Background and activities

I am a researcher and principal investigator in the research project "Performing ELSA. Governance of and governmentality in nanotechnology and biotechnology research." Since 2016, I am also group leader for "Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)" at the newly founded, national center for Digital Life Norway. I work at the Centre for Technology and Society at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture. My research draws on Critical Policy Studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS).

A theme in my research is my critical-constructive perspective on “responsible innovation.” In my thesis, I studied the political dimensions of nanotechnology in a comparative case study. In my post doc project, I was part of an integrated project called “Socially Robust Solar Cells” together with materials scientists who developed new materials for solar cells. In this project, I studied both research practices in the laboratory, interdisciplinary cooperation, and questions of sustainable energy and society. Currently, I am  analysing which capabilities scientists and innovators have to enact responsibility demands and under which conditions of possibility science governance can transform.
I conducted my undergraduate and graduate studies at the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Vienna. As a PhD student, I was granted a scholarship by the Vienna School of Governance where I completed my PhD in 2011 with the dissertation “Regulating the Unknown: Governing Nanotechnologies by a Logic of Pre-emption.” I was also an affiliated member at the Life Science Governance Research Platform. Afterwards, I held a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Technology and Society where I have stayed since. 

Comissions of trust

Chairman for "Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)"  group within NTNU's biotechnology research

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications

Part of book/report


  • Åm, Heidrun. (2011) Regulating the Unknown: Governing Nanotechnologies by a Logic of Pre-emption. 2011.