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Current projects

DEWISS – Delphi-Verfahren in den Gesundheits- und Sozialwissenschaften. Konzept, methodologische Fundierung und Güte

This research network addresses epistemological and methodological issues of the Delphi procedure and develops guidelines for the procedure’s use and reporting. The network comprises more than twenty scholarly members from various disciplines and pursues four objectives:

  1. To establish a network among scientists and researchers from different disciplines who share an interest in the Delphi method;
  2. To allow for an erudite exchange on theoretical, methodological, philosophical, and technical considerations related to Delphi;
  3. To carry out methodological tests and surveys to improve the methodological foundations of Delphi procedures; and
  4. To develop guidelines that establish a consensual standard on how to carry out and report on Delphi studies in an international context.

This research network is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

Duration: November 2020 to October 2022

Contact at the STS Unit: Mag. Dr. phil. Christian Dayé

For more information, see https://delphi.ph-sg.de/

The sociology of sociological knowledge

How can sociological knowledge be analyzed using sociological tools and models and what social processes and practices constitute sociological knowledge production? These questions have been addressed repeatedly by diverse sociological approaches. However, such debates were often discontinued, they remained insulated or were unrelated to more common issues in academic sociology. To integrate and to further develop sociological approaches to sociological knowledge, this research network focuses on five interrelated topics:

  1. Prospects and problems of transferring models of science and technology studies (STS) into the study of sociological knowledge;
  2. structures and processes of paradigm shifts in sociology;
  3. sociological analysis of sociological methods and methods for analyzing sociological knowledge;
  4. structure and transformation of academic and non-academic publics of sociological knowledge; and
  5. changes and continuities in the disciplinary identity of sociology.

This research network is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

Duration: May 2017 to April 2022

Contact at the STS Unit: Mag. Dr. phil. Christian Dayé

For more information, see http://sociologyofsociology.com/

The “hasty” digitalization: Reflecting on the boost on digital transformation during the COVID-restrictions at TU Graz

The restrictions, some of them massive, required as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic have led to a worldwide surge in digitalization. However, this digitization has been "hasty": all of a sudden, work processes had to be administered via digital channels which until recently were just one option among others. Austrian universities and their members were no exception in this regard. For the organization, this meant that virtually all work processes are being carried out exclusively via digital technology. For its members, this meant home office, communication via teleconferencing, limited access to non-digital work resources (library, laboratories etc.) and an increasing urge to handle teaching obligations via online platforms.

The aim of the project is to gather experiences as they arise in the course of using digitally supported work processes at Graz University of Technology, especially during this time which is very unusual for everyone. Through interviews and participant observation in a variety of settings, the project attempts to reveal strengths and weaknesses of digitized working processes and bring into focus effects of digitalization that have so far been overlooked.

This research project has been commissioned by TU Graz’s Vice-Rectorate of Digitalization and Change Management.

Duration: June 2020 to April 2021

Contact at the STS Unit: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wieser

ON-MERRIT – Observing and Negating Matthew Effects in Responsible Research and Innovation Transition

Equity is a key aim of Open Science, but Open Science for the few is just the extension of privilege. Open Science needs resources (funding, time, knowledge, skills), and institutions/individuals traditionally advantaged usually have more of them. This dynamic of cumulative advantage, known as the Matthew effect, has first been described in the 1960s by the sociologist Robert K. Merton. Responsible Research and Innovation, and in particular Open Science, promise a more equitable scientific system whose outputs are more accessible and understandable to the public at large. One concern associated with RRI is that instead of contributing towards equity, responsible research practices might actually worsen existing inequalities.

The project ON-MERRIT investigates the impact of open science practices in academia, industry, and policy with a particular focus on institutions and individuals working in the areas of agriculture, climate and health (key pillars of the UN Sustainable Development Goals). A multidisciplinary team of sociologists, computer scientists, information scientists, cognitive scientists, etc. uses a combination of qualitative and computational methods, complemented by stakeholder engagement and co-creation in order to examine the advantages and disadvantages in responsible and open research practices. ON-MERRIT aims at eventually suggesting a set of evidence-based recommendations for science policies, indicators and incentives, which could address and mitigate Matthew effects.

The use of publicly available scientific outputs by policymakers has been claimed to be one of the benefits of Open Science. However, there is yet little empirical evidence as to the impact of OS practices on research uptake by policymakers. In fact, the relationship between evidence and policy is frequently described as a “gap”, highlighting the difficulties that prohibit the use of scientific evidence in policy making. How can OS impact on policies, then, if policy makers do not make sufficient use of scientific outputs as it is? Based on a comprehensive review of existing literature, Work Package 5 of ON-MERRIT, led by the STS Unit, uses surveys, focus groups and workshops to study possible Matthew effects in policy advice, e.g. whose voices are heard respectively excluded, and for what reasons. The Work Package 5 addresses this question by systematically summarizing the evidence to date on how policy makers use scholarly resources with a special focus on open research practices.

