New FWF-funded START project October 2022 – September 2028 – VALUE VACC

My main focus is on vaccination governance, working from an interdisciplinary vantage point that brings together critical policy studies and science and technology studies. This work is funded by a FWF – Austrian Science Fund START prize (1,2 mio EUR) that allows me to bring together a fantastic team of junior and early career researchers in my research group VALUE-VACC (Valuing Vaccination).

In this six-year research project, we examine how different actors value vaccination and which valuation repertoires they use to do this (scientific, economic, ethical, social, or personal). These repertoires, we hypothesize, both reflect and reproduce broader societal perceptions of governance. We examine valuation practices in five sites relevant to vaccination governance, with Austria as a paradigmatic case: policy programs, primary care, industry, scientific research, and social media. We ask: how do different actors assign value to vaccination and its governance, and how, in turn, do these valuations both reflect and produce particular forms of governance?

We use expert interviews, biographical interviews with parents, ethnographic observations, desk research, and content analysis of digital forums. In doing so, we develop a new methodology termed multi-sited policy valuography.  We hope that by documenting the multiplicity of value concepts that shape vaccination practices we can contribute to politically sustainable immunization strategies both for existing and emerging vaccines (including those targeting SARS-CoV-2).

Research Profile

Comparative Health and Consumer Policy
I have specialised in comparative health policy and have recently worked mostly on the topic of vaccination. My approach is informed by interpretive methodologies and I am an active member of the  Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) network as well as the ECPR Standing Group on Theoretical Perspectives in Policy Analysis.

A critical policy approach to Europeanization 
Both in my PhD and my postdoctoral work, I have approached questions of EU integration and Europeanization empirically. In my research on health and consumer policy, studying practices both at the level of the nation state and the EU level – inasmuch as these are separate – is a particularly useful way of accentuating singularities of cases. I find a comparative case-study approach particularly instructive for learning more about how policies emerge, what they do, and how they are contested in different sites.

Methodological innovation and citizen science 
I have strongly drawn on expert interviews throughout my research and have conducted these in several highly politicised but also expert-centered policy areas (food safety, consumer policy, public health etc). More recently, I have turned towards opening up the notion of value, seeking to develop what I call a ‘policy valuagraphy’ (Datta et al 2020) and bringing together scholarship from STS and policy studies.

In an attempt to push the boundaries of social scientific tradition, I have also experimented with citizen science methods by involving over 70 adolescents in my research on the vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). I’m an active member of the Austrian Citizen Science Platform, a transdisciplinary community that seeks to promote, but also reflect on, the role of citizen science across disciplines, as well as in research policy (cf. Heigl et al 2020).


KNOW-VACC: Wissensproduktion und Regieren in der Impfpolitik
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)
1/03/17 → 30/11/21
RolePI, supervising two junior researchers.

SolPan: Solidarity in times of a pandemic: What do people do, and why? A comparative and longitudinal qualitative study. Role: Project partner (CeSCoS), lead role in development of interview guide, interviewer in Austria and the Netherlands.

InsSciDE: Inventing a Shared Science Diplomacy for Europe. Work Package leader of WP 5 “Health” European Commission (H2020) 1.12.2017→ 30.11.2021 Role: Supervising two junior researchers, research on health diplomacy, project management.

CODE IT! Impfpolitik in Österreich: SchülerInnen lesen mit
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)
13/05/16 → 30/06/17 Role: PI, supervising a team of three junior researchers.

Die Politisierung der HPV Impfung – Governing cervical cancer prevention in Austria and the Netherlands Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)
4/12/12 → 31/07/16
Role: PI

Improving oversight of clinical trials,  co-applicant with Samantha Adams in favour of Lise Meitner Fellowship (FWF) 04/2013 – 10/2014 ZonMW Grant (ca. 150.000 €) Project ID: 80-83505-98-007 Role: Member of Advisory Board

all content © 2017 by Dr. Katharina T. Paul

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