Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Guest researcher program

The Centre regularly host visiting scholars. Interested researchers are welcome to apply for funding.

The Centre has an ongoing international guest researcher program. The aim is to bring talented young researchers and excellent senior researchers to Bergen in order to share knowledge and collaborate on research within the fields of discretion, paternalism, child welfare, and children’s rights.

The Centre can offer support for travel and accommodation. Guest researchers will be provided with an office space, access to seminars, and library services. Salary and subsistence allowance are not covered. The normal length of stay is one – four weeks.

For researchers with travel grants from their own institution or a research council, the Centre can assist in arranging a longer guest research stay in collaboration with the Department of Government at the University of Bergen.

The Centre also welcomes scholars with an interest in discretion, paternalism, children’s rights, child protection or other related topics to collaborate on an application for a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions – Individual Fellowships (MSCA-IF) grant. Read more.

Norwegian researchers

The Centre has received additional funding from the Research Council of Norway to expand the guest researcher program to include researchers and PhD students from Norwegian institutions in 2020 and 2021.

Become a guest researcher


  • Completed PhD degree (or equivalent)
  • Demonstrated interest in topics related to the Centre’s research areas
  • Fluency in written and spoken English



If you are interested to come as a visiting scholar, please send an e-mail to Marit Skivenes with a short text describing your research profile, why you wish to visit, your CV, and a list of recent publications.

Upcoming guest researchers

Currently there are no upcoming guest researchers

Previous guest researchers

Petra Järvinen

Petra Järvinen is a doctoral candidate in public law from the University of Tampere, Finland. She is currently working on a dissertation focused on adoption as a part of the child protection system in Finland. The aim of her dissertation is to research the implications and effects that adoption has on the enjoyment of children’s rights, mainly focusing on the best interests principle and its many perspectives. The ultimate goal is to introduce a legal framework in which adoption could be more widely utilized in the Finnish child protection system, where traditionally child protection and adoption are kept separate.

We had the pleasure of hosting Petra as a guest researcher in April and May 2024.

Francesca Vaghi

Francesca Vaghi is a Research Associate at the School of Social & Political Science at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. She is currently conducting research on the work of contemporary NHS charities as part of the Border Crossings project: https://more.bham.ac.uk/border-crossings/border-crossings/projects/

Francesca is interested in medical anthropology, the anthropology of policy, and childhood studies. She completed her PhD in 2019 at SOAS, University of London. For her doctoral research, Francesca conducted ethnographic fieldwork in a state-maintained nursery in London over a 12-month period, developing a child-centred methodological approach to meaningfully involve children in research. Aside from investigating how children create self and peer identities through food and eating practices, her work explores how children’s food policy fits into family intervention policies in the context of Britain’s mixed economy of welfare, and how notions of ‘good food’ and ‘good parenting’ (particularly mothering) are interlinked. Her book, Food Policy and Practice in Early Childhood Education and Care, has been published by Routledge.

Francesca is interested in advancing critical approaches in public health, specifically looking at how dominant policy discourses (re)create and seek to address ‘problems’ that have particular implications for working class and ethnic minority families, particularly in matters related to food insecurity, childhood poverty, and childcare policy.

Francesca visited the Centre from the 2nd of April until the 1st of May, 2024, and presented at the RDV seminar on April 4th. She had also authored a blogpost for our website titled About to do research with children? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Conor O’Mahoney

Conor O’Mahoney is a Professor at the University College Cork (Ireland) and the Director of the Child Law Clinic at the university. He is actively involved in supporting litigation concerning children and advocating for law reform in the area of child law.

Professor O’Mahony’s research interests lie broadly in the areas of constitutional law and child law, with a particular focus on family and children’s rights. From 2019 to 2022, he served as Special Rapporteur on Child Protection to the Government of Ireland, a role which included annually reporting on significant child protection developments. For further details about Professor O’Mahony’s work and publications, you can refer to his profile on ResearchGate.

Professor O’Mahony visited the Centre on 3rd and 4th of March 2024, and gave a talk in the RDV-series.

Larissa Cristina Margarido 

We have had the pleasure of having Larissa Cristina Margarido as a guest researcher at Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism (DIPA). Larissa visited us from the 1st of August and stayed until the 31st of August. During her time with us she held a presentation on an interesting and equally important topic: “Inequality and legal change: perspectives from the Global South”. She also participated in two sessions of round table talk in the 10th edition of the 2023 Bergen Exchanges on Law and Social Transformation, which is an annual research festival taking place in Bergen. The first session had the same title as her presentation for DIPA, whereas the second session was titled “Learning Exchanges: Conversation with PhD students on how to rethink student-led learning on democracy and law”. We really enjoyed Larissa’s visit.

