Debt Scientific Group

The purpose of the Scientific group

COVID-19 was and still is a challenge for all European States and societies and has an enormous impact on the economy. Economically, we are moving towards a crisis that threatens to overshadow the dimension of the 2008/2009 financial crisis. This is and will be a hard transition to many people who will experience a significant loss in income and end up either in debt or not being able to pay off the debt they already have, thus leaving them with more debt. The current ECDN approach against the Covid-19 crisis is directed at various fronts: the administrative, political, organizational, and political. But it can only be complete if we make full use of the scientific dimension. The ECDN Scientific Group is therefore a crucial piece of the puzzle to make sure our interventions on the European, national, and local level are effective.

The work of the Scientific group

The aim is that the Debt Scientific Group” (CoDeS) through their work can advise not only the ECDN and our members, as well as governments, creditors, and other stakeholders. We will therefore search for, discuss, distribute, and promote any kinds of tools that are scientifically appropriate to help the people who are unfortunate enough to have been hit hard by the COVID-19 economic crisis.




Then we could really need your help in not only mapping where our national citizens still can get free debt counseling/advise (by phone / chat)around Europe, but also where you can’t get it – So that we together across borders can help each other through this task that lies ahead of us – both on a national and international level. Please let us hear from you!


Dr. Stefan Angel

Wirtschaftsuniversitët Wien

Stefan Angel is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Social Policy at Vienna University of Economics and Business. He received his PhD (2014) in Economics and Social Sciences from the Vienna University of Economics and Business. In his research, he investigates explanatory factors of various dimensions of inequality and deprivation in European welfare states. A particular focus is on private household debt, financial literacy, housing and income poverty. In his recent work, he studies income inequality between and within housing tenure groups, the relation between housing tenure and subjective well-being and determinants and consequences of measurement error in income data.


Prof. Bjarne A. Jensen

Copenhagen Business School


Prof. Heikki Hiilamo

National Institute for health and Welfare University of Helsinki


PhD Heikki Hiilamo works as a research professor at National Institute for Health and Welfare and as a professor of social policy at University of Helsinki. Previously Hiilamo has worked as research professor at Social Insurance Institution on Finland. He has worked as visiting professor at University of California San Francisco and VID Specialized University Oslo. Hiilamo’s research interests include over-indebtedness,family policy, poverty, inequality, welfare state research and tobacco control. His articles have appeared in leading international journals including Journal of Social Policy, Journal of European Social Policy, American Journal of Public Health and Social Science and Medicine. In 2018 he published a book on household debts for Edward Elgar.


Dr.rer.pol Dieter Korczak



Dieter Korczak is the coordinator of the COVID-19 and Debt Scientific Group as well as the Managing Director of GP-Forschungsgruppe, Institute for Basic and Program Research. He is also a lecturer at the University for Applied Sciences North Hesse. A member of the Research group “Health and Inclusion” of the Association of German Scientists. He is a founding member of the ECDN and current member of the Management Committee. He is the former president of ECDN (2016-2018), ESOMAR (2011-2012) and the Interdisziplinäre Studiengesellschaft (1997-2017).

Major Publications: Financial Literacy and Financial Education (Swiecka, Grzesiuk, Korczak & Wyszkowska-Kaniewska). De Gruyter: Berlin/ Boston 2019; Verantwortungsvolle Kreditvergabe (Korczak). GP-Forschungsgruppe: München 2005; Überschuldung in Deutschland von 1988-1999. (Korczak) Kohlhammer: Stuttgart 2001; Überschuldungssituation und Schuldnerberatung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Korczak/ Pfefferkorn). Kohlhammer: Stuttgart 1992

ECDN member Dieter Korczark


Prof. Judit Simon

Corvinus University of Budapest.

Judit Simon works as a professor of Marketing at the Corvinus University of Budapest. She holds a
Diploma (Master) in Economics and a PhD in Business Administration. She served from 2008 – 2016 as the director of the Institute of Marketing at this university. Her research and teaching areas are: health care marketing, marketing research, consumer behaviour and business-to-business marketing. She published books and articles in leading Hungarian and international journals. She teaches courses in Hungarian and in German language, she is the founding director of the German Business Administration Teaching Program in co-operation with the University of Passau. She has been awarded with the honorary doctor and honorary citizenship of the University Passau. She has got her practical experiences in marketing research in Nielsen Research as client and sales manager.


