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Science and Politics: Exploring Relations between Academic Research, Higher Education, and Science Policy

Recent years have pointed to ever-growing interdependencies between science and politics. The mutual entanglement of both spheres manifests on many levels: In the face of complex societal challenges, ranging from migration crises to climate change, political decision making is ever more reliant on scientific expertise and policy advice. As a consequence, the institutionalization of politically relevant scientific advice has substantially diversified over the years, ranging from governmental, yet independent expert organizations and advisory positions, to think tanks or international expert agencies. Universities as well as individual scientists, in turn, are responsive to political demands and changing government regimes. Both academic research and the higher education system depend on political resources, the provision of a regulatory framework, a functioning education system and so forth. Recent scholarship in Science and Technology Studies (STS), Higher Education Studies (HES), and Science Policy and Innovation Studies (SPIS) aims at qualifying this intricate relationship between science and politics, in its various, oftentimes subtle, even hidden, dimensions.

In nine different workshops, the summer school will address questions like:

  • How are science and politics entangled in practices, processes, and institutions? How are they co-produced?
  • How do contemporary evaluation regimes impact academic careers and processes of knowledge production?
  • How does technological change – such as digitization or Blockchain technologies – impact science and its organization?
  • How do political imperatives – such as diversity concepts – impact science and higher education?
  • How are accelerating processes of internationalization inscribed in scientific institutions and practices?
  • How do concepts and ideologies shape science policy trajectories?

Addressed at PhD students, early PostDocs, and science policy experts/practitioners, this summer school explores multifaceted science-politics entanglements. Participants will learn about core issues of STS, HES, and SPIS in small interactive workshops. In discussion panels, they will have the opportunity to present and discuss their ongoing research projects with selected groups of fellow participants and advanced scholars from their field. In addition, there are keynote lectures from leading scholars of the field, a panel discussion including science policy makers from various institutions, and leisure activities.

Public Keynote Speeches by:

  • Rudolf Stichweh, University of Bonn (Germany)
  • James Wilsdon, University of Sheffield (UK)

Furthermore, participants are invited to join the FIW Distinguished Lecture by Daniel Sarewitz (Arizona State University, USA) that will take place after the opening of the Summer School on 10 September 2018.


