skip to content

Sociology Research


Merve is an Affiliated Researcher at the University of Cambridge. In her research, she conducts an institutional analysis of vocational education and training systems in Mexico and Turkey, with a special focus on the local automotive industry. She compares the effects of national and global factors on firms’ behaviour and the impact of these on firms and workers. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics and International Relations from Koc Universtity, Istanbul. During this, she also studied at Bocconi University, Milan for one semester, where she focused her studies on the politics and economics of the European Union. After, she completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Oxford in Comparative Social Policy, where she completed her thesis on comparative political economy of pension reforms in Greece and Turkey.

Upon her master’s degree, Merve worked in policy research and implementation. First, she worked at the UNDP Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development. Her research here focused on the private sector’s role in development in Turkey and some of those models were implemented in other countries as development projects. Later, she worked in the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, which is a think-tank and a consulting institute for governmental and intergovernmental organisations. There, she participated in research projects on various issues including the state education system, vocational training programmes for the unemployed, within-company vocational training, as well as regional development projects for the small and medium enterprises.

Research Interests

Merve’s research interests constitute institutional analysis, political economy, economic sociology, varieties and diversity of capitalism, middle-income countries, neoliberal transformation, business-labour-state relations, partisan politics and welfare systems, politics of education, vocational education and training, global production networks, automotive industry, multinational companies vs. local companies in the local economy, Mexico, Turkey.


Undergraduate Course Supervision:

SOC3: Modern Societies II: Global Social Problems and Dynamics of Resistance

SOC9: Global Capitalism

Key Publications - Other

Sancak, M. November, 2013. “Turkey National Needs Assessment of State School English Language Teaching”, British Council and TEPAV: Ankara, with Ozen, E., Alpaslan, I. B., Cagli, A., Ozdogan, I., Dizman, A. O., Sokmen, A.

Grants and Projects

Cambridge University Political Economy Society; PhD Funding; July 2016, £1500

Sancak, M. Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Mexican Government Scholarships for International Students; January- August 2015, £4000

Sancak, M. The University of Cambridge; University Fieldwork Funds; October 2014- August 2015; £12000 

Sancak, M. The European Commission; Jean Monnet Scholarship; October 2010- September 2011; £24000 

Sancak, M. Koç University; College of Administrative Sciences and Economics; Postgraduate Award; August 2010; £800 

Sancak, M. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD); University Summer Course Grant; August 2009; £1000 

Sancak, M. The European Commission; Erasmus Mundus Programme Scholarship; January-July 2008; £4000 

Sancak, M. Koç University; College of Administrative Sciences and Economics; Academic Merit Scholarship; September 2005- June 2010; £80000

PhD Supervisor

Research Groups & Affiliations


Early Career Award; Society for Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE); May 2017

Vehbi Koç Scholar (2nd Highest Academic Ranking); Koç University Department of International Relations; June 2010

Vehbi Koç Scholar (3rd Highest Academic Ranking); Koç University Department of Economics; June 2010

Job Title:
Affiliated Researcher, Darwin College