Ulrike Felt is Professor of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at the University of Vienna, Austria. Holding a PhD in physics and a second degree (habilitation) in the social sciences, Felt is addressing pressing issues at the intersections of science, innovation and society. Her research critically examines contemporary lives in knowledge/innovation societies, changing research cultures, as well as the multiple engagements of societal actors with developments in science and technology. As an STS scholar, she is author/co-author of numerous books and edited volumes and has published more than 120 articles and chapters. She is currently finishing a book on the politics of time in academic research. Felt has also recently been awarded an ERC grant to investigate how contemporary societies address and care for the left-behinds created by innovations, pointing to the urgency of rethinking our relation to innovation in the name of protecting our environmental futures. Today, scientific and technological innovations are staged as the drivers of societal development; huge promises gravitate around them; citizens are called to assure an innovation-friendly climate, and innovation is presented as key to international competitiveness. Ulrike Felts work has critically engaged with how contemporary democratic societies imagine desirable futures realized through technoscientific innovations. She specifically investigated the emergence of innovations and how different societal actors can participate in shaping innovation choices. This focus, however, is not sufficient to fully understand the development of innovation societies. She thus radically switched perspective, putting innovation residues center-stage. Innovation residues designate those left-behinds of major innovation fields – for example nuclear waste, microplastics or digital/data waste – that stay for a long time and profoundly shape our lives. While they are often neglected, sidelined or rendered invisible, she follows them through society and explore how we make sense of them, live with, and care for them. Giving residues voice makes space for alternative imaginaries of our lives in innovation societies, sensitizes us to issues of intergenerational justice and renders visible whose imaginations, values, and knowledge count when venturing into unknown territories. And it confronts us with the fragile nature of our ways of caring for environmental futures when engaging in the innovation business.

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