USS-SWC 2012 – Applied Science. Historical, Epistemological, and Institutional Characteristics

The 12th Vienna Summer University was held on July 2–13, 2012.


  • Martin Carrier (Bielefeld University)
  • Rose-Mary Sargent (Merrimack College)
  • Peter Weingart (Bielefeld University)

In the course of the twentieth century, science became increasingly intertwined with technology and matters of social relevance. As a result, science is viewed today as an essentially practical endeavor. Science and technology appear inextricably interwoven with one another. This development is viewed in many quarters as a fundamental reorientation of science and its relationship with technology. Science in the context of practice is assumed to operate under conditions significantly different from the rules and regulations of traditional academia.
Here are three overlapping themes in the course that deal with the topic from a historical, philosophical, and sociological perspective, respectively. The issue involves methodological and epistemological questions concerning research in the service of technological development as well as sociological questions about the institutional characteristics such research acquires. These questions give rise to various contrasts and oppositions such as commissioned research versus research in the public interest, epistemic research versus application-oriented research, research under the aegis of the linear model versus applied research.


  • Nationalism, Commercialism, and Popularization (1750–1840)
  • Utilitarianism, Positivism, and Victorian Society (1840–1900)
  • The Professionalization of Science, Logical Empiricism, and the Rhetoric of Pure Science (1900–1950)
  • National Politics and the Commodification of Science (1950–2000)
  • Beyond 2000: A Reassessment of the Concept of Science in the Public Interest
  • Values and Objectivity in Science
  • Theories for Use: The conceptual structure of research in the context of application
  • On the Question Dynamics of Research: Modes of Finding and Losing Research Topics in Science and Technology
  • Science in the Grip of the Economy? Conditions of applicationoriented research
  • Epistemic and Social Conditions of Scientific Expertise
  • Knowledge, Politics and Commerce: The ethical dimension
  • The self-referential direction of research
  • Institutional patterns for basic and applied research
  • Origins of the linear model and the innovation paradigm
  • National Innovation Systems – the concept, comparative perspective
  • Science funding or innovation policy?