Larissa Cristina Margarido is a PhD candidate in Law and Development at FGV Sao Paulo Law School (Brazil). She holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of São Paulo and a master’s degree in law and development from FGV, having recently had her dissertation published by Margem da Palavra in Brazil. She works in the field of socio-legal studies, and her research interests include human rights, children’s rights, gender, race, discourse analysis, legislative processes, and public policies. Larissa came as guest researcher to the Centre on Law & Social Transformation from August 2022 to March 2023, with the financial support of the CAPES Foundation. You can learn more about her research here.

Tarja Pöso

Professor Tarja Pösö holds a position as professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences (Tampere University, Finland). She has extensive experience in the studies of child protection, social work and institutional practices. Her particular research interests are: 1) How social workers navigate among different sources of information and interest when making decisions and assessing the outcome of their decisions in child protection, 2) How the child welfare systems perceive and act with migrant children, 3) How the principle of ‘the child’s best interest’ is included in the decision-making process.

Tarja is visiting the Centre from the 14th of August until the 21st of August. During her stay she is also attending the Bergen Exchanges  as one of the contributors.

Amarens Matthisen

Amarens Matthiesen recently completed her PhD in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. Amarens’ research has focused on a range of (psycho)social factors influencing the wellbeing of children, youth, and families. Her doctoral research explored children’s rights to participation in health care decision-making in the context of children’s hospitals in the Netherlands. Other research project involvements have focused on the provision of health- and community-based services for children with autism, as well as children with disabilities and/or medical complexities in Canada. As a certified Child Life Specialist (pediatric psychosocial health care provider), Amarens has experience working with children, youth and families in various health- and community-based contexts. Through a practice-based approach to research, she is interested in critical sociological and nursing-based scholarship to contextualize pediatric health care practices and discourses on childhood, including children’s rights. You can learn more about her research here.

Amarens visited the Centre on the 21.04.2023- 18.05.23 and gave a presentation titled: “Complicating ‘Voice’ And ‘Choice’: Children’s Rights to Participation in Health Care Decision-making in the Netherlands”.

Victoria Schmidt  

We have had the pleasure of having Victoria Schmidt as a guest researcher at DIPA! Victoria visited us from the 6th of March until the 31st of April. During her time with us she held a presentation on an important topic: “Institutional Violence against Children: How to Cope with the Inevitable and the Unconquerable”. We really enjoyed Victoria’s visit and hope to see her again soon! 

Victoria Schmidt is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Graz, Austria. Schmidt holds a PhD in Social Policy from the Faculty of Social Sciences from Masaryk University. Her dissertation was titled: “How does history predestine contemporary issues of child protection in CEE countries: beyond the issue of socialist path dependence”.  Victoria Schmidt brings together the issue of historical roots of segregation with the legacy of colonial and socialist policies in Central Eastern European countries. To learn more about her research visit her profile on Academia here 

Victor Cepoi

Victor Cepoi is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Information Studies (Slovenia) and School of Advanced Social Studies (Slovenia). He holds a PhD in Sociology from the School of Advanced Social Studies and has extensive experience researching innovation and democracy. Another focus has been research methods, and he has taught courses such as Comparative Research Methods, E-Politics and E-Democracy, Social Research Methods, and Design of Public Policy and Public Finances. He has been part of or led a number of projects financed by the European Commission. To learn more about his research visit his research gate profile or take a look at the some of his last articles here and here.

Victo visited the Center 22.01.2023 – 01.02.2023 and gave a presentation about his research.

Zalman Rothschild

Zalman Rothschild’s is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford and Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University. Rothschild’s research focuses on the First Amendment, anti-discrimination law, and law and religion. His scholarship has appeared in Cornell Law Review, the Journal of Law and Religion, Columbia Law Review Forum, Yale Law Journal Forum, and other academic publications, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker. His writing for popular audiences has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Jewish Review of Books, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Gunn Astrid Baugerud

Gunn Astrid Baugerud is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work, Oslo Metropolitan University. Baugerud has a background in cognitive developmental psychology, and her research interests include child maltreatment, children’s memory development and children as victims/witnesses, and investigative interviews with children. Baugerud was recently awarded a prestigious FRIPRO grant from the Research Council of Norway for the project “Interview training of child-welfare and law-enforcement professionals interviewing maltreated children supported via artificial avatars” and visited the Centre in November 2021. As part of her research stay, Baugerud provided a presentation on “Child Interviews and the Use of Interactive Avatars”, which is available here.

