Barbara Prainsack (Chair)

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Barbara Prainsack is a professor and Head of Department at the Department of Political Science at the University Vienna. In Vienna she directs the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS), as well as the interdisciplinary Research Platform “Governance of Digital Practices”. Her work explores the social, ethical, and regulatory dimensions of genetic and data-driven practices and technologies in biomedicine and forensics.

She holds honorary positions at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney, at the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London, at the Centre de recherche en éthique (CRE), University of Montreal, Canada, and at the Centre for Health, Law, and Emerging Technologies (HeLEX) at the University of Oxford. Her latest books are: Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century? (New York University Press, 2017), and The Pandemic Within: Policy Making for a Better World (with H. Wagenaar, Policy Press, 2021).

Barbara is also involved in policy-related work, e.g. as a member of the Austrian National Bioethics Commission, and as Chair of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. She is a member of the British Royal Academy of Arts, and an elected foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters as well as the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech).

Nikolaus Forgó (Co-Chair)

Department: Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law, Faculty of Law

Nikolaus Forgó is Professor of Law and Head of the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law, University of Vienna and Co-Chair of the newly founded Research Platfom “Governance of Digital Practices”. He studied law, philosophy, and linguistics in Vienna and Paris. In 1997 he obtained his Dr. iur. (Dissertation in legal theory). Between 1990-2000 he was Assistant Professor at the University of Vienna (Austria). From 2000 to 2017 he was a Professor for Legal Informatics and IT-Law at the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hanover. Since 2017 he has been Professor for Technology Law and Intellectual Property at the University of Vienna and Head of the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law.

He has substantial teaching and consulting experience in all fields of IT-Law, legal informatics, civil law, law history and legal theory and has served as data protection officer and CIO of Leibniz University of Hanover for more than 4 years; he has been responsible for research projects of > 10m €. Since July 2018, he has been one of two expert members of the Data Protection Council of the Republic of Austria.

At the Department for Innovation and Digitalization in Law, Nikolaus hosts the weekly podcast "Ars Boni", which among other things deals with questions of the influence of COVID-19 developments on the legal system.

Immanuel Bomze

Department: Department of Statistics and Operational Research, Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics

Immanuel M. Bomze is Professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the Department of Statistics and Operation Research, University of Vienna. He received his Magister rerum naturalium in Mathematics (1981) and Doctor rerum naturalium (Ph.D.) in Mathematics (1982) at the University of Vienna. After his Habilitation 1987, he held several visiting research positions at various research institutions across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia and also gained  practical Operations Research experience during his work as a research mathematician in the Business & Marketing Research/Operations Research group of the national incumbent telecommunication operator Telekom Austria 2002-2004.

Immanuel's research interests are in the areas of nonlinear optimization, qualitative theory of dynamical systems, game theory, mathematical modelling and statistics. He edited one and authored four books, and published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and monographs. In 2014 he was elected Fellow of EurOpt, the Continuous Optimization Working Group of EURO, the Association of European Operational Research Societies. 2011-2017 he served as an Editor (Co-EiC) of the European Journal of Operational Research, one of the world’s leading journals in the field. Moreover, he serves as the Austrian Representative in the Management Committee of the European COST Action CA16228 European Network for Game Theory. He co-founded the Vienna Center of Operations Research (VCOR) and serves as its co-director. He is the elected president of EURO and will serve in this function until end of 2020, and in the EURO Executive Committee until end of 2021 (then as Past President).

Paul Dunshirn

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Paul Dunshirn is a pre-doc at the research platform “Governance of digital practices” since October 2020. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and political science from the University of Vienna, and was part of the Social Sciences Research Master at the University of Amsterdam. During his studies, Paul completed an internship at the Austrian Institute of International Affairs (oiip) and participated in research at CORPNET, an ERC-funded project on global networks of corporate elites.

His current research explores the specificities of governing common resources (for instance, maritime biodiversity or health data) via digital platforms. He combines qualitative methods with computational techniques, such as social network analysis and agent-based modeling, to compare contexts and effects of such platforms across different policy areas. 

Read more about Paul's doctoral project here.