  • Jan-Peter Voß (Berlin): Science & Politics - Relations of Co-Production
    Recently "co-production" was announced as a programmatic orientation for producing robust knowledge and policy. Zooming in on the practices of science and politics, we find connections, intertwining processes, and growing entanglements. But how exactly are science and politics practiced in such arrangements? The future question appears to be not whether science and politics are independent, but which science and which politics go together and how.
  • Ruth Müller (Munich): Science is Politics by Other Means? Career Norms and the Politics of Knowledge Production
    In this workshop, we will engage with the contemporary norms of career development in academia and explore how they interact with knowledge production practices. How do normative expectations with regard to "ideal" academic CVs affect how particularly young scholars organize and orient their work? How do perceptions of what kind of work counts as valuable affect their working practices? How do in turn reviewers read and assess (young) researchers’ CVs and research proposals? How do they assess the quality of scholarly work in a research system in constant transformation and attribute excellence to some and not others? Drawing on qualitative research from STS and Valuation Studies, this workshop will engage the question of how contemporary evaluation regimes affect researchers’ biographies and the politics and practices of academic knowledge production and labor.
  • Richard Heidler (Bonn): The Role of Evaluation in Science & Technology Policy
    The instrument and medium of evaluation plays an increasingly relevant role for science & technology policy at the intersection of economics, science and politics. A recent synthesis for the "Handbook of Innovation Policy Impact" found more than a thousand evaluation reports, academic publications, and empirical background papers solely with the aim of studying the impact of innovation policy instruments. Of course, the evaluation of research in the classical sense of "peer review" has been at the core of the modern science system since the 19th century. In the meantime, however, we observe a growing "outer layer" of impact analysis of whole research and innovation policy programs, research institutes and funding-instruments. Along with this, we find increasing criticism towards a "fixation on indicators" and a lack of self-reflexivity, contextualization and systematization in the evaluation of science & technology. The workshop will present different evaluation case studies in the German research system in order to discuss relevant actors and dependencies, concepts and cleavages.
  • Julika Griem (Essen) & David Kaldewey (Bonn): The Language of Science Policy
    When compared to other policy fields, science policy is not center stage. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that science policy is not equally contested. In this workshop, we uncover that the politics of science is as political as every other policy field, including lobbying, rhetoric, and ideology. To do so, we focus on language and discuss the role of concepts in historical and contemporary configurations of science, politics, and society. We ask, for example, why scientists have drawn a distinction between "basic" and "applied research", why there has been so much talk about "excellence" recently, and why it is that European policy makers have invented the new category of "responsible research and innovation".
  • Tim Flink (Berlin): Same Same but Different - Understanding Different Threads and Logics of International Science Policy Making
    This workshop explores and critically assesses different threads of international science policymaking, some of which have been revamped recently under the heading of "science diplomacy". Participants develop an understanding of the different policy rationales, resources and programs on national, transnational and supranational (European Union) levels. In particular, we will scrutinize different (even contradictory) means and ends to international science policy, i.e. the instrumentalization of international science collaboration for political or economic goals or the use of international affairs to serve scientific goals. To do so, we scrutinize various sources, such as official documents, media coverage, statistics on R&D investments, international science-technology agreements, studies on researchers’ mobility and co-publication behavior, as well as anonymized expert interviews.
  • Barbara Brandl (Jena): The Political Economy of Innovation & Technology Development - The case of Blockchain
    Questions of political economy have largely been absent in STS and science policy studies in the last decades. This is surprising given the fact that science & technology policy intervenes with the core issues of capitalist economies such as the re-distribution of efficiency gains caused by innovation as well as the use of (natural) resources. More recently, however, some theoretical approaches in STS such as "technoscience rent" or "capitalization" begin to address such problems. In this workshop, by using the example of Blockchain and its application in the financial industry we discuss these approaches. Many experts assess Blockchain (the technology behind Bitcoin) as groundbreaking as the internet in the early 1980s. Therefore, the ongoing appropriation process of Blockchain is an illustrative case for evaluating theoretical concepts that link STS with a political economy approach.
  • Berit Stoppa (Bonn): Diversity Management in Higher Education - A Peek into International Diversity Politics
    Institutions of higher education around the globe are increasingly dealing with sociocultural diversity as well as with a normative discourse on how to "manage" this diversity. Accordingly, activities and projects developed under the umbrella of Diversity Management are often torn between societal debates and cultural traditions on the one hand and political demands and formal guidelines on the other. International standards, evaluation systems and other external influences might necessitate the implementation of Diversity Management activities in institutions that do not necessarily possess supporting structures while others do. In this workshop we discuss the emerging debate of sociocultural diversity and management strategies in higher education systems. To do so, we build on case studies from different cultural and political environments.
  • Tatiana Fumasoli (London): Multi-Level Governance in Higher Education and Research - Theory, Methods and Empirics
    The multi-level governance (MLG) framework can be effectively used to map and understand the increasing complexity of the higher education and research sectors within countries and across national borders. This workshop addresses the theoretical foundations of MLG, its potential for explanation and its conceptual weaknesses. In so doing, it will draw from political science and sociological theories of globalization, actorhood and organization. A particular focus will be provided on methods and on the challenges of using MLG in empirical research - how to tackle the multi-level dimension, how to capture multi-actor aspects as well as how to operationalize concepts such as system integration and interdependence. At the end of the workshop participants will be able to critically discuss the MLG approach against alternative theories used in higher education and research policy. Equally, participants will be able to consider designing research based on MLG and developing appropriate methods.
  • Marcel Graf-Schlattmann (Paderborn), Melanie Wilde (Paderborn), Jana Gieselmann (Bielefeld) and Sabrina Petersohn (Berlin): Universities Disrupted? Challenges and Opportunities of Digitization in Higher Education
    Digitization is a ubiquitous phenomenon. It poses challenges that go far beyond technological innovation and leads to structural changes in society, the economy, and politics. The label of "University 4.0" illustrates how digitization entails changes in academia. These changes take place at all organizational levels and affect all missions of the university. The workshop will focus on the impact of digitization on higher education as one of these missions. Our aim is to collectively develop an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of digitization in academia and to discuss the altering conditions of various digitization projects. To do so, we make use of empirical material from a recent research project (QuaSiD).

