Foto von Sebastian Pfotenhauer

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Pfotenhauer

Professor of Innovation Research - Innovation, Society & Public Policy Group


Augustenstr. 44_46
80333 München


  • Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) for Innovation Research
  • Joint Appointment with TUM School of Management
  • Research Associate, MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center; MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society


  • Professor of Innovation Research, TUM MCTS and TUM School of Management (as of Oct 2015)
  • Research scientist & lecturer, MIT Technology & Policy Program, MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (2013-2015)
  • Fellow at Harvard Program on Science, Technology, and Society, Harvard Kennedy School (2011-2015)
  • Post-doc, MIT Leading Technology Policy Initiative, Engineering Systems Division (2010-2013)
  • Director of Research/Education, MIT Portugal Program (part-time, 2012-2015)
  • Co-founder and co-lead, Cambridge Science, Technology, and Policy Crossroads Initiative (2009-12)
  • PhD Physics (FSU Jena, Germany)
  • M.Sc. Technology & Policy (MIT)
  • Consulting: OECD Division for Innovation and Measuring Progress (IMEP), OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) (2009-2013); Senior Consultant for Innovation Policy, University Ventures International (2012-14); advisor and consultant for various governments on innovations strategy

Research Focus

  • Innovation theory: Co-production of technoscientific and social/political order in the innovation society; sociotechnical imaginaries of innovation
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
  • National, regional, and institutional innovation strategies
  • Global circulation of innovation models
  • Complex international science, technology and innovation partnerships
  • Capacity-building in science, technology, higher education, innovation
  • Governance of complex sociotechnical systems
  • Role of universities and university reforms in the innovation society; innovation in education; higher education policy


  • 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).


  • Science and Democracy Network (SDN)
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science [4S]
  • ESYS2 - Energy Systems of the Future, Joint Project of the German Academies

Reviewer Activities

  • Reviewer activity for international scientific journals, e.g. Research Policy, Responsible Innovation, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Innovation, Minerva, Higher Education Policy, Higher Education, New Journal of Physics, Applied Physics B
  • Reviewer for grant proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)
  • Consultant/Advisor to international Organizations (e.g. OECD) and various governments (z.B. e.g. Russia, Alberta) on issues of innovation strategy as well as innovation and internationalization in education policy
  • Advisor to the MIT Directorate for International Affairs

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • Pfotenhauer, S.M. and Jasanoff, S. “Panacea or diagnosis? Imaginaries of innovation and the “MIT model” in three political cultures.” Social Studies of Science, available at (2017)
  • Hird, M. and Pfotenhauer, S.M. “Studying Network Effects in Complex International Science, Technology, and Innovation Partnerships.” Research Policy (2017, available at
  • Pfotenhauer, S.M., Wood, D., Roos, D., Newman, D. “Architecting complex international science, technology, and innovation partnerships (CISTIPs): A study of four global MIT collaborations.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 104, 38–56 (2016)
  • Pfotenhauer, S.M. and Jasanoff, S. “Traveling imaginaries: The ‘practice turn’ in Innovation Policy and the global circulation of innovation models,” in: Tyfield, D., Randalls, S., Lave, R., Randalls, S. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science, Routledge, pp. 416–428 (2017).
  • Pfotenhauer S.M. “Co-producing Emirati science and society at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.” Book chapter in Siddiqi & Diaz-Anadon: ‘Science and Technology Development in the Gulf States: Economic Diversification Through Regional Collaboration,’ Berlin: Gerlach Press, pp. 89–113 (2017).
  • Pfotenhauer, S.M. “Can innovative universities be made? ‘Best-practice transfer’ and the globalizing ‘MIT model,’” in: Wisnioski, M., Hintz, E., Stettler, M. (Eds.), ‘Can Innovators Be Made? A Dialogue on the Past, Present, and Future of Innovation Expertise,’ Cambridge: MIT Press, forthcoming (2017)
  • Pfotenhauer, S.M., Juhl, J. “Innovation and the political state: Beyond the facilitation of technologies and markets,” in: Godin, B., Vinck, D. (Eds.), Critical Studies of Innovation: Alternative Approaches to the pro-Innovation Bias, Edward Elgar, pp. 68–94 (2017).
  • Pfotenhauer, S.M., Meyer, U., 2017. Innovation & Society: The diversity of innovation practice. EASST Review 36, 33–37.
  • Vincent-Lancrin S., Kärkkäinen K, Pfotenhauer S.M., Atkinson A., Jacotin G., and Rimini M. “Measuring Innovation in Education: A New Perspective.” OECD Report (2014), available at

Consultation, Media, Expertise

Prof. Pfotenhauer welcomes media, consulting, and speaking inquiries on the following topics:

  • Science and Technology Policy
  • Regional and National Innovation Strategies / Innovation Ecosystems
  • Ethics / Responsible Research and Innovation
  • Europe / Globalization
  • Energy Transitions
  • Innovation & Education