Dr.in Nina Klimburg-Witjes

University Assistant
(post doc)
Making Europe through and for its research infrastructures

Tel: +43-1-4277-49625
eMail: nina.witjes@univie.ac.at
Website: klimburg-witjes.com


Nina Klimburg-Witjes is a university assistant (post-doc) at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, Vienna University. She has studied Development Studies, Literature, History and Euroculture at the Universities of Vienna, Erfurt and Göttingen (2005-2011) with a specialization on knowledge and global politics. In 2017, she defended her doctoral dissertation on the “Co-production of Science, Technology and Global Politics” at the Munich Center for Technology (MCTS) at Technical University Munich in 2017.

From 2016-2018, Nina has been a post-doc researcher at the Munich Center for Technology (MCTS), research group “Innovation, Society and Public Policy” and a co-leader of the “Engineering Responsibility” Lab's research group “Science, Technology and Security”. In her work at the intersection of STS and Critical Security Studies, she explores the role of technological innovation and knowledge practices in securitization processes. Tracing the entanglements between industries, political institutions, and users, Nina is interested in how visions about sociotechnical vulnerabilities are co-produced with security devices and policy, and how novel security technologies interact with issues of privacy and democracy.

During her time as researcher at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (oiip) Nina worked together with stakeholders from ministries and funding agencies on internationalization strategies for science, technology and innovation. As head of the research unit “Science, Technology and Foreign Policy”, Nina conducted several research projects on science diplomacy, international collaboration and the role of satellite technologies in international security politics from a combined perspective of STS and International Relations.

Nina has also been a researcher with the Austrian Foundation for International Development (2010-2012), and a research fellow (2012) in the research project "Universality and Potential of Acceptance of Social Science Knowledge: On the Circulation of Knowledge between Europe and the Global South”, at the Department of Sociology, Albert-Ludwig University Freiburg, (funded by the BMBF). She has also been a visiting fellow at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in 2018 and with the Research Policy Group at Lund University, Sweden in 2014.

Current Research Interests

  • The global politics of science and technology
  • Sociotechnical imaginaries of space programs and regional security in Asia
  • Satellite technologies and visual politics
  • The co-production of European research infrastructures and European integration processes
  • Sensors, sensing and security infrastructures 
  • STS and critical security studies 



Selected Publications

Of Red Threads and Green Dragons: Austrian Sociotechnical Imaginaries about STI cooperation with China

Ruth Mueller, Nina Witjes

In this chapter, we address intersections of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and International Relations Theories (IR) by looking at how Austrian science, technology & innovation (STI) policy makers and related stakeholders envision and enact a close relationship between China and Austria in the field of green technologies. Analytically, we draw on the concept of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ as proposed by Jasanoff and Kim, which attempts to grasp how visions of social order and technological development become entangled in the processes of science and technology policy and politics. China is currently arising as one of the key global players in STI. It is intensely courted by numerous countries seeking collaboration and market access. China’s most recent Five-Year-Plan has introduced a focus on environmental sustainability to complement economic growth. Based on interviews, participant observation and document analysis, we show how Austrian STI actors connect their national positioning activities to this recent focus on sustainability. We trace how they attempt to find common ground for relating to the rising and ever so dynamic People’s Republic by drawing on a nationally accepted narrative about Austrian technopolitical history and culture that casts the country as pioneer of environmental awareness and green technologies. We understand and analyze this process as part of a broader Austrian sociotechnical imaginary in the making that constitutes a situated response to an increasingly globalized STI system, while building on and reaffirming central elements of Austria’s local technopolitical culture and history.

ÖFOS 2012
506007 Internationale Beziehungen, 509017 Wissenschaftsforschung, 509025 Technikforschung
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