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: The Pandemic Within: Policy Making for a Better World (with H. Wagenaar, Policy Press, 2021) and Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century? (New York University Press, 2017).

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 PhD student at the research platform “Governance of digital practices” (University of Vienna). He is an affiliate researcher at the ERC-funded project MARIPOLDATA. Paul has a background in political science and anthropology.

His current research focuses on questions of governance and global equity around marine genetic resources. Using computational methods, he traces marine genetic resource pathways from the moment of sampling to scientific research and patenting. The aim is to provide a better empirical grounding to current debates on biodiversity governance in the context of various UN processes (see BBNJ negotiations and Convention of Biological Diversity). 

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).

Katharina Theresa Paul

DepartmentDepartment of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences 

Katharina T. Paul is assistant professor of Health Care Governance at the Department of Political Science, University of Vienna.

Katharina holds a doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam (2009). Prior to joining the University of Vienna in 2013 with a Lise Meitner Fellowship funded by the FWF – Austrian Science Fund, she was assistant professor of comparative health policy at Erasmus University Rotterdam (2010-2013). In addition to her Lise Meitner grant (2013-105) her research at the University of Vienna has been funded by an Elise Richter grant (2017-2022) and a Top Citizen Science grant (207-2018) funded by the FWF – Austrian Science Fund, as well as the European Union’s H2020 program where she acted as work-package leader in a project ​centered on the development of health diplomacy in Europe (InsScide).

Katharina’s work has addressed a range of issues in health care governance, including organ donation, healthcare mystery shopping, and the political salience of vaccination. More recently, she has been working on the role of datafication and digitalization in vaccination governance both globally and nationally. She has also contributed to DigiGov’s SolPan study and the Austrian Corona Panel Project. A list of mostly open access publications can be found here.

In 2021, Katharina was awarded a START prize by the FWF – Austrian Science Fund. This six-year project, titled “Valuing Vaccination: A multi-sited policy valuography”,  starting in October 2022, is carried out at the Department of Political Science. 

Lukas Schlögl

DepartmentDepartment of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences 

Lukas Schlögl is a Senior Researcher at the Austrian Foundation for Development Research (OFSE) and a Senior Research Fellow and external Lecturer with the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna. Until July 2022, he was 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 is a legal scholar with a multifaceted academic background spanning law and the humanities. Elisabeth's work centers on technology regulation, data protection, and privacy. Her specific focus extends to emerging and disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence, neurotechnology, and emotion recognition. Furthermore, Elisabeth is engaged in the in-depth exploration of digital technologies for mental health between the priorities of regulation and innovation.

Elisabeth approaches her research with a global comparative outlook, actively probing cross-jurisdictional dimensions. In 2023, she has successfully secured third-party funding for a modest-scale project on ‘Privacy and Data Protection Challenges Affecting Internet of Things for Mental Health: Comparative Perspectives and Pathways for Soft Regulation in Europe and Canada’ (IoT-MH). As part of this research project, Elisabeth also had the privilege of spending time as a visiting scholar at McGill University in Montréal, Canada.

Elisabeth is an active member of the Competency Group Public Mental Health within the Austrian Society for Public Health (ÖGPH) and the IEEE IC Program on Ethical Assurance of Data-Driven Technologies for Mental Healthcare. Additionally, she serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the WWTF project ‘Prototyping a serious game intervention promoting mental health literacy in children and adolescents’ (PSYGESKOM). 

Prior to (re-)joining the University of Vienna, Elisabeth worked in humanities departments at various European universities, including the University of Nottingham (UK), 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

DepartmentDepartment of Science and Technology Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences 

Rasmus Kvaal Wardemann is a social scientist in the field of Science and Technology Studies. He joined the Research Platform “Governance of Digital Practices” as a pre-doc in October 2020.

He completed his Master's thesis at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in cooperation with the Norwegian Foundation for Industrial and Technical Research (SINTEF) and Storebrand Insurance. In his thesis, he utilized an ethnographic approach to analyze the development and implementation of systems for digital automation of knowledge work.

Prior to that, his bachelor's thesis in Sociology dealt with how local institutions implement national policy at managerial, mercantile and practitioner level.

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.

In the course of his dissertation he is developing ethical and social standards for the collection and use of data in Computational Social Sciences (CSS). He focuses primarily on the practice of researchers in the field of CSS, while also addressing the question of when and how instances of digital data use generate public value. Lastly, he examines the relationship between ethics and law in the regulation of research. 

Read more about Seliem's affiliated doctoral project here.

Theresa Henne

DepartmentDepartment of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law, Faculty of Law

Theresa Henne 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. 

Connor Hogan

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences 

Connor Hogan is a pre-doc research assistant at the Department of Political Science since March 2023 and joins the research platform as an affiliate. As part of the Digitize! Project he is helping to develop ethical and social standards for the collection and use of data in Computational Social Science (CSS).

He earned his Master of Science in Politics from University College Dublin (2021), where he also tutored in Political Theory and Comparative Politics. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Queen’s University, Belfast (2017). For his master’s thesis, he explored how systems of labour law develop in extreme physical environments, to assess how the rights of future workers may be protected in outer space. He has also written on issues of citizenship and UK-EU space policy. Connor’s research interests concern the political and ethical challenges of technological development, with a focus on labour and the future of work.

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. 

Read more about Saskia's affiliated doctoral project here.

Meropi Tzanetakis

Department: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Meropi Tzanetakis is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in Criminology at the University of Manchester. Prior, Meropi was a Senior Scientist at the Department of Applied Sociology of Law and Criminology at the University of Innsbruck and a Senior Postdoc Fellow at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna. Her research contributes to two lines of research. First, it explores how digitally mediated forms of drug-related deviance emerge and how traditional forms of demand and supply change. In doing so, she contributes to the emerging field of digital criminology. Second, it explores how drug distributing platforms emerge as infrastructures that mediate between different user groups. The rise of the platform to the dominant business model is widely discussed as platformisation. In relation to both research directions, Meropi applies critical social theories and combines digital and analogue research methods. By combining concepts from criminology, economic sociology and political economy, Meropi also regularly employs an interdisciplinary approach. Her research has appeared in high-impact journals such as the International Journal of Drug Policy and Qualitative Research, among others. She edited Drugs, darknet and organised crime. Challenges for politics, judiciary and drug counseling (with Heino Stöver) and a special issue on Drugs and Digital Technologies (with Bernd Werse) of Kriminologisches Journal.

Meropi holds a doctoral degree in Political Science with distinction from the University of Vienna and an MA in Political Science, Media Studies and Communication Science with distinction from the University of Vienna. As part of her FWF-funded Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship, Meropi was a visiting researcher at the University of Essex and the University of Oslo. Prior to that, she was a guest researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. Meropi is editorial board member of the journal Kriminologisches Journal (KrimJ, since 2017) and elected board member of the Economic Sociology Research Network of the European Sociological Association (since 2021).

Read more about Meropi's affiliated project here.