Stefan Schnurr

Stefan Schnurr is Professor and Head of the Institute for Studies in Children and Youth Services at the University of Applies Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. His research interests include social work, child- and youth services, international social work and social policy, and participation. Schnurr has both led and been a part of several research projects which aimed to add to the knowledge on and further the development of child and youth services in Switzerland. He visited the Centre in August and September 2021. Schnurr gave a presentation titled “How do children and parents experience child protection proceedings?” based on empirical evidence from Switzerland. The video is available here.

Matthias Braun

Matthias Braun is an assistant professor (Philosophy/Theology) at the  Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. Braun visited the Centre in November 2019 and gave the presentation Recognizing Fundamental Rights – in digital worlds. An interview with Matthias Braun can be found here.

Cristian Pérez Muñoz

Cristian Pérez Muñoz is an Associate Professor in Political Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Muñoz visited the Centre in October 2019 and gave the lecture: Paternalism, Coercive Care and the Very Poor.

Rami Benbenishty

Rami Benbenishty is a professor emeritus in Social Work / Social Welfare at the University of Jerusalem / Bar Ilan University. Benbenishty visited the Centre in September 2019, and gave the lecture “Child Welfare – Decision-making in evolving contexts”. An interview with Benbenishty and slides from his presentation can be found here. Benbenishty returned as guest researcher in August 2022.

Ingi Iusmen

Ingi Iusmen is a Lecturer in Governance and Policy at the University of Southampton. Iusmen visited the Centre in August 2019, and gave the lecture “Protection of Unaccompanied Minors in Europe”. An interview with Iusmen and slides from her lecture can be found here.

“I really enjoyed my time and the Centre and found it very productive. Everyone, from PhD students, post-docs to administrators as well as academic staff, were very friendly and made me feel very welcome from the outset. Prof.Skivenes, in particular, made sure that I met all the relevant colleagues at the University, and overall, she was a very hospitable and generous host, which made my visit such an enjoyable experience. The Centre is a vibrant and  inclusive place, which makes it a perfect place to work in. Bergen is a beautiful, picturesque city: the scenery is amazing, particularly if the weather is dry and sun is shinning. Everyone speaks good English, and given that Bergen is a multicultural city, I felt at ease being there. Overall, it was a great experience, both from an academic and non-academic standpoint.”

Ingi Iusmen

Olga Komshukova

Olga Komshukov is a PhD Fellow at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Russia. Her PhD project focuses on the legitimation mechanisms of the decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. Komshukova guested the Centre in June 2019, and gave the lecture “Legitimacy and Judicial Protection of Human Rights and Children’s Rights in Russia”. A summary and slides from the lecture can be found here.

“I have met some amazing people in the Centre, inspired by their work and oriented towards achieving good results. The Centre is a modern research organizational community. By consistently working on the various issues of paternalism, focused on children’s rights, the team there has made great progress in this specific research area. The opportunity to familiarize me with the Center’s projects gave me a good example of interdisciplinary research,  providing the sociological approach to specific legal issues.”

Olga Kumshokova

Kenneth Burns

Kenneth Burns is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Master of Social Work course at University College Cork. He has worked as a social worker and social work team leader in child protection and welfare, and continues to support practice in this area. Kenneth visited the Centre in April 2019, and gave the lecture “Voluntary Care Removals”.

Michael Lipsky

Michael Lipsky is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and a former professor of political science at MIT. He is well knowned for his classic book about street-level bureaucracy (1980), and is considered one of the most influential researchers in the field of public administration. Lipsky visited the Centre in June 2018, and gave the lecture “Reflections on Street-level Bureaucracy”. A summary and recording of the lecture can be found here.

Claire Breen

Claire Breen is an Associate Professor of Law at University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her research focus on international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and she has published extensively in the area of children’s rights. Breen visited the Centre in May/June 2018, and gave a lecture on the foundation of children’s rights. She also wrote the blogpost Are Rights Right for Children?

June Thoburn

June Thoburn is an Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the University of East Anglia. She is internationally renowned for her research on children’s social care, and have been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her for services to social work. June visited the Centre in April/May 2018, and gave the lecture “Child welfare and child protection in the UK nations: politics, economics and professional practice”.