Knowledge and technology cultures

Our research is interested in the cultural contexts and practices in which knowledge and technological innovations are produced.

Today’s research and innovation landscapes are highly fluid and characterised by frequent shifts, rendering traditional frames such as the discipline insufficient for understanding the social organisation of knowledge production. At the same time, the societal responsibility of research practices is becoming an ever more important topic. Science and Technology Studies has shown  that the cultural context of knowledge production and the form of the knowledge produced are inextricably linked (co-produced). Hence, developing fine-grained understandings of knowledge and technology cultures and their dynamics is of crucial importance for debating how scientific institutions can live up to their societal responsibility.

Department research has developed innovative approaches to study ways of knowing and living in research, both in more traditional academic fields such as the life sciences or sociology, as well as in more hybrid contexts such as transdisciplinary sustainability research or hybrid spaces between academia and business. In doing so, we aim to empirically contribute to a range of conceptual debates in STS and beyond, including debates on the temporalisation of research, on (e)valuation practices in the sciences, or on the role of new information and communication technologies for knowledge production (e.g. in the dissemination of research results).

Key Publications

Felt, Ulrike. 2016. "Of time-scapes and knowledge-scapes: Re-timing Research and Higher Education." In New Landscapes and Languages of Higher Education, edited by Peter Scott, Jim Gallacher and Gareth Parry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Felt, Ulrike, Judith Igelsböck, Andrea Schikowitz, and Thomas Völker. 2016. "Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research in Practice: Between Imaginaries of Collective Experimentation and Entrenched Academic Value Orders."  Science, Technology & Human Values 41 (4):732-761. doi: 10.1177/0162243915626989.


Fochler, Maximilian. 2016. "Variants of Epistemic Capitalism: Knowledge Production and the Accumulation of Worth in Commercial Biotechnology and the Academic Life Sciences."  Science, Technology & Human Values 41 (5):922-948. doi: 10.1177/0162243916652224.


Fochler, Maximilian, Ulrike Felt, and Ruth Müller. 2016. "Unsustainable Growth, Hyper-Competition, and Worth in Life Science Research: Narrowing Evaluative Repertoires in Doctoral and Postdoctoral Scientists’ Work and Lives."  Minerva 54:175-200. doi: 10.1007/s11024-016-9292-y.


Fochler, Maximilian. 2016. "Beyond and between academia and business: How Austrian biotechnology researchers describe high-tech startup companies as spaces of knowledge production."  Social Studies of Science 46 (2):259-281. doi: 10.1177/0306312716629831.


Sigl, Lisa. 2016. "On the Tacit Governance of Research by Uncertainty: How Early Stage Researchers Contribute to the Governance of Life Science Research."  Science, Technology, & Human Values 41 (3):347-374. doi: 10.1177/0162243915599069.


Felt, Ulrike, Igelsböck, Judith, Schikowitz, Andrea and Völker, Thomas (2013) 'Growing Into What? The (Un-)disciplined Socialisation of Early Stage Researchers in Transdisciplinary Research', Higher Education 65/4: 511-524


Felt, Ulrike (ed) (2009) 'Knowing and Living in Academic Research. Convergence and Heterogeneity in Research Cultures in the European Context'  (Prague: Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)