Karen Kastenhofer is a scholar in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and holds a PhD in biology. Her area of work encompasses the reconstruction of (techno)epistemic cultures, the analysis of public controversies and the discussion of potential governance approaches in the realm of the life sciences and biotechnologies.


Born in 1974 in Vienna, Karen Kastenhofer studied biology and human ecology at the Universities of Vienna and Brussels. Since 1999 her focus lies in  Science and Technology Studies (University of Vienna; Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Education, IFF). Her doctoral thesis (2005) addresses the epistemic culture of biology.


From 1999 to 2004, Karen Kastenhofer was employed as a researcher at the department for the analysis of culture and science at the IFF (research project “Science as Culture”; academic curricula “Studium Integrale” and “Science Communication” led by R. Fischer and M. Arnold). From 2005 to 2007, she contributed to the research project “Nichtwissenskulturen” at the University of Augsburg (S. Böschen, J. Söntgen, P. Wehling). Since 2007, she has been working in the area “Governance of Controversial Technologies” at the ITA.

In 2010, she was visiting scholar to the London School of Economics’ Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR). In 2011/12 she did research for the project THCL at the University of Hamburg’s BIOGUM (director: R. Kollek). In 2016, she held a guest professorship at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna.

Karen Kastenhofer’s work has been co-funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the City of Vienna. She is founding member of STS Austria (board member 2015-2020) and editorial board member of TATuP - Journal for Technology Assessment in Theory and Practice.


Selected Publications

Numerous peer-reviewed papers in international journals, like: Science, Technology, and Human Values; Ecological Economics; Futures; Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research; Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Poiesis & Praxis; GAIA; Technological Foresight and Social Change; TATuP - Journal for Technology Assessment in Theory and Practice; several edited volumes, book chapters and project reports.


Tel.: +43 (0)1 515 81-6580
Fax: (+43-1-) 515 81-6570
Bäckerstraße 13, 1010 Vienna