"An easy desicion"
Maria Brandén, director IAS. Photo credit Mikael Sönne
In practice, Maria Brandén took over as director and head of division after Peter Hedström last autumn, so that he could devote his final year before retiring to his own research and writing a book. However, she was not formally appointed until 1 January.
“How will this affect my career as a researcher?” This was the first question Maria Brandén asked herself when she received an enquiry about taking over. Not only was she enjoying her work as researcher and leadership for several large projects, she was also involved in teaching and director of studies for research education. All that took up a lot of her time.
“I plan on continuing with research and education. And my colleague Sarah Valdez takes on the role of director of studies”, says Senior Lecturer Maria Brandén, who soon realised that she would reply positively to the enquiry.
“Rather quickly I realized both that I would find it very fun and that I would be able to do a good job. I have been at IAS since the beginning in 2014 ant think that it's a very dynamic and excellent workplace with many talented and committed co-workers. So, in the end it was an easy decision to make.”
Doctorate in Stockholm
Maria Brandén was awarded a doctorate from Stockholm University in 2014 for a thesis that examined the inequality in decisions taken by couples to move residence. Her research interests lie in various types of segregation – which is a principal research area at IAS – and how segregation affects people’s lives. In the autumn of 2019, she was awarded SEK 13 million for an interdisciplinary research project in machine learning and social inequality.
As leader of IAS, she will have the job of, to put it simply, making sure everything “continues to work well”. Researchers at the institute are highly successful in securing research funds and publish frequently; further, many talented doctoral students have started their thesis work in recent years – and Maria is now working to ensure that the positive trends continue. She does not envisage any major changes in the focus of activities.
Maria Brandén during the Zoom interview. Photo credit Mikael Sönne
“I want IAS to continue to attract really creative and successful researchers in sociology and computational social science”, she says.
“Otherwise, I intend to support the co-workers in their research and when they apply for research grants, without getting involved in the details. My previous positions at Stockholm and Linköping University have given me good insight into how the academic world works, and I believe that I can help others to navigate through it.”
Maria Brandén also emphasizes that she wants to keep the special spirit of IAS.
“There is a strong collegiality at IAS. We support each other, read each other’s applications, and research, and help the doctoral students. We have a common idea of what defines good research, and a common vision IAS as a top-flight research institute”, she says.
Marc Keuschnigg and Jacob Habinek will join Maria Brandén in the management team of the Institute for Analytical Sociology. Both have been appointed associate directors.
More information about Maria Brandén’s research: Personal webpage
Translated by: George Farrants