After finishing his Master in Western Literature, Toine Paulissen graduated as a Master in Comparative and International Politics at KU Leuven. In 2021 he became the laureat for the third prize of the Wilfried Martens Thesis Prize for his thesis on the interest representation of higher education institutions at the European Union. After a career in the hotel sector and an employment as a policy officer for the European Office at Provincie Vlaams-Brabant, he started working for the Public Governance Institute as a PhD student and teaching assistant in January 2021. His doctoral research under supervisor prof. dr. Bart Maddens and co-promotor prof. dr. Steven Van Hecke centers around (regulation concerning) the financing of referendum campaigns. In his research, Toine focuses on comparative and European politics with a special interest in direct democracy, political finance and the European Union.