Michal Mochtak, Ph.D.

Research Associate
IPS, University of Luxembourg

Work experience

  • 10/2017 – present Research Associate, Institute of Political Science, University of Luxembourg (Project: Electoral Legacies of War: Political Competition in Postwar Southeast Europe; link)
  • 3/2012 – 12/2017 Research Fellow, International Institute of Political Science, Masaryk University
  • 4/2015 – 12/2016 Advocacy Officer, People in Need (Human Rights and Democratization Department)
  • 8/2013 – 12/2015 Research Specialist, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University
  • 9/2011 – 5/2015 Analyst; Military/Security/Peace Coordinator, Amnesty International Czech Republic

Visiting Appointments and Fellowships

  • 1/2017 – 8/2017 Visiting Scholar, Department of Political Science, Yale University
  • 4/2017 Cvachovec Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
  • 12/2012 – 10/2013 Visiting Research Fellow, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade
  • 1/2011 – 6/2011 Erasmus Scholarship; Centre for Conflict Studies, Utrecht University

Other professional activities

  • 1/2017 – 6/2019 Editor of Panorama of the Global Security Environment, STRATPOL, Bratislava
  • 1/2015 – 9/2017 Researcher, Institute of Asian Studies, Bratislava
  • 1/2016 – 12/2016 Secretary, Group for Human Rights and Democracy, Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of the Czech Republic
  • 1/2016 – 12/2016 Member, Working group on Human Rights and Business, Government of the Czech Republic.
  • 6/2014 – 12/2016 Consultant, Analyst, Amnesty International Slovakia, Bratislava
  • 5/2015 – 12/2016 Consultant, Analyst, Amnesty International Czech Republic, Prague
  • 6/2012 – 3/2015 Project Manager; Co-founder, Centre for Security Analyses and Prevention (
  • 8/2013 – 6/2014 Analyst; MSP Coordinator, Amnesty International Slovakia.


  • Ph.D. in Political Science, Masaryk University (summa cum laude), 2011–2015
  • MA in Security and Strategic Studies, Masaryk University (summa cum laude), 2009–2012
  • MA in Political Science, Masaryk University (summa cum laude), 2009–2011
  • BA in Political Science, Masaryk University, 2006–2009

Areas of Interest

  • Democratization; Authoritarianism; War
  • Comparative politics
  • Programming; Data Science


  • R programming
    • Coding & Debugging
    • Shiny Apps
    • reticulate (Python)
  • High performance computing (HPC)
  • Data Mining (R)
    • Web scraping (rvest; RSeleniu)
    • Text mining
  • Data visualization (R)
    • Networks (2D/3D)
    • Maps
    • Interactive/static graphs
    • ggplot2
  • NLP and computational content analysis (R)
    • Corpus based approaches
    • Vector representation of text
    • Modeling (machine learning; neural networks; Keras/TensorFlow)
  • QCA; configurational comparative methods (R)
  • Social Network Analysis (SNA) (R, Gephi, UCINET)


  • Jan Hus Educational Foundation Scholarship for Excellent Young Scholars (2015)
  • Dean’s Award for Best Student of Doctoral Programmes at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University (2015)
  • Dean’s Award for Best Student of Master Degree Programme Security and Strategic Studies (2010)

Research grants

  • Fulbright Scholarship (Fulbright Scholar), Yale University (2016/2017)
  • „Electoral Violence in the Western Balkans: From Voting to Fighting and Back“; funding granted by GAMU, Research Support Programme, category “Excellent results“; period 1/2017 – 12/2017; position: principal investigator.
  • “Mapping the electoral violence in Post-communist Europe”; project funded as a part of “Specific research” grant provided by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic and Masaryk University (MUNI/A/1110/2015); period 3/2016 – 3/2017; position: principal investigator.
  • “Contemporary challenges of democracy in East Central Europe”; funding granted by the Czech Science Foundation (GAP408/11/0709); period: 2010-2015; position: researcher.

