Universität Wien FIND

233041 SE The politics of pharmaceutical innovation (2020W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Adapted Teaching Format
In compliance with the current COVID-19 rules of the University of Vienna this class will be taught in a hybrid teaching format, part in presence and part online. If the number of participants exceeds the maximum number of people that can be taught in presence in the lecture room of the Department of Science and Technology Studies, the class will be split in two groups that alternate between presence-based and remote learning.

Out of the total of 10 sessions, 3 will be entirely held online vial Zoom (i.e. the 3-hour long sessions on November 19, November 26, and December 3). In all other sessions students will be randomly assigned to an in-class group or a home-work group for each date.

In case there are less than 15 registrations for the course, all class dates and times shall comply with those of Group A.

Donnerstag 08.10. 11:30 - 14:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien (Vorbesprechung)
Donnerstag 22.10. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 29.10. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 05.11. 11:30 - 14:30 Digital
Donnerstag 19.11. 11:30 - 13:30 Digital
Donnerstag 26.11. 11:30 - 13:30 Digital
Donnerstag 03.12. 11:30 - 14:30 Digital
Donnerstag 07.01. 11:30 - 13:30 Digital
Donnerstag 14.01. 11:30 - 13:30 Digital
Donnerstag 21.01. 10:30 - 14:30 Digital


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

As the world waits desperately for a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical innovation and their underlying global economies of research, regulation and commercialization have, once again, moved closer to the center of public attention. The debates revolving around drug and vaccine development shed light on a series of intricate questions of interest (also) to students of STS: why does it take so long to develop, if at all successful, a medical countermeasure to the current pandemic? What political, economic and societal interests shape the course of drug development? What could be appropriate trade-offs between rapid marketization of a new treatment (‘access’) and sufficient premarketing evaluation (‘testing’), so that new treatments are both safe and effective to use, as well as available in a timely manner? In short, what are the various scientific, industrial, commercial, as well as regulatory and ethical challenges of drug development processes in global biomedical capitalism?
In this seminar we develop a nuanced understanding of the politics of pharmaceutical innovation by locating current debates – over and beyond (!) COVID19 – within historical trajectories of (bio-)pharmaceutical industries.
Drawing on theoretical perspectives and concepts informed by STS and adjacent fields, we will analyze the multiple conflicts over the ways novel pharmaceuticals were to be produced and put to use – in scientific, economic, and ethical terms. We will explore and attend to different cases, processes and venues where medicines are designed, tested, manufactured, traded, consumed, where knowledge claims about their safety and efficacy are articulated and contested, and where their differential values as public goods and commercial commodities are problematized.

Develop a research specialization in politics of innovation by focusing the particular empirical field of pharmaceuticals
Develop a solid overview of the field of social studies of pharmaceuticals by engaging with key STS-informed literature
Advance academic research and writing skills by working on an individual research-based term paper focusing on a particular aspect or dimension of the global politics of pharmaceutical innovation

Learning throughout the semester will be facilitated by two different modalities:
First, learning through literature study of key aspects of pharmaceutical innovation. Students are expected to prepare the required readings before each session individually. The readings will then be discussed during the seminar sessions, reflecting on their (sometimes tacit) conceptual, methodological, empirical and normative commitments.
Second, learning through case-based research by students (individual or in small groups, depending on overall group size), deploying the knowledge gained through literature study in defined case studies. Groups and cases will be assigned in the first session of the seminar. The lecturer will provide a list of possible topics. If students wish to work on a different topic, it must be prior discussed and authorized by the lecturer.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

To pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:
Oral presentation (12-15 minutes) accompanied by a 4-5 page ‘extended handout’, is done by a research group, i.e. pairs or small collectives (depending on class size and thematic interest). The presentation should weave together a broader conceptual concern or theme of the seminar (indicated by the corresponding thematic cluster and its essential readings) with some genuine research into a particular case study chosen by the students. Each group is required to develop a genuine leading research question for their presentation.
Oral presentations will take place in the dedicated ‘Workshop sessions’ and grouped around a thematic cluster. In the likely case the class size is over 15 students, workshop sessions will take place exclusively as online classes.
Peer feedback provided by one research group to another group. Imitating a friendly peer review process, its purpose is to critically discuss and assess the overall project of the peer group, and to offer constructive feedback. Based on the other group’s ‘extended handout’, the feedback should be prepared in written form (1-2 pages) and delivered orally right after the Group’s presentation. The written feedback needs to be sent to the lecturer one day prior to the class (i.e. Wednesday, 17:00 at the latest); and – with potential further amendments based on the oral presentation – sent to the presenter group by the end of the week (the ensuing Sunday, 17:00), leaving some space for the feedback group to include observations and formulate advice based on the presenter group’s oral presentation.

The term paper is an individual assignment, although it can be developed from the oral presentation. It should comprise roughly 15 pages (word count approximately 6.000). It must be handed in via Moodle by the 28th of February 2020. The paper title must be agreed with the lecturer before the end of the course if it diverges significantly from the presentation. In the case the presentation is a group presentation, each student has to develop a genuine sub-topic for their individual term papers (the lecturer is happy to help in this process). The paper must include a cover page, a table of contents, and a full references list. The paper itself should clearly state the chosen question, its relevance to the course, and the conceptual framework (incl. empirical materials/data used) for the analysis. It should also develop a set of conclusions based on the analysis undertaken in the paper.

This course uses the plagiarism-detection service Turnitin for larger assignments.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

The grading scheme is based on a total of 100 points. These points will be awarded in relation to students’ performance in meeting the course learning aims in the different obligatory tasks.

The maximum number of points to be acquired for each task is:
- Oral presentation incl. written ‘extended Handout’, 35 pts., assessed as group work, feedback by lecturer
- Peer feedback of other groups’ presentation (orally and written), 15 pts., assessed as group work, feedback on request
- Term paper, 50 pts., assessed individually, feedback on request

Minimum requirements
A minimum of 50 points is necessary to successfully complete the course. Failure to meet the attendance regulations, to deliver course assignments on time or to adhere to standards of academic work may result in a deduction of points. All three assignments must be completed in order to successfully complete the course.

100-87 points Excellent (1)
86-75 points Good (2)
74-63 points Satisfactory (3)
62-50 points Sufficient (4)
49-0 points Unsatisfactory (5) (fail)

Presence and participation is compulsory. Absences of four hours at maximum are tolerated, provided that the lecturer is informed about the absence. Absences of up to eight hours in total may be compensated by either a deduction of grading points or/and extra work agreed with the lecturer. Whether compensation is possible is decided by the lecturer.

Absences of more than eight hours in total cannot be compensated. In this case, or if the lecturer does not allow a student to compensate absences of more than four hours, the course cannot be completed and is graded as a ‘fail’ (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfil the attendance requirements on the student’s side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the lecturer.

Important Grading Information
If not explicitly noted otherwise, all requirements mentioned in the grading scheme and the attendance regulations must be met. If a required task is not fulfilled, e.g. a required assignment is not handed in or if the student does not meet the attendance requirements, this will be considered as a discontinuation of the course. In that case, the course will be graded as ‘fail’ (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfill the task on the student's side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the lecturer.
If any requirement of the course has been fulfilled by fraudulent means, be it for example by cheating at an exam, plagiarizing parts of a written assignment or by faking signatures on an attendance sheet, the student's participation in the course will be discontinued, the entire course will be graded as ‘not assessed’ and will be entered into the electronic exam record as ‘fraudulently obtained’. Self-plagiarism, particularly re-using own work handed in for other courses, will be treated likewise.



Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Fr 12.05.2023 00:20