Interdisciplinary and jointly organized by the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft and the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) the Summer School will link theory and applied research. The summer school is offered each year by a consortium of higher education and science studies institutions and continues a tradition that has been laid in September 2015 at the Humboldt University in Berlin which hosted the first summer school.






Monday, 10 September 2018

17:30 - 19:00
FIW Distinguished Lecture
Should We Do Less Science?
Daniel Sarewitz
(Arizona State University)
Social Event: Reception

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

9:00 - 12:30
Workshop I

Multi-Level Governance in Higher Education and Research – Theory, Methods and Empirics
Tatiana Fumasoli
Workshop II

The Role of Evaluation in Science & Technology Policy
Richard Heidler
Workshop III

Same Same but Different - Understanding Different Threads and Logics of International Science Policy Making
Tim Flink
13:30 - 17:00
Project Presentations I

Changing Academic Environments
Chair: Tatiana Fumasoli

Reforms in Higher Education: A Case of Pakistan
Tauqueer Hussain Shah

The Influence of Politics and Higher Education Policy Changes on the Research Productivity of South India's Engineering Academics
Venkat Bakthavatchaalam

Academic capitalism theory from the semi-peripheral perspective: A case study of Polish higher education system reforms (2007-2017)
Jakub Krzeski

Higher Education and Science in Ural Company Towns
Ksenia Romanenko
Project Presentations II

Evaluation & Assessment
Chair: Richard Heidler

Doing 'the Discipline' through (non)Comparison
Anne Slootweg

Higher Education Policies of Iran: Main Stakeholders'’' views about its SUCCESS, failure, and solutions for further SUCCESS
Iman Tohidian

Survival of higher education institutions in Russia
Angelika Tsivinskaya

Excellence in the National Academy of Sciences in the United States
Ewa Zegler-Poleska
Project Presentations III

Higher Education & Internationalization
Chair: Tim Flink, Julia Schubert

Internationalization, Diversification or third mission? Refugees in the context of the internationalisation of German higher education
Jana Berg

Institutionalization of Collaborations between Universities
Sören Magerkort

Crisis and Continuity: Russian-German Academic Cooperation
René Lenz

Selective Graduate Admissions to the Life Sciences Master’s Programmes
Anastasia Kurysheva

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

9:00 - 12:30
Workshop IV

The Political Economy of Innovation & Technology Development - The Case of Blockchain
Barbara Brandl
Workshop V

The Language of Science Policy
Julika Griem & David Kaldewey
Workshop VI

Diversity Management in Higher Education - A Peek into International Diversity Politics
Berit Stoppa
13:30 - 14:00
Poster Session
Diversity of Forced Migrants at Egyptian Universities
Samy Naguib Samy Ammar

Science Policy for Meeting a Sustainable Agriculture
Felix Gabriel Moronta Barrios

Monitoring of the Effectiveness of the Russian Higher Education System: Between Politics and Common Sense
Oxana Besschetnova

The Role of the National Council of Innovation for Development in the Chilean Innovation System: A Case of Co-Production Between Politics and Science
Mario Cameron & Paulina Henriquez
Post-return Ties of Internationally Mobile Students
Dalma Forgacs

Regulatory Science and the Public: Shifting Borders in Risk Communication
Sebastian Jakob