Selected Conferences (with active participation)

  • 2019 Impresso Talk; University of Luxembourg; paper: Thus Spoke the People: Public Discourse in Belgrade’s Politika on the Eve of Yugoslav Wars. link
  • 2019 Workshop on Authoritarian Backsliding, Electoral Misconduct and Violence; King’s College London; paper: Mythologizing War: Legacies of Conflict in Croatian Parliament Debates.
  • 2018 ECPR General Conference 2018; Hamburg (University of Hamburg); paper: Understanding Electoral Violence Through Complex Textual Data: 20 Years of OSCE Monitoring Missions.
  • 2018 Election Violence Research Workshop; Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam); paper: Institutional Preconditions of Election-related Violence in the Western Balkans.
  • 2016 ECPR General Conference 2016; Prague (Charles University in Prague); paper: Who Can Support Human Rights and Democracy Agenda in the Foreign Policy of the Czech Republic? Social-Network Analysis of Potential Human Rights Proponents in the Chamber of Deputies.
  • 2014 ECPR Graduate Student Conference 2014; Innsbruck (University of Innsbruck); paper: Electoral Violence in Various Contexts: Concepts and Causes.
  • 2014 Conference „Demokratizace a Lidská práva“; Brno (Masaryk University); paper: Violence in the Name of Democracy: Political Transformation in the CEE at the Beginning of 21st Century.
  • 2012 IV. International Symposium „Česká zahraniční politika“; Prague (Institute of International Relations); paper: Conflicting Goals in Democracy Promotion.
  • 2012 VIII. Political Science Symposium; Brno (Masaryk University); paper: Position of Elections in the Process of Democratization: the Case of Egypt.

Professional associations

  • ECPR Standing Group on South East Europe
  • ECPR Standing Group on Political Violence
  • ECPR Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy
  • ECPR Standing Group on Political Parties

Lecturing & Teaching

  • Courses at Masaryk University
    • Transformation Cooperation in Practice (CZ; undergraduate level) (2016 – 2017)
    • Democratization and Democracy in ECE (EN; undergraduate level) (2014 – 2016)
    • Research of Democratization (CZ; graduate level) (2014 – 2016)
    • Theory of Democratization (CZ; graduate level) (2012 – 2016)
    • Modern Authoritarianism: Undemocratic Rule in the 21st Century (EN; graduate level) (2016)
    • Remodelling Political Culture in Central Europe after 1989 (EN; undergraduate level) (2015)
    • Democratization in practice (CZ;undergraduate level) (2013 – 2014)
  • Courses at University of Luxembourg
    • Introduction to Social Network Analysis (EN; PhD level; guest lecturer: Tomas Diviak) (2018)
    • Advanced topics in QCA (EN; PhD level; guest lecturer: Alrik Thiem) (2019)
    • Comparative Politics (EN; graduate level) (2019)
    • Introduction to Computational Text Analysis for Social Sciences (EN; PhD level) (2019)
    • Introduction to Web Scraping for Social Sciences (EN; PhD level) (2020)
  • Summer schools / Workshops
    • Web Scraping for Social Sciences, European University Institute, (2020 [online])
    • International Relations and Threats to Global Security (2016) [2-day block on conflict in Ukraine]
    • World in Transition and Central European Transformation: Lessons Learnt (2012 – present) [week long block on political transformation]

Other academic activities and responsibilities

  • Supervision of master theses (various topics), Masaryk University (2016-2017)
  • Member of PhD thesis supervision committee (CET), University of Luxembourg (2018 – present)
  • Founder of an informal group focused on Deep Learning/Neural Networks at FHALSE, University of Luxembourg (2019)

Professional Certificates

  • Negotiation (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Prague, Czech Republic, 2015)
  • Power and Dynamic of Civil Resistance (ICNC/Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2012)
  • Qualitative Comparative Analysis (training in set-theoretic methods; lecturer: Carsten Q. Schneider; Masaryk University/Central European University; Brno, Czech Republic, 2012)
  • Organization, Management and Project Management of Research and Development – project PREFEKT; lifelong learning, specialized education (Masaryk University; Brno, Czech Republic, 2012)
  • National Minorities and Border Regions (ECMI/EURAC/University of Southern Denmark; Flensburg, Germany, 2011)
  • Certificate of STO (Short Term Observer) (granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovak Republic and MEMO98; Bratislava, Slovakia, 2010)
  • Certificate of summer school “Liberty camp” (The Language of Liberty Institute, Arizona and INESS; Bratislava, Slovakia, 2009)
  • Nonviolent transformation of conflicts and principles of development and change (PDCS; Bratislava, Slovakia, 2008)
  • Project development and project management (Masaryk University; Brno, Czech Republic, 2007)
  • The legal aspects of project management (Masaryk University; Brno, Czech Republic, 2007)


  • English (full professional proficiency)
  • Czech (full professional proficiency)
  • Serbo-Croatian (working proficiency)
  • German (elementary proficiency; in progress)
  • Slovak language (native or bilingual proficiency)