25 July 2022

University of Sheffield Lecturer Recognised in Top 50 Most Influential Researchers in the World

Department of Politics and International Relations Lecturer in political behaviour, Dr James Weinberg, has been named by the Apolitical Foundation as one of the 'Top 50 influential researchers whose work could shape 21st century politicians'.

Profile image for academic staff member James Weinberg

The Apolitical Foundation is a Berlin-based political organisation that seeks to cultivate and curate politicians and researchers that could help to shape the democracies of the 21st century.

Dr Weinberg's research predominantly surrounds politicians’ personalities, mental health, and styles of representation. He is currently writing his second book about the personal side of doing politics, which draws on three years of research with elected representatives in the UK, South Africa, and Canada. This project focuses specifically on how politicians navigate their occupational lives and govern effectively in an age of distrust. Dr Weinberg's research could help to support elected politicians and political aspirants as they reflect on how to manage political stressors and make decisions effectively.

Dr Weinberg's research is also characterised by a solutions-focused perspective and constant feedback and collaboration with the individuals and communities he studies. He hopes that this approach to the world of politics and political research was part of the reason why Apolitical named him on their global list of influential researchers whose work might shape 21st century politicians. Asked about this achievement, he said "This list is a reminder that there is a lot of exceptional scholarship happening that students and practitioners alike may have overlooked in their search for answers to some of the big questions about politics, policy-making and political leadership. I am humbled by the work of my colleagues on the list and grateful to be named among them".

Dr Weinberg is currently planning a new research programme focusing on political contact, which will explore the potential benefits and outcomes of different forms of contact between politicians and the public. 

By studying and working towards better models of interpersonal contact between politicians and the people they represent, I believe that we may be able to cultivate a more sustainable democratic culture.

Dr James Weinberg

The Apolitical Foundation's commendation of Dr Weinberg will help to extend the breadth and evolution of his research - enabling his work to reach wider audiences, opening up conversations with other practitioners, and in turn, shaping the way future politicians and researchers are taught.  For the full list published by the Apolitical Foundation please visit their website:

Apolitical Foundation - 50 influential researchers

The Department of Politics and International Relations champions research-led teaching; 94% of their research was rated in the highest two categories in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF).  Their academics’ ongoing research constantly changes and shapes the way their degree programmes are taught.

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