Dr. Stuart Stamp

Maynooth University


Stuart is an Independent Social Researcher and Research Associate of the Department of Applied Social Studies at Maynooth University. His main areas of interest are personal over-indebtedness and financial exclusion from an inequality and human rights perspective. He has helped to establish services in both Ireland and the UK to assist people who are over-indebted, and has worked in casework, co-ordination and support/training capacities.

In recent years, Stuart has focused more on research and policy analysis on these topics. He has authored/co-authored studies for the Combat Poverty Agency, Citizens Information Board, Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS), Dublin Region Homeless Executive, and for the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC); he has further contributed to a number of national and international conferences, research projects, academic resources and policy consultations on personal debt issues.

Stuart holds a Law degree, a Diploma in Consumer Affairs, an MA in Communication and Cultural Studies and a PhD in Applied Social Studies. He lectures on the BA. Social Science programme at Maynooth University, tutored on the Advanced Diploma in Money Advice Practice at Ulster University, and regularly contributes to a programme for key workers in the homeless sector developed by Dublin City University.


Prof. Giorgio Calcagnini

University of Urbino


Giorgio Calcagnini is Professor of Economics at the Università di Urbino Carlo Bo. From 1986-1988 Calcagnini served as Economist at the Research Department of Confindustria (Rome) and from 1982-1986 at the Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio della Congiuntura (ISCO, Rome). In addition to academic research lectures at universities, Professor Calcagnini also gives talks to a wide variety of audiences including public and private associations, and financial institutions. His research work focuses on financial institutions and the financing of the private sector, knowledge transfer, social capital. He has been the Vice Rector of the Università di Urbino Carlo Bo since November 1st, 2014.

Ass.Prof. Germana Giombini

University of Urbino


I am associate professor in Economic Policy at the Department of Economics, Society and Politics of the Università di Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy, where I teach Microeconomics and Monetary Economics. I am also an associate researcher of the Money and Finance Research Group (Mo.Fi.R) at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy, and member of the GEU (Gruppo Economisti di Urbino).

From 2018 I am Co-Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Applied Behavioral Economics (IJABE), which encompasses how preferences, attitude, and behavioral issues influence economic agents involved in business and organizations. I am also a member of the Scientific Committee of Argomenti – Journal of Economics, Culture and Social Studieswhich publishes scientific articles in all areas of economics, economic policy and social studies, and provides a scholarly, international forum for all methodological approaches and schools of thought.


Prof. Inna Romānova

University of Latvia


Inna Romānova is a professor of Finance and the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics at the University of Latvia, as well as the Director of the Scientific Institute of Economics and Management. Her academic and research interests are in corporate/private finance and financial technologies. She has more than twelve years of teaching experience both in Latvia and abroad, as well as professional experience in banking and finance, both in Latvia and Germany. She has participated in a number of research projects, including the State Research Programme Project “Challenges and Solutions of Latvian State and Society in an International Framework” (head of the University of Latvia sub-project). She is on the editorial board of several scientific journals.


Dr. Daiva Skuciene

Vilnius University

Dr. Daiva Skuciene is at Vilnius University, Social Policy Department. Her research area covers social policy, social welfare, income inequality, poverty. Her works have been published in academic journals such as European Policy Analysis, Human Affairs, Studies of transitions states and societies, Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social policy and etc.


Dr. Simon Grima

University of Malta

Dr. Simon Grima, is the Head of the Department of Insurance, in charge of the Bachelor of Commerce in Insurance, the Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and Master’s degrees in Insurance and Risk Management and a Senior lecturer at the University of Malta. He set up the Insurance Department in 2015 and started and coordinates the MA and MSc Insurance and Risk Management degrees. He served as the President of the Malta Association of Risk Management (MARM) between 2013 and 2015, and President of the Malta Association of Compliance Officers (MACO) between 2016 and 2018. Moreover, he is among the first Certified Risk Management Professional (FERMA), is the chairman of the Scientific Education Committee of the Public Risk Management Organization (PRIMO) and a member of the curriculum development team of Professional Risk Managers; International Association (PRMIA) in 2014. His research focus and consultancy is on Governance, Regulations and Internal Controls (i.e. Risk Management, Internal Audit and Compliance) and has over 30 years of experience varied between Financial Services and with public entities in academia, Internal Controls, Investments and IT. He acts as an Independent Director for Financial Services Firms, sits on Risk, Compliance, Procurement, Investment and Audit Committees and carries out duties as a Compliance Officer, Internal Auditor and Risk Manager.
He has acted as co-chair and is a member of the scientific program committee on some international conferences and is a chief editor, editor and review editor of some Journals and Book Series. He has been awarded outstanding reviewer for Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance in the 2017 Emerald Literati Awards.


