Sarah Marchal obtained her PhD in the Socio-Economic Sciences from the University of Antwerp in 2017, with a thesis on the evolution, adequacy and characteristics of minimum income protection for different target groups in the European welfare states. In her recent research, she looks for ways to measure welfare state institutions in institutional indicators, in order to assess whether and how these institutions aid in combatting poverty. She focuses on minimum income provisions in Belgium and Europe, in particular on social assistance benefits for the able-bodied of active age. She assesses how eligibility conditions for social assistance benefits impact on their effectiveness. She also cooperates on a project on the non-take-up of social assistance benefits in Belgium.
Within the University Foundation USAB that aims to combat poverty, she is active within the team "Social Internship", which aims to encourage and support students in volunteering in social organisations.