The program provides the means for understanding, assessing, and structuring the continuously changing interactions among technosciences, innovation and research processes, social practices and institutions, and their governance.

We assume that phenomena and problems in the field can no longer be understood satisfactorily only in terms of the established systems of politics, administration and society. Boundaries between themes, practices and actors have become fluid. New constellations of actors must be investigated as well as newly developing game rules. Constitutive for our approach is thus a three dimensional view including three tracks that focus on reflexive, policy-oriented and historical perspectives:

  • The first addresses problems and specific issues concerning the ideas and practices of the governance and innovation of sciences and technologies.
  • The second focuses on the dynamics of scientific and technological development and the assessment of related socio-technical change processes.
  • The third examines scientific and technological change and its governance in the context of longer-term developments and transformations.

The three perspectives are represented in three study tracks which are at the same time closely coupled in respect to research objects and cases, teaching personnel, methods, and the common research colloquia. Students specialize in one of the three dimensions, but are required (and taught) to take the other two into account as well, and thus work with a realistic, and holistic, picture of the governance and innovation of sciences and technologies.

Governance of Sciences and Innovations (GSI)

Sciences and innovations are both key resources and causes for concern for industry and policy making in modern society. The production and use of scientific knowledge have increasingly become objects of policymaking. Understanding the changing governance of science (in a broad sense) and the conceptualization of research and innovation systems are key issues for contemporary science, technology and innovation studies. Research on ‘science and innovation governance’ analyzes transformation processes of the research and innovation system, the role of governance and policymaking in this transformation and the processes by which scientific knowledge contributes to governance and innovation. In this track students learn to compare the aims and logics of governance, policy, and innovation approaches. They get structured overviews of the major approaches, and critically study their strengths and weaknesses, as well as of the debates between schools of thought. Theoretical questions as well as practical implications are discussed through examples of particular cases.

Technology Dynamics and Assessment (TDA)

This track focuses on the dynamics of processes of technological development and innovation and the ways in which socio-technological change can be assessed. Understanding the dynamics of technological change is an intellectual challenge, but also of great relevance to those participating in the governance of technology dynamics, those actively engaged in technology development like scientists, technologists and innovation managers, and for societal actors and audiences more general. The courses will include an introduction and critical discussion of theories, concepts and tools developed in the fields of Science and Technology Studies and Innovation Studies to assess and contribute to the development of technologies in modern society, such as Constructive Technology Assessment (CTA). Innovation and technology dynamics will be analyzed on micro, meso, and macro levels with major themes including user-technology relations, anticipation in innovation, dynamics of socio-technical systems and regimes and the societal embedding of emerging technologies.

Governance in the History of Science and Technology (GHOST)

This research perspective is directed toward broadening and deepening insight in the long-term development of science, technology and society and its governance by turning to the resources of social, cultural, intellectual and institutional history. The past thus serves as a kind of laboratory, both in terms of affording the examination of events whose outcomes and consequences are already known and in terms of the opportunity to employ various methods of interpretation. In addition to the interest and importance of history in its own right, this research perspective provides an important background and context for the contemporary and future-oriented research carried out within the department and the faculty.

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