Drs. Marcel Warnaar



Marcel. Warnaar has a vast experience as a researcher since 1991in the field of finance. Within Nibud he worked on projects on various areas of household finance. Among them survey-research like the National School Survey and research on the influence of the introduction of the euro on spending behavior. He also had part in a two-year international project on Standard Budgets, resulting in a Handbook of Reference Budgets, of which he was the editor. In addition, he developed various tools for the Nibud- internetsite, like personal budget advice and the buffer calculator.

At the moment, Marcel Warnaar is project manager on the following areas:

Purchasing power

Calculating the effects of government measures and economic circumstances on the purchasing power of various types of households. Developing reference budgets for households at the request of governments, interest groups and the financial sector.

 Mortgage- and credit norms

Calculating  loan-to-income norms that are used by mortgage and credit issuers, the Treasury and the Financial Market Authority in the Netherlands.


Doctoral Research Fellow John Todd

University of Oslo

John holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from the Chartered Management Institute.  He has worked in a range of policy roles within the civil service in Belfast and London, including as Head of Reducing Offending Unit in the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland and as Head of Parliamentary and International Liaison for the Northern Ireland Office. Last year he published “An Unpaid Debt to Society: How ‘Punishment Debt’ Affects Reintegration and Desistance from Crime in Norway” in the British Journal of Criminology.


Assoc.Prof. Beata Swiecka

University of Szczecin

Beata Świecka is a Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Szczecin. Member of the Finance and Banking Association. Her research interests are focused in the areas of household finance, behavioral finance, financial literacy, cashless payments, households insolvency, financial services, retail banking, electronic banking. In 2016, she awarded for the best scientific publication by the Foundation for the Development of Cashless Transactions. Multiple times winner of the Rector of the US Award for achievements in science and teaching. In 2015 awarded by Dean’s award for scientific publication “Contemporary problems of personal finance”. The winner of the prize Amicus Scientae at Veritatis by Polish prestigious organization – Polish Economic Association. Expert of European Consumer Debt Network. Ambassador of the Polish National Bank in cashless payments.


Prof. Catarina Frade

University of Coimbra


Catarina Frade is a law professor at the Faculty of Economics at University of Coimbra and a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies. She holds a PhD in Economics with a dissertation on the regulation of over-indebtedness (2008). She coordinated the Observatory of Consumer Indebtedness in Portugal (2001-2010) and two research projects on consumer credit and over-indebtedness financed by FCT, the Portuguese national funding agency for science, research and technology.  She participated, as national expert, in several European studies on consumers’ indebtedness, over-indebtedness and bankruptcy. She has been given lectures on these topics both in Portugal and abroad and has several publications on the matter.


Assoc.Prof. Rodica Diana Apan

Dimitrie Cantemir” Christian University of Bucharest Faculty of Law Cluj Napoca

Rodica Diana Apan is Associate Professor and vice-rector at the “Dimitrie Cantemir” Christian University of Bucharest. She holds PhD in Law with a thesis in the field of consumer credit. Her research area covers consumer and commercial law.

She is author of numerous studies in these fields and participated as national expert in several European studies on consumers’ indebtedness, over-indebtedness. She was the coordinator and lead trainer for Romania in the ConFinAd “Consumer Financial Advice” project.

She is also a lawyer and president of the Association ”Action, Responsibility, Diligence” , helpdebit, which was recently set-up in Romania and works in the field of over-indebtedness and consumer advice.


