Ass.-Prof. Dr. Nina Klimburg-Witjes, MA

Tenure Track Professorship: Infrastructures, Innovation and Global Politics




Consultation Hours:

to be arranged by email

Teaching: Link ufind


Nina's work centres on the complex and dynamic relationships between infrastructures, innovation, and shifting geopolitical landscapes. Her research employs qualitative, empirical methods to develop a grounded understanding of the interplay between global politics and technological transformations. Particularly, her work focuses on outer space governance, exploring topics such as cooperation, militarization, and environmental justice, as well as the nexus between security infrastructures, (digital) technologies and innovation discourses.

In 2022, Nina Klimburg-Witjes was awarded an ERC Starting Grant for her project "FUTURESPACE" The project uses the European Ariane 6 rocket as a case study to investigate the complex connections between large-scale infrastructures, European integration practices, and envisioned space futures in the new space race. Methodologically, Nina and her team will conduct an interdisciplinary ethnography, linking social science and aerospace engineering to explore the material, political, and imaginative dimensions of space infrastructures and their politics.

Nina is an active member of the international STS community. She regularly organizes panels at leading STS conferences and participates in various international academic networks and societies. She holds elected positions on the Council of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) and the Austrian Academy of Science (ÖAW) Young Academy, co-founded the international network for the Social Studies of Outer Space (SSOS) and is a member of the International Network on Security and Technology in Outer Space.

Nina Klimburg-Witjes received her PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from the Technical University of Munich in 2017 (MCTS) and was co-leader of the research group "Science, Technology and Security" of the Engineering Responsibility Lab. She was a visiting researcher at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in Vienna, a research fellow at the Austrian Research Foundation for International Development (OEFSE) as well as the Austrian Institute for International Policy (OIIP), and a research fellow at the Institute of Sociology at the Albert Ludwig University Freiburg.

Main Research Interests

  •  Imaginaries and Politics Outer Space
  • Infrastructures of In/Security
  • Technology, innovation and Securitization 
  • Social studies of outer space and future visions of Earth-Space relations,
  • Science, technology and international relations 
  • Fieldwork in contexts of secrecy 



Recent Publications

A critical reflection on knowledge hierarchies, language and development

M. Langthaler, N. Witjes, G. Slezak

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the discussion about the developmental value of knowledge by reflecting on the “knowledge for development” (K4D) paradigm. In particular, it draws attention to the interaction between linguistic and communicative processes and the areas of power, knowledge and education. This is considered fruitful to understanding the complex and subtle mechanisms in the reproduction of the North‐South knowledge and power divide.

Department of African Studies
Multicultural Education and Technology Journal
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
506003 Development policy, 509003 Development cooperation, 509018 Knowledge management, 602001 African studies
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