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Research Group Investigates the Subject of Evidence: From Knowledge to Certainty
Despite increasing talk of an impending ‘post-factual era’, fact-based evidence is continuing to grow in importance for political, societal, and individual decisions. Evidence is based on data that is collected in a scientific fashion but is also a social phenomenon. How and by whom is it created and used, and what impact does this have? This is what a research group funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and represented by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has been investigating over the past three years. The research group is now starting the second funding phase for another three years. Two of the sub-projects are being led by professors of the TUM School of Management.
For a Technical University in particular, it is important to understand how research findings receive recognition and are utilized. “The objective is to analyze the diverse practices that establish the validity and certainty of knowledge,” says Karin Zachmann, who is Professor for the History of Technology at TUM and the spokesperson for the research group.
In the first funding phase, the group identified a number of concrete evidence practices on a case-by-case basis, in relation to each other and in distinction to each other. In the process, the contingency of evidence also repeatedly came to the fore when new knowledge or problem situations destabilized established certainties in epistemic or social terms. Thus, a new need for restabilization arose in order to rehabilitate the guarantee instances of evidence or to create new ones. Karin Zachmann and Prof. Sascha Dickel from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, have therefore proposed a renewal of the funding for a second phase. “This is where the research program for the second phase comes in. We will investigate the concrete forms in which de- and restabilization processes manifest themselves and what dynamics arise from them for the epistemic, normative and institutional order” describes Karin Zachmann.
Two Sub-Projects led by Professors of the TUM School of Management
As part of its multi-disciplinary approach, the research group focuses on seven sub-projects from various fields: science, medicine, technology, and society. Two sub-projects are led by professors at the TUM School of Management.
Prof. Dr. Jutta Roosen, professor for Marketing and Research, investigates the role of moralization in the interpretation of nutritional evidence. Prof. Dr. Ruth Müller, professor for Science and Technology Policy examines evidence practices in preparing scientific research and biographies for ERC Starting and Consolidator Grant applications.
Find more information about the research group and all sub-projects, here.
Photo by Andreas Heddergott