Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Maximilian Fochler

Deputy Head of Department
Vice Director of the Studies Programme Sociology

Tel: +43-1-4277-49613


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Maximilian Fochler is associate professor and deputy head of the Department of Science and Technology Studies. His main research area is science and knowledge cultures. His recent research work focuses on forms of knowledge production at the interface of science and other societal domains (such as the economy), as well as on the impact of new forms of governing science on academic knowledge production.

From 2011 to 2014, his APART-project “Living and working in the hothouses of innovation” studied how people live, work and produce knowledge in hybrid spaces at the interfaces of academia and business, such as for example biotech startup companies.  Focussing on the life sciences in the Vienna region, Max Fochler was particularly interested how the specifics of place and local context come to matter in these new contexts of producing knowledge and innovations. In the framework of this project, he worked as a guest researcher at Oslo University and the Berlin Social Science Centre.

The Apart project continued a long standing interest in the changing cultures of living, working and producing knowledge in the life sciences, and in the social and ethical dimension of these changes. During his PostDoc in the project “Living Changes in the Life Sciences”, Max Fochler had the opportunity to study these changes in the academic life sciences in Austria.

During his PhD, he worked on several projects which focussed on the relations between science and society, in the life sciences and beyond. His PhD thesis, entitled „Participating in which kind of governance?“ dealt with citizen perspectives on the concepts of governance and public participation in the life sciences. It has been awarded the “Award of Excellence” for the best Austrian dissertations by the Federal Minister of Research in 2008.

Maximilian Fochler has had the opportunity to contribute to the establishment of the new master programme Science-Technology-Society, for which he is responsible as Deputy Director of Studies from 2014. Together with colleagues, he received the University of Vienna teaching award for the development of a case based learning approach in the basic modules of this program.

Current Research Interests

  • the shifting cultures and practices of contemporary knowledge production
  • issues of science and democracy, in particular concerning the governance of innovation
  • the relations between techno-sciences and their publics


Felt, U., & Fochler, M. (2020). Wissenschaft. In Forschungs- und Anwendungsfelder der Soziologie (3 ed., pp. 308-322). Facultas.

Felt, U., Fochler, M., Müller, R., & Nowotny, H. (2017). Re-imagining and re-legitimising the university - Where past and future imaginaries meet. In Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development (Ed.), Prospects and future tasks of universities: Digitalization - internationalization - differentiation (pp. 25-42). LIT Verlag.

Felt, U., Fochler, M., Müller, R., & Nowotny, H. (2017). Was ist, was soll eine Universität sein? : Imaginaries von gestern und morgen. In Rat für Forschung und Technologieentwicklung (Ed.), Zukunft und Aufgaben der Hochschulen: Digitalisierung - Internationalisierung - Differenzierung (pp. 25-45). LIT Verlag.

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