Katja Mayer

Department: Department of Science and Technology Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences

Katja Mayer is a sociologist and works at the interface of science, technology and society. Since 2019, she has worked as senior postdoc with the Elise Richter Fellowship (FWF) at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna. Her research focus is on the interaction between social science methods and their public spheres.  She is looking at the cultural, ethical and socio-technical challenges at the crossroads of computer science, social sciences and society. She treats data less as a new raw material, but as a highly variable and fragile phenomenon. In the context of data-driven decision-making, data are not considered as "given", but the way we collect, transform, analyze, and trust data is in need of careful scrutiny.

Katja also holds a position as Senior Scientist at the Center for Social Innovation in Vienna with a focus on research policy and development, currently co-leading an international research project on Citizen Social Science. Before that, she was a post doctoral researcher in Computational Social Science and Big Data at TU Munich, where also taught "Critical Data Studies". Katja has been teaching Sociology, STS and Web Sciences at the University of Vienna, the Danube University Krems, the University of Art and Design Linz and the University of Lucerne. She was a visiting fellow at the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (USA). She is a member of the core team of the Open Access Network Austria (OANA). In the years 2011-2013 she was a research fellow of the President of the European Research Council (ERC).

Lukas Schlögl

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences 

Lukas Schlögl is a post-doctoral University Assistant in comparative policy analysis at the Department of Political Science. He studied International Development and Philosophy at the University of Vienna and the University of Vaasa (Magister, 2013) and earned a doctorate in Quantitative Social Science from the Department of International Development, King's College London (PhD, 2018).

His work focuses on the political implications of technological change with a focus on the future of work. His latest book is titled Disrupted Development: The Future of Industrialisation and Inequality in the Age of Automation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Lukas is a member of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS) and of the Global Poverty and Inequality Research Network (GPID).

Elisabeth Steindl

Department: Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law, Faculty of Law

Elisabeth Steindl has a multifaceted academic background, primarily in law and the arts. Other than her Law degree, she holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and degrees in Modern Languages and Political Communication.

She works at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law as well as at the Platform Governance of digital practices, both at the University of Vienna. Her research on data protection and privacy aspects in health care governance takes a special interest in the field of mental health and focuses on questions of legal policy, legal ethics, and legal comparison at the intersection with the humanities and social sciences.

Prior to rejoining the University of Vienna, Elisabeth has worked at arts faculties at different European universities including the University of Nottingham (GB), the Univerzita Konštantína Filozofa v Nitre (SK), and the Università di Napoli L’Orientale (IT).

Read more about Elisabeth's doctoral project here.

Alice Vadrot

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Alice B.M. Vadrot is Assistant Professor in international politics at the Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy of the University of Cambridge, and member of the Young Academy of the ÖAW.).

Alice holds a doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Vienna (2013) and was an Erwin Schrödinger Fellow of the Austrian Science Fund (2015–2018). She did her postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge and returned to Vienna as a Senior Post Doc in 2017. Alice’s work addresses the role of knowledge and science in global environmental politics. She has conducted extensive research on the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and developed the concept of “epistemic selectivities”, which she uses to describe and understand the processes that lead to epistemic authority, legitimacy and scientific and political self-evidence in global environmental politics. She is the author of “The Politics of Knowledge and Global Biodiversity” (Routledge, 2014) and editor of several special issues, research articles and editorials.

In 2018, Alice won a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for her project MARIPOLDATA, which combines ethnography during marine biodiversity negotiations with the social study of scientific fields. Since 2019, she has been part of the council of the Austrian Biodiversity Network, which promotes the increased cooperation of various stakeholders from science, administration, politics, economy and civil society in the field of biodiversity.

Natália Varabyeu Kancelová

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Natalia Varabyeu Kancelova is the project manager of the Research Platform “Governance of digital practices” since May 2020. Within the platform, she is responsible for different management tasks, such as coordination of internal processes, event management, media and public relations, financial management, and daily operations.

Natalia studied Transcultural Communication, Slavonic Studies, and Interdisciplinary Eastern European Studies with a specialization in social sciences at the University of Vienna.

Before joining the platform, she worked as a programme assistant at the office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Slovakia and as a student assistant within the FWF Special Research Programme (SFB) ‘German in Austria. Variation – Contact – Perception’ at the Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Vienna.

Rasmus Kvaal Wardemann

Department: Department of Science and Technology Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences

Rasmus Kvaal Wardemann is a pre-doc at the research platform “Governance of digital practices” since October 2020. His field of study regards the changing nature of work in an increasingly digital world. The focus of his research is on the digital transformations of work in knowledge-intensive sectors, such as academia.