Duration: October 2019-March 2022

Contact at the STS Unit: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wieser

For more information, please visit https://on-merrit.eu/

ParisBuildings - Transition of the procurement process towards Paris compatible public buildings
In alignment with the Paris Agreement, Austria is committed to development towards a climate neutral society. The ParisBuildings project addresses the implications on buildings in Austria, considering both operational and embodied emissions. Moreover, the project combines environmental with economic assessments and develops Paris compatible public procurement requirements. The derived recommendations are evaluated based on case studies to support Austria’s policymakers.
Staff member
Konsortialführer/in bzw. Koordinator/in von mehreren TU Graz Instituten
Alexander Passer
Assoc.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. MSc
Project Manager at the Organizational Unit
Günter Getzinger
Ass.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.phil.
Karl Steininger
Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr.rer.soc.oec.
Participant / Staff Member
Helmuth Kreiner
Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.
Marco Scherz
Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Ing. BSc
Barbara Truger
BSc MSc
Funding sources
  • Klima- und Energiefonds
External Partners
  • Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Wegener Zentrum für Klima und Globalen Wandel
Start: 30.11.2019
End: 29.11.2022

Technology assessment for GMOs (GVO-TA)

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are routinely assessed by national and EU Competent Authorities (CAs) for their environmental and health risks before market authorisation. The aim of this project is to develop an assessment approach with a broader perspective that could - on a case-by-case basis - complement the statutory health and environmental risk assessment and be employed in CA contexts. To this end, technology assessment and socioeconomic impact assessment approaches of GMOs will be examined for potentially useful assessment approaches as well as for criteria.

Project Manager at the Organizational Unit: Dr. phil. Armin Spök
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Funding sources

  • Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn

External Partners

  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • GenØk – Centre for Biosafety, Tromsö

Start: 16.12.2019
End: 31.10.2021

EU - CHIC - Chicory as a multipurpose crop for dietary fibre and medicinal terpenes
The Chicory Innovation Consortium’s (CHIC) twofold objective is to (i) explore new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) in chicory for the production of production of immunomodulatory inulin and medicinal terpenes - products with clear benefits for consumers - and ii) to co-develop with stakeholders sustainable innovation pathways for NPBTs. For pursuing this goal the project will evaluate in parallel the value of four different NPBTs (tilling, gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9 for genomic insertion and transient expression, and cisgenesis) with respect to their technical and economic potential, health, and environmental risks, and socio-economic impacts. During the project period the regulatory framework in the EU is likely to be clarified resulting in some NPBTs being considered and regulated as genetically modified plants and others which would not be covered by this legislation. In line with the principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI) project activities will involve stakeholders during the entire R&D process and results will be communicated to interested publics involving also activities by artists. Die TU Graz is WP leader for developing and implementing the RRI-type project design, in particular for the stakeholder engagement. On top TU Graz will conduct analyses of policies relevant to and of possible social impacts of the cultivation of GE chicory.
Staff member
Project Manager at the Organizational Unit
Armin Spök
Dr.phil. MSc
Funding sources
  • European Commission - Europäische Kommission, EU
External Partners
  • Plant & Food Research Ltd, PFR
  • VTT - Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus
  • Fundacja Art & Science Synergy Foundation, ASSF
  • Istituto Agrario di San Michele all'Adige, Fondazione Edmund Mach, FEM
  • Wageningen University and Research, Stichting Wageningen Research
  • Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, USTL
  • Univerzitet u Beogradu, Institut za biološka istraživanja „Siniša Stanković" , IBISS
  • Wageningen Universiteit
  • Europese Organisatie Voor Wetenschappelijk Plantenonderzoek, E.P.S.O. IVZW, EPSO
  • Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica, iBET
  • JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
  • Julius Kühn-Institut, Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen, JKI
  • Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie, IPB
Research areas
Start: 31.12.2017
End: 29.06.2022
Project Contact
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Christian Dayé
DEWISS
The sociology of sociological knowledge

Günter Getzinger
ParisBuildings

Armin Spök
EU-CHIC
GVO-TA

Bernhard Wieser
ON-MERRIT
The “hasty” digitalization: Reflecting on the boost on digital transformation during the COVID-restrictions at TU Graz

Contact
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TU Graz – Graz University of Technology
Science, Technology and Society Unit
Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science
Schlögelgasse 2/II
8010 Graz
P +43 (316) 873 - 30651
F +43 (316) 813909-11
office.sts@tugraz.at
www.sts.tugraz.at