TUM – Technical University of Munich Menü

Academic Career and Research Areas

Sebastian Pfotenhauer leads the Innovation, Society and Public Policy group at the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) and the TUM School of Management. He currently serves as coordinator of the EU-Horizon2020 project SCALINGS – a 4 MEUR flagship initiative investigating co-creation in robotics, autonomous driving, and urban energy systems – and as PI on several DFG-sponsored research projects (e.g. Regional Innovation Cultures, Technoscientific Constitutionalism, and METAFORIS).

Sebastian Pfotenhauer's research interests include innovation policy, regional innovation strategies and cultures; the circulation of innovation models; co-creation and responsible innovation; and science and innovation in international settings. Previously, Sebastian Pfotenhauer was a research scientist and lecturer with the MIT Technology & Policy Program and a fellow at the Harvard STS Program. He serves as consultant to various governments and international organizations such as the OECD. His work has appeared in Research Policy, Social Studies of Science, the OECD STI Outlook, Nature, and Issues in Science and Technology. He holds an S.M. in Technology Policy from MIT and a PhD in Physics from the University of Jena, Germany, and has received extensive post-doctoral training at MIT and Harvard.


  • Leading Technology Policy Fellowship (MIT), MIT Technology & Policy Program (2010-2013)
  • Dissertation with distinction („Summa Cum Laude“) (2009)
  • MIT Education Excellence Award for graduation with 5.0 GPA (2010)
  • ERP Fellowship, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy / German National Academic Foundation (2008-2010)
  • Undergraduate fellowship, Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst („Academic Foundation of the Protestant Churches“), (2000-2005)

Key Publications

Pfotenhauer SM, Juhl J, Aarden E: "Challenging the ‘deficit model’ of innovation: Framing policy issues under the innovation imperative". Research Policy. 2018; forthcoming


Pfotenhauer SM, Jasanoff S: "Panacea or diagnosis? Imaginaries of innovation and the ‘MIT model’ in three political cultures". Social Studies of Science. 2017; 47(6): 783-810.


Hird M, Pfotenhauer SM: "How complex international partnerships shape domestic research clusters: Difference-in-difference network formation and research re-orientation in the MIT Portugal Program". Research Policy. 2017; 46(3): 557-572.


Winickoff D, Pfotenhauer S: "Technology Governance and the Innovation Process". In: OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018. Paris, France: OECD Publishing, 2018: 221–240. 


Schwoerer H, Pfotenhauer SM et al.: "Laser-plasma acceleration of quasi-monoenergetic protons from microstructured targets". Nature. 2006; 439: 7075.