration. She participates in various analyses of the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) data, analysing for example gender and employment security issues. A graduate in international private and public law, she was previously a lecturer at the law department of Nanterre University (Paris X). Also a graduate of the French National School of Administration and a former French civil servant, she has extensive experience in labour and employment policies and gender issues.

Christine Aumayr-Pintar is a senior research manager in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. She works in various fields of industrial relations and working conditions, focusing in particular on minimum wages, pay setting, gender pay transparency, industrial action, social dialogue and working life-related regulations. She also manages Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch database, in cooperation with the Network of Eurofound Correspondents. Before joining Eurofound in 2009, Christine worked as a researcher in labour markets and regional economics at Joanneum Research, Austria. She studied 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. He is currently building a European Social Partner Database and developing representativeness studies into a tool for capacity building. 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, and gender equality. He is currently leading research on the socioeconomic impacts of the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. Previously, he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Studies for Social Intervention and the Research Centre About the Portuguese Economy of the Lisbon School of Economics, in Portugal, and as a trainer and consultant in the areas of strategic management, organisational communication and team building. He holds a BSc in Economics and a 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, restructuring 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 is also involved in the mapping and analysis of measures to address the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, workers and citizens. 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 working conditions and related policies. He specialises in topics related to the organisation of working time, health and well-being, and ageing issues. He is also interested in social and occupational inequalities. Current activities include research related to digitalisation and working conditions. 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 officer 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.

Mathijn Wilkens is a research officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. He is mostly responsible for statistical analysis on the European Working Conditions Survey. After graduating in Economics and Social Sciences from Utrecht University in 2009, he has worked as a researcher in labour and social policy issues at Ecorys in the Netherlands. He joined the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in 2012 to do research on income distributions and income taxation. After three years, he moved to the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment before joining Eurofound in 2015.

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 national correspondents, quality control, as well as contributing to drafting overview reports for sectoral representativeness studies. Prior to joining Eurofound in 2019, Victoria worked as a programme coordinator for the Open Society Foundation and as a researcher for the Centre for Public Innovation in Bucharest, working in 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.

Catherine Cerf works as research support officer in the Working Life unit at Eurofound. Her activities are mostly focused around projects for the observatory EurWORK. As part of this role, she contributes to topical updates, the annual review on working life, the industrial action monitor and the European Industrial Relations Dictionary. She also manages the quarterly country updates. Prior to joining Eurofound in 1990, she worked in the private and public sectors in France. She has worked in several departments within Eurofound over the years. Besides her administrative qualifications, she later trained in editing, holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Forensic Psychology. 

Sophia MacGoris is survey officer based in the Working Life unit at Eurofound, although 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. She also acts as a facilitator for the Foundation Seminar Series. 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 area of working conditions and sustainable work, and specifically organises procurement and meetings within related projects. She has previously worked for a management consultancy company in Dublin and the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen.



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