I studied political science at the University of Antwerp (1989 – 1992) and statistics at the Catholic University of Brussels (1995-1997). From 1993 to 1997 I assisted Guido Dierickx (University of Antwerp) in a research project on national civil servants and their EU-level policy networks. In 1997 I started working at the University of Leuven where I defended my PhD-dissertation in 2000. After my PhD I received a post-doctoral grant from the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders . In 2003, I became Assistant Professor and in 2005 Associate Professor at the Leiden University (The Netherlands) where I taught European and international politics.
Since September 2007 I am Professor of Political Science and the Director of ACIM. In addition to this I am Visiting Research Professor at Agder University (Norway) and Senior Member of the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG). I held visiting positions at ARENA, University of Oslo (in 2002-2003) and the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna (2009). With Christine Mahoney I chair the ECPR Standing Group on Interest Groups.
My current research and teaching covers the institutional theories, comparative and international politics, European Union politics, interest groups and research methods. One of my larger projects analyses how interest organizations adapt to multi-level political opportunities in terms of their internal organization, political strategies as well as their programmatic policy agenda. It covers topics such as multi-level venue-shopping, EU-level territorial lobbying as well as the population ecology of group politics in the WTO. This project is funded by the Odysseus-program of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders and will run for five years.