Alkistis Zavakou was born in Athens in 1987 and completed a BSc in EU studies and an MSc in economics in Athens and London, respectively. She is a currently a PhD student in Political Science at the European University Institute in Florence. Apparently her research interests are constantly evolving but always remain around the EU political economy, EU integration, European social policy, labour policies and the redistributive role of the welfare state. She is currently working on one project on the effect of the great recession on Eurosceptiscism and EU institutional change as well as on another cross-national project on the effect of institutions on labour market policies and unemployment. When she doesn't work on her research projects, she enjoys philosophy, literature photography, cinema, theatre, dance and cooking. She believes a lot in the notions of “active, well-educated citizens” and “welfare state” - both alarmingly declining today – and she hopes and tries to enhance and bolster them both in her personal and in her academic life.