Bridging the Gap: Refugee Higher Education in Australia
Elena Killiakova
Disciplinary Differences in Understanding Expert Knowledge in Political Science and STS
Dmitry Muravyov

Assessing Impact in Research Evaluation: A Review of Objectives, Concepts, and Methodological Approaches
Michaela Strinzel

Excellence in the National Academy of Sciences in the United States
Ewa Zegler-Poleska
Free Afternoon
17:30 - 19:00
Science and the Polity: Coevolution in Modern Society
Rudolf Stichweh
(Forum Internationale Wissenschaft, University of Bonn)
Social Event: BBQ

Thursday, 13 September 2018

9:00 - 12:30
Workshop VII

Universities Disrupted? Challenges and Opportunities of Digitalization in Higher Education
Marcel Graf-Schlattmann, Melanie Wilde
Workshop VIII

Science is Politics by Other Means? Career Norms and the Politics of Knowledge Production
Ruth Müller
Workshop IX

Science & Politics - Relations of Co-Production
Jan-Peter Voß
13:30 - 17:00
Project Presentations IV

Higher Education & Digitalization
Chair: Barbara Brandl

Does Digitalization Contribute to Career Advancement of Early Stage Researchers?
Irina Gewinner

Use of Digital Technologies in Higher Education Systems, Challenges and Opportunities
Tigran Khachatryan

Imaginary Friends - Interdisciplinarity and Digitalization as Two Imaginaries Covering Each Other's Back in Times of Uncertainty
Silvio Suckow

The Social Shaping of Technology: Discipline-Specific Open Access Publishing Practices
Anna Severin
Project Presentations V

The Politics of Innovation
Chair: Ruth Müller

Foundations of Regulatory Choice: Precaution, Innovation ... and Nonviolence?
Roberto Baldoli

Responsible Innovation and Biobanks: Opening the 'Black Box' of Umbilical Cord banks in India
Astha Jaiswal

Governing through Behavioral Experiments - Nudging as aphenomenon between Science and Politics
Tim Seitz

Social Science Research Systems
Clément Gévaudan
Project Presentations VI

New Challenges in Science Studies
Chair: David Kaldewey, Berit Stoppa

The Academic Impact of Scientific Events
Thomas Trost Hansen

Governing the Future? Biomedicine in Science and Politics
Phillip Roth

Addressing Global Challenges from Latin America. Research Trends in Renewable Energies in Mexico and Argentina (1992-2016)
Matías Federico Milia

Call and Response: Interest and Subjectivity in Academic Applications
Caspar-Fridolin Lorenz
Social Event: Concert at the Beethovenfest

Friday, 14 September 2018

9:00 - 10.30
The Science and Art of Scientific Advice: Lessons from the INGSA Network

James Wilsdon
(University of Sheffield)
Coffee Break
11:00 - 12.30
Panel Discussion:
The Science and Art of Scientific Advice

James Wilsdon (University of Sheffield)
Sibylle Kalmbach (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)
Sabine Maasen (MCTS, TU Munich)
Wolfgang Rohe (Stiftung Mercator)

Chair: David Kaldewey
Snack to go




Download CFP

To apply for participation, we kindly ask you to send a short CV and the application form until 15 May 2018 to .

Letters of acceptance/rejection will be sent by May 31, 2018 as well as detailed information about the location, conference schedule and accommodation options.

Participants are invited to contribute a paper presentation or interactive poster to the summer school program, but of course, participants without own presentation are also welcome. Submissions for presentations and posters could cover the summer school topic and related questions but are not restricted to it. Paper presentations will have 20 minutes plus discussion. Each poster presenter will have 5 minutes for the poster presentation. After the presentation, the facilitator will open the discussion with the audience.


Presenting participants will receive 5 ECTS credit points.


The participation fee amounts to 80 Euros.


  • There will be child care available (free of additional charge)
  • Coffee, lunch, and conference dinner included.
  • A limited number of travel stipends are available.


Forum Internationale Wissenschaft Bonn

Heussallee 18-24
53113 Bonn