Research

maastricht-by-night-940x220MUSTS studies the relations between science, technology and society, focusing in particular on “cultures of innovation”. We are interested in settings that are infused with new knowledge, instruments, artefacts and skills. We examine for example how change and innovation evolve in cultures such as the engineering workshop, the regulatory body, the laboratory, the audio studio, the science café, or the hospital.

Our research has a strong coherence in terms of approach and methodology. Cultures of innovation are studied in a radically interdisciplinary way. The classic disciplines of sociology, history and philosophy play an important constituting role. Sociological problems are historicized; historical questions are shown to have normative dimensions; and ethical issues are studied as social phenomena. Analysis typically moves between different levels (from micro-level studies of local practices to macro-level questions of governance, policy and morality). MUSTS research is adventurous in exploring a variety of theoretical and empirical fault lines; but it is always rigorous in its methodological approach, theoretical grounding, and scholarly justifications.

Main research themes:

  1. Governance of risk and vulnerability – telecommunication standardisation, hospital safety, nanotechnology governance, livelihoods in India, risks of chemicals and low-intensity electromagnetic radiation, and computer simulations for water management;
  2. Technological cultures of sound – innovation in musical instruments, airport noise regulation, the epistemological status of sonic laboratory skills, the rise of car sound design;
  3. Scientific research and innovation cultures – historical studies of the chemical industry, co-production of biological sciences and urban ecology, mutual shaping of international science and politics, research collaboration and value systems;
  4. Media technologies in knowledge and culture – digitisation of scientific and scholarly research practices, digital health and medicine, open access, participatory practices in research and cultural heritage;
  5. Techno-moral change – with a special focus on life sciences and emerging technologies.