Marij Swinkels works as a scientist at the Utrecht School of Governance (USG) of Utrecht University. She mostly researches the role of leaders and leadership in times of crisis (apart from the occasional side projects) and teaches about leadership, governance, and public policy. She is passionate about and contributes to the transition to open science and public engagement of scientists.
During her PhD project, Marij explored how, when, and why the beliefs of European political leaders matter in European crisis management. She defended her dissertation "The role of EU leaders and ideas in managing the Eurozone crisis: navigating uncharted territory" in 2021 and was awarded the UACES best PhD thesis prize in 2022.
Since the start of her appointment at USG, Marij has been involved in courses on political leadership, policy analysis, and public administration. In 2019, Marij was awarded the Utrecht University Teacher Talent Award.
Marij founded Incluusion, a project to increase access to higher education for refugee students. In 2016, she won the Social Impact Award of her faculty for this project. In 2020, Utrecht University awarded Marij and her colleagues Hilke Grootelaar, Elena Valbusa with the UU Silver Medal for this project.
Furthermore, Marij often writes about her experiences as an academic and about her research (for example at Faces of Science, for the UU's newspaper DUB, or in different local and national media). Throughout the years, Marij has commented at various occasions on crisis management and political leadership on national news channels, in national newspapers, and gave guest lectures and presentations about these topics to a broader audience. As a result of these activities, Marij was granted a Public Engagement fellowship of Utrecht University in 2020 to further develop a commitment to public engagement within her faculty.
Prior to starting work at Utrecht University, Marij worked as a researcher for the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB) and the Centre for Societal Security at the Swedish Defence University (FHS).