Job offer: Postdoc in STS project “Making Europe through and for it’s research infrastructures”

The Innovation, Society and Public Policy (ISPP) research group at the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) at Technical University Munich (TUM) is inviting applications for the following positions as part of the joint DFG/FWF research project ‘Making Europe through and for its research infrastructures’ (METAFORIS). Applicants should commence work as soon as possible but not later than 1 May 2019: 1 Postdoctoral researcher (TV-L E13, 100%, 30 months, fixed term)

Project description

The project – a collaboration between the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University of Vienna and the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) at Technical University Munich – aims to investigate the co-production of European scientific and socio-political integration processes in the context of transnational research infrastructures. Collaborative transnational research infrastructures have formed an important vehicle for, and expression of, European integration and identity since the second half of the twentieth century, unfolding in parallel along scientific, technological, economic, and political lines. Despite being widely considered a success, such scientific inte­gration has not yet extensively been studied in terms of how it incorporates, and contributes to, diverse ideas of an emerging ‘Europe.’

The project will investigate several case studies over sixty years of integration across different disciplines, with empirical work being split between Munich and Vienna. The work of the Munich team will be centered on the European Space Agency (ESA) and Laserlab Europe (or a comparable project under the European Framework Programs). The post-doc position will be centered on the ESA case, but candidates should have an interest in Laserlab Europe and the other cases as well. You will be part of an international project team and contribute to the comparative analysis of European scientific integration across cases.

Job description

Ÿ  Perform qualitative social science (STS) research on the scientific activities, history, and politics of ESA in relation to questions of European integration and identity; support other case study work;

Ÿ  Contribute to the comparative, cross-cutting research agenda of the project;

Ÿ  Participate in project organization and administration, including the organization of team meetings, project maintenance, project events, workshops, conferences etc.;

Ÿ  Publish in recognized international journals, including co-authored papers with other senior group members;

Ÿ  Supervise Master’s students and PhD candidates;

Ÿ  Support the work of the ISPP research group at MCTS on an administrative level;

Ÿ  Teach graduate-level courses in STS (optional);

Ÿ  Active engagement at MCTS, TUM, and in the national and international STS community.

Candidate profile

Ÿ  Completed/submitted dissertation in Science and Technology Studies (STS), (Qualitative) Policy Studies, Innovation Studies, Sociology, Political Science, History of Science or other field, presuming that you can demonstrate an equivalent level of qualification and subject-specific expertise;

Ÿ  Broad knowledge of the topics, theories and methods of STS;

Ÿ  A distinct research profile in STS or related fields (e.g. demonstrated through publications or previous teaching) related to the project and the broader ISPP research profile;

Ÿ  Knowledge of co-productionist and comparative approaches in STS are a strong advantage;

Ÿ  Previous experience with one of the two case studies are an advantage;

Ÿ  Experiences in (co-)supervising student theses are an advantage;

Ÿ  International experience is an advantage;

Ÿ  Excellent command of the English language;

Ÿ  Strong inclination to work in a team-oriented environment.

About ISPP

The MCTS research group Innovation, Society and Public Policy (ISPP) investigates the epistemic, social, and political foundations and dynamics of today’s innovation-driven societies, both at the level public policy (e.g. national and regional innovation strategies, policy instruments, infrastructures, transitions) and concrete technologies (e.g. mobility, satellites, robotics, energy, neurotech). We are committed to a strong co-productionist approach that treats technoscientific and societal changes as essentially interrelated and co-evolving. Our interdisciplinary group brings together perspectives from science and technology studies (STS), public policy, management, anthropology, natural science and engineering to study the cultural, political, and economic dynamics that shape, and are being shaped by, innovation in the making.

Among the questions that drive research in our group are: How do the practices of innovation differ across regions, sectors as well as political and organizational cultures? Which new innovation instruments are emerging? What is good innovation? How can we make science and innovation more responsive societal needs and concerns? How to govern science and innovation responsibly, sustainably, and inclusively? How do societies envision their future and express social values through projects of science, technology, and innovation?  How do governments and institutions go about building scientific, technological or innovation capacity? How do science, technology, and innovation play out in inter- and transnational settings?

ISPP is currently leading several national and international research projects, including “Regional Innovation Cultures” (DFG), “Cultivating Engagement” (EIT Food), “Technoscientific Constitutionalism” (DFG/NSF), “Innovating Food, Innovating Europe” (DFG), and the coordination of the EU-H2020 consortium SCALINGS (“Scaling Up Co-creation”).

About MCTS

The Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) is one of the largest STS centers in Europe. MCTS offers you an excellent, inspiring, and international research environment at one of Europe’s eminent technical universities where you will find many opportunities and support to develop your academic profile. As the latest addition to TU Munich’s vibrant academic and entrepreneurial community, MCTS is a trans-disciplinary STS center launched in 2015 as part of Excellence Initiative by the German Federal Government. MCTS’ mission is premised on the insight that today’s grand challenges are thoroughly sociotechnical in nature and that excellence in science and engineering requires coequal excellence in addressing associated questions in the social, political, legal, historical, and ethical domain. The MCTS community includes STS researchers from the social sciences, humanities, the natural sciences, engineering, and architecture, and is committed to multi-faceted forms of dialogue across both expert communities and various publics.


Please submit your application as a single pdf document, including the following parts (in this order):

Ÿ  Your CV, including a list of publications and presentations;

Ÿ  A letter of motivation that describes, among other things, your interest in and qualification for the position;

Ÿ  1-3 writing samples (e.g. a chapter of your PhD thesis, a publication, or a manuscript);

Ÿ  The names and contact details of two references, including a brief explanation of your relationship to them;

Ÿ  Relevant transcripts and certificates (e.g. a copy of your Master’s or doctoral degree).

All application materials should be sent to, mentioning “METAFORIS” in the subject line. The deadline for application is March 25, 2019. Earlier applications will be considered immediately. The envisaged start date is May 1, 2019. Specific questions regarding the position should be addressed to the project PI Prof. Sebastian Pfotenhauer (