Picture of Ruth Müller

Prof. Dr. phil. Ruth Müller

Assistant Professorship of Science and Technology Policy (Prof. Müller)

Postal address

Augustenstr. 44_46
80333 München



Studies of molecular biology with specializations in genetics, cell biology and Science & Technology Studies (STS) at the University of Vienna, Austria (2001-2007). Researcher at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria; research field: breast cancer (2001-2005). Researcher and M.Sc. student (2005-2007) as well as PhD student (2007-2012) at the Department of Science & Technology Studies, University of Vienna, Austria. Postdoc at the Austrian Institute of International Affairs, Science & Technology Policy Group (2012-2013), and the Research Policy Institute, Lund University, Sweden (2013-2015). Visiting researcher at the Science & Justice Research Center, University of California Santa Cruz, U.S. (2010, 2011 & 2014). In February 2015, appointment as assistant professor of Science & Technology Policy at the Munich Center for Technology in Society, a co-appointment with the TUM School of Life Sciences and the TUM School of Management.

Research Areas

  • Academic Knowledge Cultures in Transformation

This research focus explores how contemporary governance practices in academic institutions and in science policy (e.g. evaluation processes, career norms, funding structures) affect work and knowledge cultures within academic institutions. This type of research, which explores the interactions between normative structures and epistemic processes, offers a vital basis for a reflexive type of science governance that proactively engages with the outcomes of its practices and reflexively adapts its  strategies to address unintended effects.

  • Emergent Knowledge Cultures in the Life Sciences

This research focus explores how novel research ideas unfold within the normative structures of contemporary academia and its societal contexts. Based on my own interdisciplinary background, which includes an M.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology, my work focuses specifically on emergent knowledge cultures in the life sciences and traces the epistemic, social and political dynamics emerging with new forms of life science knowledge and biotechnology. Current research focuses on environmental epigenetics, a research field that explores gene-environment interactions; novel genome editing technologies such as CRISPRCas9; and issues in environmental toxicology, such as microplastics. My projects seek to examine what responsible research and innovation could mean in each situated context, and in relation to and collaboration with the specific stakeholders in each case.

  • Gender, Diversity and Social Justice

Across all research activities, my work examines how the research formations at hand respond to and affect questions of social and environmental justice. I understand categories of social stratification, such as gender, race, ethnicity and class, as deeply intersectional, that is they emerge and need to be studied in relation to each other. Ongoing research projects at my professorship are currently funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Bavarian Research Foundation (Bayerische Forschungsstiftung) and EU Horizon 2020 program.


  • Marie Curie Co-Fund Fellowship, FORTE, Swedish Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (2014)
  • Doc.Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis, University of Vienna, Austria (2012)
  • Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Vienna, Austria (2011)
  • Mobility Research Fellowship of the Austrian Genome Research Program ‘Gen-AU’, Federal Ministry for Science & Research, Austria (2010)


  • Working Group ‘Higher Education & Science Studies’, German Sociological Association
  • European Association for the Social Studies of Science [EASST]
  • Society for Social Studies of Science 4S
  • STS Austria

Review work & expertises

  • Reviewer for international journals such as Social Studies of Science, Science, Technology & Human Values, BioSocieties, Science as Culture, Minerva, Research Policy, Science & Public Policy
  • Reviewer for funding programs of the German Research Foundation DFG, the European Research Council ERC and the Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Member of the advisory group of the task force on internationalization of science, technology & innovation of the Austrian Federal Government (2012-2013)

Publications (Selection)


