Project Project
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The function of scientific knowledge in political discourse (Ph.D. project)

Research Fields
Innovation, Knowledge, and Culture
ongoing since 03 2012
Bielefeld University


The research project will examine some important key elements of the new governance of science. Part of this is an analysis of performance-based funding (PBF) procedures and their effects, the analysis of actors’ strategies to act following the introduction of PBF systems, the location of PBF within specific governance arrangements on the micro- and meso level, the theoretical integration of the empirical findings, and the creation of practically applicable knowledge for the (re)design of PBF procedures.

Research question

In how far do new governance instruments in university medicine influence the conflict between scientification and praxis development in clinical research?

Historically, conflicts developed in the interplay between scientification, increased political regulation and economization of medicine, which last to this day. They especially strike clinical research because of its position at the intersection of science and patient care (and thereby politics and economy). The introduction of new governance instruments, defined as instruments coordinating actions by deliberation and incentives as opposed to older governance instruments such as rule setting and directives, could influence these conflicts. The Ph.D. project analyses if this is the case. The project will first describe scientification in medicine and discuss which conflicts between scientification and praxis development are particular to clinical research. Scientification is defined as the process of knowledge production within which theoretical (earlier: mythical) ideas about reality (here: human sickness and health) increasingly correspond with empirical observations. I will then describe the system of governance instruments which coordinated university medicine until the emergence of new governance instruments, and then introduce those new governance instruments. I will use the example of performance-based funding (PBF) to discuss the effects of new governance on university medicine and show which influences new governance instruments can have on the conflict between scientification and praxis development in clinical research. I will use the results from guided expert interviews to illustrate which of those influences are actually perceived by clinical researchers and how they cope with new governance instruments. Finally, I will present some hypotheses on the influence of new governance instruments in university medicine on the conflict between scientification and praxis development in clinical research.

Institute for Research Information and Quality Assurance (iFQ)