Dr. Anna Erika Haegglund

Topic of the thesis:

From Educational Decisions to Labour Market Consequences (2018)

Dr. Sebastian Jakob

Topic of the thesis:

Regulatory Science under Pressure? A Case Study of three Governmental Research Agencies in Germany (2021)    

My project revolves around the question of how Regulatory Science actors deal with changed conditions of legitimacy. It derives from several key developments in the last decades: (1) the improved flow of information via the internet (Castells 2003); (2) scientification of society (Bell 1976; Kreibich 1986); (3) the relativism of scientific knowledge through experts and counter-experts; (4) the growing risks due to the development of modern technologies (Beck 1986, 2007), and (5) the relativism of science through science and society (Collins 1985; Jensen 2017). Considering these assumptions, my research question is as follows: How do Regulatory Science actors act to pressure for credibility and increasing accountability to the public? To answer the question I will conduct a multi case study with three GRAs in Germany.  

Regulatory Science is peculiar to Academic Science, because it differs in several aspects from it. Mainly Jasanoff (1994) and Salter (1988) developed the concept of Regulatory Science. At the heart of the approach is the assumption that science used in policy-contexts is fundamentally different from science without a direct mandate, so-called ‘pure research’. The main differences are the audiences (governmental bodies vs. scientific community), the time-frame (limited vs. open-ended) and the political influences (mandated vs. independent) of the scientific work. In Germany, actors in Regulatory Science are the Governmental Research Agencies (GRA) that belongs to the ministries. The Federal Government defines tasks for the GRAs like institutionalized and purpose-oriented in-house research in its own facilities and) the formation and support of expert systems under the principle of economy and expediency (Bundesregierung 2007).

GRAs are under public attack if their scientific knowledge contains epistemic uncertainties and conflict in the same time with political, moral, social or economic interests (Leuschner 2012). These can be topics of high social relevance, but also very specific scientific sub-areas. This work deals with these specialized areas, more precisely with the legitimation and objectivity within Regulatory Science. Regulatory Science is all about weighing political, moral, social and economic interests and come to an assessment of uncertainties and risk. In three case studies, I will provide information about the changing conditions of legitimation and the effects on the work for GRAs in Germany.

Dr. Michaela Pook-Kolb

Topic of the thesis  (in cooperation with Friederike Knoke):

Teilen oder nicht teilen – Die Logik des Schützens von Forschungsdaten (2020)