Dr. Susanne Koch


Science and Technology Policy

Dr. Susanne Koch is sociologist of science who explores two interrelated themes from an interdisciplinary perspective: inequalities and their impacts on scientific knowledge production, and knowledge diversity in the context of societal transformation and sustainable development. She works as a Principal Investigator at the TUM STS Department and is associated with the TUM Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy; she is also an affiliate of the Global Research Programme on Inequality (GRIP) and appointed research fellow of CREST and the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and STI Policy, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

After graduating in journalism and social sciences at the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany) in 2010, she carried out her doctoral studies as research fellow of the DFG-funded project “(Scientific) Experts in Developing Democracies” (PI: Prof. Dr. Peter Weingart) at Bielefeld University (Germany). In 2015, she received her PhD in sociology with distinction; her thesis “The Impact of Foreign Experts on Policymaking in Young Democracies – A Comparative Analysis of South Africa and Tanzania” showed the intricacies of expert advice in the context of development assistance with a focus on the policy fields of health, education and environment.

In her first post-doc position at the TUM Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy (2016-2021, incl. parental leave), Susanne continued to explore the specific conditions of science-policy interaction in environmental fields and countries of the Global South, and developed her research agenda on knowledge inequality/diversity with contributions to on-going discourses on responsible research and epistemic justice. In 2021, she received a postdoc fellowship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to carry out an exploratory study entitled: “What counts in forest science? An exploratory study on valuation processes in the context of forest science conferences” as visiting scholar of the Centre of Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University (The Netherlands).

Since February 2022, Susanne leads the DFG-funded project In-Forest which examines gender- and geography-related inequalities and their epistemic effects in forest research. Aside from her own position as Principal Investigator (“Eigene Stelle”), the project involves collaboration with partners at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology of Stellenbosch University (Prof. Nelius Boshoff, Co-PI) and Mercator Fellows at CWTS (Leiden University) and the Tanzania Forestry Research Institute.

  • Sociology of Science
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Valuation Studies
  • Gender studies and post-colonial theory
  • Inequality research

Books and journal articles (peer-reviewed):

  • Boncourt, T., Koch, S. and Matviichuk, E. (forthcoming): International scientific associations and conferences as agents in the unequal circulation of knowledge. Chapter in the Routledge Handbook on the circulation of academic knowledge (forthcoming).
  • Koch, S. and Matviichuk, E. (2021): Patterns of inequality in global forest science conferences: An analysis of actors involved in IUFRO World Congresses with a focus on gender and geography. Forest Policy and Economics (129). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2021.102510
  • Koch. S. (2020): Epistemische Ungleichheit unter „Entwicklungsexpert*innen“: eine empirische Analyse unter Einbeziehung philosophischer, dekolonialer und postkolonialer Perspektiven. polylog. Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren (44).
  • Koch, S. (2020): Responsible research, inequality in science and epistemic injustice: an attempt to open up thinking about inclusiveness in the context of RI/RRI. Journal of Responsible Innovation 7 (3), pp. 672-679. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2020.1780094
  • Koch, S. (2020): “The local consultant will not be credible”: How epistemic injustice is experienced and practised in development aid. Social Epistemology – A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy 34 (5), pp. 478-489. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2020.1737749
  • Koch, S. (2018): Identifying enabling factors of science-policy interaction in a developing country context: A case study of South Africa’s environment sector. Forest Policy and Economics (91), pp. 36-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2017.07.007
  • Koch, S. (2017): International influence on forest governance in Tanzania: Analysing the role of aid experts in the REDD+ process. Forest Policy and Economics (83), pp. 181-190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2016.09.018
  • Koch, S. and Weingart, P. (2016): The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer: The Impact of Foreign Aid Experts on Policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania. Cape Town: African Minds.
  • Koch, S. (2015): The Impact of Foreign Experts on Policymaking in Young Democracies – A Comparative Analysis of South Africa and Tanzania. Dissertation. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.


