ZIG Summer School (2016)

Im Rahmen der Summer School „Social, cultural and communicative aspects of health research“ des Zentrums für Interdisziplinäre Gesundheitsforschung (ZIG) im Sommersemester 2016 durften wir   von der Universität Edingburgh an unserer Professur begrüßen.


Dr. Niki Vermeulen hielt sowohl einen Forschungsvortrag sowie eine Master-Lehrveranstaltung ab.


Collaboration in Health Sciences: Ways of working together.
12. Juli 2016, 18:00 Uhr bis 19:30 Uhr
Universität Augsburg, Gebäude D, Raum 3065


Scientific collaboration is key to advancement in science, and gets particular forms when it concerns research into life. The exploration of various ways of working together is high on the agenda in Science & Technology Studies (STS) and this also includes collaborations in health sciences and care. This paper will focus on my research into systems biology, a recent highly collaborative trend in the biosciences which claims to revolutionise medicine. While the Human Genome Project and subsequent reductionist –omics approaches produced masses of data on the key molecules in living cells, systems biology aims to shift towards a more holistic mind-set, focussing on interactions to discover life’s universal principles and laws. The integration of data in mathematical models of life currently targets single-cell organisms – such as yeast – and human organs (heart and liver). Ultimately, it should lead to the creation of a virtual human, advancing systems medicine by making healthcare personalised, predictive, preventive, and participatory (P4 medicine).

Lehrveranstaltung für Masterstudierende

Collaboration in Health Sciences: Ways of working together.

Health research is radically transforming as governments invest more in large scale, national and international health projects with increasing levels of interdisciplinarity to improve health and quality of life. Sociologist of science Robert Merton (1942) already put communism/communalism forward as one of the norms of science, and since then the research group and research system have been central units of analysis, including scientific-industrial collaborations, e.g. with the pharmaceutical industry. Building on insights from Science and Technology Studies, this research seminar gives insight into ways of working together, examining political, technical and organisational facets of collaboration in the health sciences. 

After an introduction meeting which gives an overview of trends and issues in collaboration in the health sciences, this seminar exists of three parts: 

The history of collaboration in health sciences
This session gives an overview of the history of medicine, starting with the Greeks and Romans, via the Middle Ages and the development of anatomy in Italian Universities during the Renaissance. In addition we will pay attention to the emergence of hospitals. These historic developments will show that health sciences are collaborative from the start, but that these collaborations have become increasingly complex, institutionalised, and internationalised. 

Defining the structures of scientific collaboration
This session discusses theories of collaboration, from Merton, Fleck and Kuhn towards laboratory studies. Attention for the growth of science emerged in the 1960s with the introduction of the term ‘big science’, while recently scientific collaboration is increasing as well as quantitative and qualitative studies on the subject. Closely related to definitions of collaboration are the questions: why to collaborate, how to collaborate, and how to measure collaboration? By looking at scientific collaboration from different perspectives, we will discuss the relation between the epistemic and social organisation of science. 

Current collaboration across health research and medical care
This session examines the structures and dynamics of scientific collaboration in health research and health care. Based on the edited volume Collaboration Across Health Research and Medical Care that brings together detailed research from the US, Canada, Europe and Japan, we will shed light on the features, environments and relationships that characterise collaboration in health care and research, exploring changing patterns of collaboration and examining the causes and consequences of team work in the health domain.