  • Lloyd, Stephanie & Müller, Ruth (2018): “Situating the Biosocial: Empirical Engagements with Environmental Epigenetics from the Lab to the Clinic.” Introduction to the Special Issue. BioSocieties.
  • Meloni, Maurizio & Müller, Ruth (2018): “Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance and Social Responsibility: Perspectives from the Social Sciences.” Environmental Epigenetics, 4(2), 1-10.
  • Müller, Ruth & Samaras, Georgia (2018): “Epigenetics and Aging Research: Between Adult Malleability and Early Life Programming.” BioSocieties, 1-22, online early.
  • Müller, Ruth et al. (2017): “The Biosocial Genome? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Epigenetics, Health and Society.” EMBO reports, 18, 1677-82.
  • Müller, Ruth (2017): “Der epigenetische Körper. Zwischen biosozialer Komplexität und Umweltdeterminismus.” Open Gender Journal, Jg.1, doi:10.17169/ogj.2017.17.
  • Müller, Ruth & de Rijcke, Sarah (2017): “Thinking with Indicators. Exploring the Epistemic Impacts of Academic Performance Indicators in the Life Sciences.” Research Evaluation, 26(3), 157-168.
  • Kenney, Martha & Müller, Ruth (2017): “Of Rats and Women: Narratives of Motherhood in Environmental Epigenetics.” BioSocieties, 12(1), 23-46.
  • Müller, Ruth (2017) “Crafting a Career in STS: Meaning Making, Assessment and Interdisciplinary Engagement.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 3, 84-91.
  • Fochler, Maximilian, Felt, Ulrike & Müller, Ruth (2016) “Unsustainable Growth, Hyper-Competition, and Worth in Life Science Research: Narrowing Evaluative Repertoires in Doctoral and Postdoctoral Scientists’ Work and Lives.” Minerva, 54(2), 175-200.
  • Müller, Ruth (2014): “Racing for What? Anticipation and Acceleration in the Work and Career Practices of Academic Life Science Postdocs.” [43 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(3). http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1403150.
  • Müller, Ruth (2014): “Postdoctoral Life Scientists and Supervision Work in the New Corporate University: A Case Study of Changes in the Cultural Norms of Science.” Minerva, 52(3), 329-349.
  • Müller, Ruth & Kenney, Martha (2014): “Agential Conversations. On Interviewing Life Scientists and the Politics of Mundane Research Practices.” Science as Culture, 23(4), 537-559.
  • Pickersgill, Martyn, Niewöhner, Jörg, Martin, Paul, Müller, Ruth & Cunningham-Burley, Sarah (2013): “Mapping the New Molecular Landscape: Social and Ethical Aspects of Epigenetics.” New Genetics & Society, 32, 429-447.
  • Müller, Ruth (2012): “Collaborating in Life Science Research Groups: The Question of Authorship.” Higher Education Policy, 25, 289–311.
  • Felt, Ulrike & Müller, Ruth (2011): “Tentative (Id)entities: On Technopolitical Cultures and the Experiencing of Genetic Testing.” BioSocieties, 6, 342-363.


  • Müller, Ruth (in press): “Racing for What? Anticipation and Acceleration in the Work and Career Practices of Academic Life Science Postdocs.” In: Cannizzo, F. & Osbaldiston, N. (eds.): The Social Structure of Global Academia, New York: Routledge. (Reprint of Müller 2014).
  • Kenney, Martha & Müller, Ruth (2018): “Of Rats and Women: Narratives of Motherhood in Environmental Epigenetics.” In: Meloni, M., Cromby, J., Fitzgerald, D. & Lloyd, S. (eds.): The Palgrave Handbook of Biology and Society, London: Springer, 799-830. (Reprint of Kenney & Müller 2017).
  • Felt, Ulrike, Fochler, Maximilian, Müller, Ruth & Nowotny, Helga (2017): “Was ist, was soll eine Universität sein?: Imaginaries von gestern und morgen.” In: Rat für Forschung und Technologieentwicklung (eds.) Zukunft und Aufgaben der Hochschulen, Wien: LIT Verlag, 25-46.
  • Müller, Ruth & Witjes, Nina (2014): “Of Red Threads and Green Dragons. Austrian Sociotechnical Imaginaries about STI cooperation with China.” In: Mayer, M., Carpes M. & Knoblich, R. (eds.): International Relations and the Global Politics of Science and Technology, Vol. 2: Perspectives, Cases, and Methods. Berlin: Springer, 47-66.
  • Müller, Ruth (2013): “‘Karriere machen’ in den Lebenswissenschaften: Welche Rolle spielt Geschlecht?” In: Binner, K., Kubicek, B., Rozwandowicz, A., Weber, L. (Hgg.): Die unternehmerische Hochschule aus der Perspektive der Geschlechterforschung. Zwischen Aufbruch und Beharrung. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 118-136.

Scientific Commentaries


  • Hamann, Julian, et al. (2018): “Aktuelle Herausforderungen der Wissenschafts- und Hochschulforschung: Eine kollektive Standortbestimmung.” Soziologie, 47(2), 187-203.
  • Hanson, Mark & Müller, Ruth (2017): “Epigenetic Inheritance and the Responsibility for Health in Society.” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 5(1), 11-12.
  • Farías, Ignacio, Müller, Ruth & Passoth, Jan-Hendrik (2017): “Collaboration and Other Forms of Productive Idiocy.” EASST Review, 36(1).
  • Maasen, Sabine, Farías, Ignacio, Meyer, Uli, Müller, Ruth, Passoth, Jan-Hendrik, Pfotenhauer, Sebastian, Pietsch, Wolfgang & Zachmann, Karin (2017): “Raising the stakes for STS in Germany.” EASST Review, 36(1).
  • Rushforth Alex, de Rijcke, Sarah, Beaulieu, Anne, Wouters, Paul & Müller, Ruth, et al. (2015): “The Author Multiple: Reflections on a One Week Lorentz-Workshop on Authorship in Transition.” EASST Review, 34(2), 8-12.

Media articels & interviews (selection)