Prof. D. Carlos Javier Zarco Pleguezuelos



Carlos is a senior practising lawyer specialised in international banking, financial and consumer regulation, and a consultor and independent social researcher. He chairs The Consumer Law Section at Alicante Illustrious College of Lawyers, where he is professor of Banking and Consumer Law. He has also been visitor professor on European Banking System and Financial Markets at Alicante University.

In his several EU positions, he has been the first Head of Consumer Protection and Financial Innovation appointed at the European Banking Authority, in London (2012). In this roll he has been involved in efforts in promoting transparency and fairness in the market for consumer financial products across the EU, and was also rapporteur at ESAs Joint Committee, on Financial Services Products governance and monitoring.  He has been an expert member at the CFR-net EU COM for a Draft Common Frame of Reference (2005-2007), and member of  the Financial Services´ User Group of the EU Commission (FIN-USE & FSUG, 2007-2012).

He has also been a collaborative lawyer at ADICAE (Spanish Association of Banks and Insurance´s Users), and Chair of its regional board in Valencia, where he was arbitrator at the Consumer Regional Board. He currently continues collaborating with several consumer associations. Last, but not least, he started his financial career as branch manager at Banco Central, S.A., in Spain, where he worked for 5 years

Carlos has a Law degree and a Master of Economics & Banking from the University of Alicante and possesses an Universitary Expert Degree on Mediation (on Civil, Merchant, Bankruptcy, and Traffic matters), and a Diploma from Cittadinazattiva (Rome) in EU Consumer´s Associations Management. He has collaborated in several law books: “Malpractice in insurance contracts”, “Over indebtedness of Consumers”, “Case law in bankruptcy proceedings”, “Abusive clauses on mortgage deeds, banking and other financial contracts”. He uses to collaborate with international stakeholders in social and consumer research, projects, and with media, providing financial advice to consumers.


Prof. em. Richard Ahlström

Mid Sweden University

PhD Richard Ahlström is a retired research professor in psychology. His main research areas are Health Psychology and Environmental psychology. He is amember of ECDN and Finance Watch. He has conducted several research projects in Sweden and the European Union. He has been  appointed as an independent expert in projects in Norway, Ireland and Belgium. He has conducted a number of research projects in the areas of over-indebtedness and its effects on health and quality of life. He conducted one of the very first studies of over-indebtedness on mental and physical health in 1998. In recent years, his interest has focused on the rehabilitation of over-indebted people, and the costs of over-indebtedness to society.

Major recent publications:
Ahlström, Edström & Savemark (2014) Is debt relief rehabilitative? Report 2014:15 Stockholm: The Swedish Consumer Agency.

Ahlström & Edström, (2014), Over-indebtedness and Health (In Swedish). Report: 2014:16, Stockholm: The Swedish Consumer Agency.

Ahlström, R. The cost of over-indebtedness, In: Government measures against over-indebtedness (2015) Report RiR 2015:14), Stockholm: The Swedish National Audit Office.

Holmgren, Nilsson-Sundström, Levinsson & Ahlström (2019). Coping and financial strain as predictors of mental illness in over-indebted individuals in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 60(1), 2019.


Dr. phil. Christoph Mattes

University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland

Dr. phil. Christoph Mattes, social worker, business economist and educationalist, is a lecturer at the School of Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. His main topics are poverty, analysis of life situations and debt. After studying social work, he worked for 12 years in debt and insolvency counselling in Germany. The current project, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, is concerned with the debt of private households that are dependent on social assistance from the state. Dr. Christoph Mattes is currently calling for the introduction of a bankruptcy and residual debt discharge procedure in Switzerland.


Prof. Olga Nosova

V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University


Olga Nosova is Professor of Economics at the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Member of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy. Her research interests are focused in the areas of foreign direct investment, corporate governance, system transformation and regional integration.

She was a research scholar at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Centre in Washington, DC in 1997, “Contemporary Issues Program” in Portland State University in 2004.

A Ukrainian citizen, she received her PhD in Economics in 1992 and Habilitation in Economics from V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in 2002. She successfully graduated the Master Program in Applied Economics at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, and took part in various economic programs in Hebrew University, Central European University, Eurasia Foundation and etc.

During 1998-2000 she participated in the joint Belgium-Ukrainian project in support new educational program in Ukraine. She was as Visiting Professor at the Portland State University, Free University Berlin, University Potsdam, and the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder).