Prof. Dr. Sebastian Pfotenhauer

Associate Professor for Innovation Research

Innovation Research

Sebastian Pfotenhauer is Co-Director of the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) and Carl von Linde Associate Professor for Innovation Research at Technical University of Munich. An STS and innovation policy scholar, he heads the Innovation, Society and Public Policy group co-located at MCTS and the TUM School of Management. Sebastian is a co-lead of the Munich Cluster for the Future of Mobility in Metropolitan Regions (M Cube), currently under evaluation by the German Ministry for Research and Education as a EUR 45 Million flagship initiative on mobility innovation, and serves as the coordinator of the EU-Horizon2020 project SCALINGS (“Scaling up co-creation: Avenues and Limits for Integrating Society in Science and Innovation”) – a EUR 4 Million European investigating use of new collaborative innovation formats such as living labs and pre-commercial procurement in robotics, autonomous driving, and urban energy systems. He has also been the PI on several DFG grants on regional innovation cultures and European research infrastructure.

Sebastian’s research interests include innovation cultures and strategies, the global circulation of innovation practices, global governance of emerging technologies, co-creation and responsible innovation practices, and capacity-building in science and innovation. Before joining TU Munich, he was a research scientist and lecturer with the MIT Technology & Policy Program and the MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center, as well as a fellow at the Harvard Program on Science, Technology and Society. He has served as consultant on innovation policy to various regional and national governments, as well as for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, France. His work has appeared, among other outlets, in Social Studies of Science, Research Policy, Nature, and Issues in Science and Technology. He holds an S.M. in Technology Policy from MIT, a PhD in Physics from the University of Jena, Germany, and has received post-doctoral training in STS and public policy at MIT and Harvard. In his spare time, Sebastian enjoys playing the violin, spending time in Mexico, and reading (for fun).

  • Innovation Cultures: Co-production of technoscientific and social/political order in the innovation society
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
  • National, regional, and institutional innovation strategies
  • Global circulation and adoption of innovation models
  • Innovation and social responsibility
  • Complex international science, technology and innovation partnerships
  • Capacity-building in science, technology, higher education, innovation
  • Governance of complex sociotechnical systems
  • Science and Democracy Network (SDN)
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science [4S]
  • European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)
  • IEEE
  • ESYS2 – Energy Systems of the Future, Joint Project of the German Academies
  • Scientific Advisory Board – TATuP – Journal for Technology Assessment in Theory and Practice
  • Project co-lead (MIT) for NSF Grant „Technology, Collaboration, Learning: Modeling Complex International Innovation Partnerships,“ 2013-2016
  • Project collaborator (Harvard) for NSF Grant „Traveling Imaginaries of Innovation: The practice turn and its transnational implementation,“ (2015-2017)
  • Leading Technology Policy Fellowship (MIT), MIT Technology & Policy Program (2010-2013)
  • Dissertation with distinction („Summa Cum Laude“)
  • MIT Education Excellence Award for graduation with 5.0 GPA
  • ERP Fellowship (European Recovery Program), German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy / German National Academic Foundation (2008-2010)
  • Undergraduate fellowship, Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst („Academic Foundation of the Protestant Churches“), (2000-2005).