Governance of Knowledge and Innovation

The four-year structured PhD programme in Governance of Knowledge and Innovation is an internationally oriented programme. A PhD programme at the University of Twente can be started throughout the year. Read more about the related Master's programmes in European Studies, Health Sciences, Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society, or Public Administration if you have yet to start a Master of Science programme. 

Social, political and economic contexts of technoscientific innovation cannot be black-boxed. In order to understand the logics and meanings of policy-making and many other societal reactions, it makes sense to develop sensors for multiple perspectives for looking at how knowledge and innovations are perceived, ordered, and managed. The Twente Graduate School programme in Governance of Knowledge and Innovation (GKI) of STəPS and CHEPS is at the strategic interfaces of science and technology, higher education, innovation, social and political processes and debates on the future of knowledge-based economies. In this program, we focus on scientifically challenging research topics that are highly relevant for key innovation decision makers in government, business, NGOs and at universities.

Programme overview

Prof. dr. Stefan Kuhlmann
1 year - 2 years
4 years


The mission of STəPS is to contribute to the analysis and understanding of the dynamics and governance of science, technology and innovation. Our basic assumption is that science, technology and innovation (STI) need to be investigated as social processes. Understanding these processes is important because of a rising demand for insights into the dynamics of socio-technical change among various audiences. Genomics, nanotechnology and e-health are examples of fields of new and emerging technology that involve expectations of economic profit and concerns about social and cultural changes that stir debate among many diverse actors and provide challenges for governance.


The overarching theme of CHEPS research addresses the dynamics of the ‘Transformation of Higher Education and Research in the Knowledge Society’. This theme stresses the ongoing reformulation of the function of higher education and research to play an important role in strengthening modern societies’ innovative capacities. All basic functions – research, teaching, and the ‘third mission’ – are subjected to revisions in both their objectives and in the conditions under which they are carried out. Universities and colleges find themselves in a changing environment with sometimes competing claims from governments, markets, interest groups and stakeholders.

Governance and Innovation Studies in Twente

Governance and innovation studies in Twente contribute to interactive governance through improved knowledge-in-policy and democratic, deliberative practices of policy design, implementation, and evaluation. Related themes include forecasting, risk and uncertainty, ambiguity, problem structuring, institutionalization of bias, legitimacy, effectiveness, democratic quality, participation and deliberation and policy networks. Programme graduates work in all sorts of public and private agencies engaged in innovation, research, science, and technology that take thorough reflection, sound research and democratic participation seriously.

Whether in a Technology Assessment agency, in the governance of innovation in a company, or as a policymaker, conceptual thinking and historical sensitivity are crucial to making informed choices about what we should do and how we should approach problems and challenges now and in the future. Cultivating conceptual and historical sophistication guards us against the dangers entailed either in chasing “the newest fashions” or adhering too literally to models.

Within the Institute for Governance Studies (IGS), STəPS and CHEPS focus on Technosciences: studies of emerging technologies, Innovation of governance, Health, and Education and training. STəPS is also involved in the UT’s Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT), whereas STəPS’ research on nanotechnology has been included in the UT’s MESA+, Institute for Nanotechnology.

Internationally, we are also in constant collaboration with social scientists in EU-funded research programs and research grants from various foreign research councils (including Norway and Germany). Especially the Eu-SPRI Forum and the annual CHER conferences will regularly be an arena for our Master’s and PhD students.