Other publications:

  • Making a Mess with Methods II (co-lecturer)
  • Responsibility for Environment and Health: Social and Cultural Perspectives on Environment, Health and Technology (co-lecturer)


  • Boncourt, T., Koch, S. and Matviichuk, E. (2021): Les associations et conferences scientifiques international comme agents de la circulation inégale des connaissances. Journée d’étude Congrès Scientifiques et Réseaux Savants. GIS URFIST-LaboratoireGéographie-cités, Paris. 08.12.2021
  • Koch, S. (2021): Tackling inequalities on stage and backstage of science conferences. Invited Key Note Talk. ISC workshop: Inclusive and accessible science communication. International Science Council, 15.09.2021.
  • Koch, S. (2021): “What ‘counts’ in (forest) science? Examining conferences as spaces of academic valuation practice”. 4S Annual Meeting (virtual), 06.10.2021
  • Koch, S.(2021): Wald in der Dauerkrise und die Rolle der Forstwissenschaften in deren (Nicht-) Bewältigung. Joint Congress of Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS) und Österreichische Gesellschaft für Soziologie (ÖGS), Universität Wien (virtual), 25.08.2021.
  • Koch, S. (2021): (Wie) lassen sich virtuelle Konferenzen beobachten? Einblicke und Fragen aus einer explorativen ethnografischen Studie zu (Be-)Wertungspraktiken in der Waldforschung. Workshop Digitale qualitative Forschung – grundsätzliche Ansätze und aktuelle Herausforderungen unter Pandemie-Bedingungen. LMU (virtual), 21.05.2021
  • Matviichuk, E./Koch, S. (2021): Gender- and geography-related inequalities in global forest science conferences: an actor-centred analysis of IUFRO World Congresses. International Forest Policy Meeting 3, Freiburg University (virtual), 18.03.2021
  • Koch, S. (2020): Inequality in Science as Subject of Scholarly Debate: A Multi-disciplinary Research Synthesis. EASST/4S Conference “Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds“ (virtual), 18.-21.08.2020
  • Koch, S. (2020): Epistemic injustice and discriminatory credibility judgment of (scientific) experts: linkages and parallels between international cooperation and global science. Invited Talk. Philosophisches Seminar der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster, 12.11.2020.
  • Koch, S. (2019): The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: a lever for transforming the social and epistemic fabrics of science? Invited Talk. Workshop “The Eco-Social Development Paradigm, the SDGs and Universities”, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 28.11.2019.
  • Koch, S. (2019): The perpetuation of epistemic inequality by development cooperation. Invited talk. National SDG Conference Bergen, Day Zero Workshop “Decolonizing and democratizing knowledge”, University of Bergen, Bergen, 06.02.2019.
  • Koch, S. (2018): Good intentions, detrimental effects: Why foreign aid experts harm young democracies. Invited Talk. Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Oslo, 16.03.2018.
  • Koch, S. (2017): The calamitous coupling of science and politics. Invited Talk. Alumni Symposium: Science Policy Interfaces, Research Academy Leipzig, Universiy of Leipzig, Leipzig, 29.11.2017.
  • Koch, S. (2016): External Experts’ Influence on Forest Governance in Tanzania. 1st International Forest Policy Meeting, Universität Göttingen, Hann. Münden, 16.-18.03.2016.
  • Koch, S. (2014): Undermining Democracy? The Impact of Expert Advice on Policy Processes and Governance in Aid Receiving Countries. 12th Development Dialogue 2014: Rethinking Democracy, International Institute of Social Studies, Den Haag, 16.-17.10.2014.
  • Koch, S. (2014): Shaping the Fabrics of the State: The Impact of External Experts on Policy Processes and Governance in Young African Democracies. ASAUK (African Studies Association of the UK) Conference 2014, University of Sussex, 09.-11.09.2014.
  • European Association for the Social Studies of Science
  • Society for Social Studies of Science
  • German Sociological Association (DGS) and DGS Working Group ‘Higher Education & Science Studies’
  • 2021: Postdoc fellowship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for guest research stay at Leiden University
  • 2016: Dissertation Award of Westfälisch-Lippischen Universitätsgesellschaft (Bielefeld)
  • 2009 and 2010: Stipends of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for research stays in South Africa