Dr. Sarah Schönbauer

Post Doc

Science and Technology Policy

Studies of medicine and microbiology/genetics at the university of Vienna (graduation with diploma in microbiology/genetics in 2011). Since 2012, PhD student at the Department for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna (supervised by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrike Felt). Between May and October 2012, participation in the project “Medizin be-greifen” at the Department for Science and Technology Studies (University of Vienna). From 2012 to 2015 research fellow with a research stipend in the postgraduate program “Sociology of Social Practices” at the Institute for Higher Studies, Vienna. From April 2015 until July 2017, work as a research assistant at the professorship for Science and Technology Policy at the MCTS. Graduation scholarship (University of Vienna) for the dissertation “At least a little bit of stability – how scientists do identity work in contemporary life sciences” (September 2017 to February 2018), which was finished with distinction in February 2019.

Sarah Schönbauer currently works as a postdoctoral researcher together with Prof. Dr. Ruth Müller in the project „Plastics-Publics-Politics“, BMBF funded sub-project in the „SubµTrack“. This project explores the social and political dimensions of the input of (sub)microplastic particles into the environment and concentrates on the perception of different social stakeholders and how possible scenarios of problem-solving are imagined. Connected to this, she is researching today’s role of scientists and how this role is representative for constant negotiations of values and morals, such as concerning the boundaries between science and activism. Since August 2020, she is part of the new editorial team of the EASST review.

  • Academic knowledge cultures in transition
  • Identity work, subjectivity in contemporary knowledge societies
  • Politics of plastic, human-environment relationships


  • Schönbauer, S. (forthcoming 2020) ‘From bench to stage’ How life scientists’ leisure groups build collective self-care. Science as Culture.
  • Müller, R., Schönbauer, S., Decker, T., et al. (2020): Plastik in der Umwelt: Sozialwissenschaftliche Perspektiven. Diskussionspapier, URL: https://bmbf-plastik.de/de/publikation/diskussionspapier_qst4
  • Schönbauer, S. und Bergmann, S. (2019) Microplastics by other means? How microplastics can be a tool for inter/trans-disciplinary engagement. Marine Coastal Cultures. https://marinecoastalcultures.com/2019/06/12/microplastics-by-other-means-how-microplastics-can-be-a-tool-for-inter-trans-disciplinary-engagement/#more-388
  • Schönbauer, S. (2019) „At least a little bit of stability. How scientists do identity work in contemporary life sciences”. Doctoral thesis. University of Vienna.
  • Schönbauer, S. and Attenborough, R. (2018) Scientific identities: how to re-engage with identity and its politics. EASST review.
  • Schönbauer, S. (2019) We Are Standing Together in Front. How Scientists and Research Groups Form Identities in the Life Sciences. Published online first in Science & Technology Studies.32(1): 60-80.
  • Schönbauer, S. (forthcoming) A passion for science. Addressing the role of emotions in identities of life scientists. In: Kastenhofer, K./ Molyneux-Hodgson, S. (eds.): Communities and Identities in Contemporary Technosciences. Social Science Yearbook. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Schönbauer, S. (2017) How biologists „meet“. In: Jonas, M./Lassnigg, L./Littig, B./Wroblewski, A. (eds): Practice theories and their methodology. Reflecting on research practices. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Schönbauer, S. (2011) Illuminating the functional role of PTPA via knock down analyses and determination of its subcellular localization. Diploma thesis. University of Vienna.

→ Aktuelle Lehrveranstaltungen

  • WS 2018/19
    Who is responsible for food and health? Social and cultural perspective on food, health, and technology


  • Schönbauer, Sarah (2019) From bench to stage. How life scientists’ leisure groups build collective self-care. Accelerated Academy conference. Michigan State University.
  • Schönbauer, Sarah and Müller, Ruth (2019) A risky object? The politics of ascribing health and environmental risks to microplastics in German media. The Social Life of Plastic Conference. Cambridge University.
  • Schönbauer, Sarah (2018) “An invisible threat” – Representations of microplastics in German media. Micro2018. Fate and Impacts of Microplastics. Lanzarote
  • Schönbauer, S. (2018) At least a little bit of stability. How scientists do identity work in contemporary life sciences, presentation at EASST Conference, Lancaster
  • Schönbauer, S. (2017) “And everybody was drinking Gin Tonic” On imaginations of scientific identities – now and then, presentation at the STS Austria Workshop on “Community and Identity in Contemporary Technoscience”, Vienna
  • Müller, R. and Schönbauer, S. (2016) A Lab of One’s Own? On Becoming an Independent Researcher in the Accelerated Academy, presentation at the “Accelerated Academy” Conference, Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden
  • Schönbauer, S. (2016) Scientists on Stage. How social performances of biologists make values, presentation at the 4S/EASST Conference, Barcelona
  • Schönbauer, S. (2015) Masters of the Universe: Von “Vorbildern” in Laborgruppen der Biologie, presentation at „Wissenschaft_Macht_Nachwuchs“ – Zur Situation von Nachwuchswissenschaftler_innen Conference, Karl-Franzens Universität Graz
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S)
  • European Association for the Social Studies of Science  (EASST)
  • Research Fellowship (2012-2015) of the Institute for Higher Studies, Vienna, as part of the postgraduate program „Sociology of Social Practices“
  • Research Fellowship (2013) of the University of Vienna for „short term visits abroad“, research stay at UC Berkeley, USA
  • Graduation Fellowship (September 2017 to February 2018) for the dissertation, University Vienna