Through his degrees in sociology and Science and Technology Studies, Rasmus’ work has centered around qualitative studies of digital transformations and change management in both the private and public sector in Norway.

Before his inclusion in the research platform, his academic work has included class management and student supervision as a teaching assistant at NTNU university in Norway, as well as conducting and assisting research in the private research foundation SINTEF.

Read more about Rasmus' doctoral project here.


Seliem El-Sayed

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Seliem El-Sayed earned his Master’s degree in International Public Management and Political Science from Institut d’études politiques de Paris (SciencesPo) and Freie Universität Berlin (2020), partly funded by a scholarship of the Franco-German University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from University College Maastricht in Liberal Arts and Sciences (2017) with a concentration on International Relations and Law. During his undergraduate studies, he spent a trimester at the University of California (Santa Cruz) doing coursework in Critical Legal Studies and Constitutional Law.

For his graduate thesis he evaluated the German litigation framework’s ability to safeguard citizens from algorithmic discrimination. As a pre-doctoral research fellow within the Digitize! Project he is developing ethical and social standards for the collection and use of data in Computational Social Sciences.

Theresa Henne

DepartmentDepartment of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law, Faculty of Law

Theresa is a research associate at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law and joins the research platform as an affiliate. Already in her Bachelor studies in Liberal Arts at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Theresa focused on topics related to internet governance and she was able to further deepen her interest within the LLM program ‘Law and Governance in Digital Society’ at the University of Groningen.

In several internships with civil society organizations in Germany and Myanmar, such as Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, Tactical Tech and Myanmar ICT for Development Organisation, she could gain insights into the ambivalent role of digital technologies in society. In a participatory research project in 2019, she investigated together with Myanmar youth the role of social media platforms in the context of Myanmar's parliamentary elections in 2020. Most recently, she conducted a research project on the right to informational self-determination of students in cooperation with two German schools.

Theresa's research interests lie at the intersection of technology, law and democracy. Currently, she focuses on questions around the operationalization of law and ethics in AI technology, the datafication of children’s lives and ways to counter data harms. 

Saskia Kaltenbrunner

Department: Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law, Faculty of Law

Saskia Kaltenbrunner is a pre-doc at the Department of Political Science and a research assistant at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law at the University of Vienna. In October 2021 she joined the platform “Governance of Digital Practices” as an Affiliate. Her research focuses on justice and power relations in digital spaces, using frameworks usually applied to physical spaces from the fields of geography, urban planning, and sociology.

She has completed a BA in Liberal Arts and Social Justice at the University of Warwick in 2020. During her undergraduate degree, she interned at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, and at the Forum Journalism und Medien Wien (fjum). She also studied at the Saint Petersburg State University (Russia) for one semester. She wrote her final research project about the legal and sociocultural implications of digital evidence of human rights violations. She then went on to study the MRes Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London, focusing in her research on spatial justice, marginalised communities in Madrid, Spain, and vulnerability to natural disasters. 

Meropi Tzanetakis

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Meropi Tzanetakis is a senior scientist at the Department of Applied Sociology of Law and Criminology, University of Innsbruck. She was recently awarded with the Marie Jahoda Fellowship of the University of Vienna. She received a master’s degree (with distinction) in Political Science in combination with Media Studies and Communication Science in 2005 and earned a doctoral degree (with distinction) in Political Science at the University of Vienna in 2013. As part of her FWF-funded Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship (2017-2021), Meropi was a visiting researcher at the University of Essex (2018–2019) and the University of Oslo (2017–2018). While being a PI of the research project “Dealing with uncertainty on anonymous online drug markets”, she investigates how social interactions between actors on darknet drug markets contribute to resolving coordination problems and enable these markets to emerge. Prior to her Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship, Meropi was a guest researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin (2016–2017), lecturer at the Otto Suhr Institute of the Free University Berlin (2017), and senior researcher at the Vienna Centre for Societal Security (2013–2017).

Her research examines how the use of digital platforms is transforming the supply chain of illicit drug markets and alters barriers to entry. In doing so, Meropi combines approaches from economic sociology, political economy, criminology and science and technology studies and conducts netnographic research on socio-technical practices of cryptomarket actors. Meropi is the co-editor of Drugs, Darknet and Organised Crime (Nomos, 2019) and serves as co-editor of the Kriminologisches Journal.