By Yves Lherry In On March 1, 2017
Professor Helga Nowotny’s research encompasses a broad range of topics including scientific controversies and technological risks, social time, coping with uncertainty, self-organization in science and gender relations in science. From the 1990s onwards she focused her research activities on new topics in social studies of science and technology, especially the changing relationship between science and society. Professor Nowotny helped coin the term “Mode 2” for a new mode of applied research focused on solving specific problems. By contrast, “Mode 1” is basic research done within disciplines, initiated by the interest of the investigator, not from external demand. She has authored, co-authored or edited more than 25 books and published widely on topics of societal development, social studies of science and technology and on the relationship between science and society. She has been Professor of Social Studies of Science at ETH Zurich and Director of Collegium Helveticum, as well as the Founding Director of “Society in Science:The Branco Weiss Fellowship” based at ETH Zurich.
Besides the teaching and research activities, Professor Nowotny carried out at several universities and research institutions in Europe, she had always been intensely engaged in research policy. She is one of the founding members of the European Research Council, which has been established to fund frontier research at EU level based on the sole criteria of scientific excellence and pan-European competition. There she served first as the Vice President and then as President, holding the position until end of 2013. Currently she is Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and advisor to the Austrian government on R&I policies. She remains extremely active in the global areas of research, science education and policy.
She has been awarded honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and the Weizmann Institute in Israel as well as other awards, including the J.D. Bernal Prize for life-long achievements. Helga Nowotny is a member of Academies of Science in Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Austria and AAAS Fellow.