Transformation processes after 1989 reflected in changes to industrial chemical research institutes

Project duration: 
2018 - 2020

Chemical research and developement (R&D) institutes constituted an important part of the research structure of the centrally planned economies and in general important part of Czechoslovak science prior 1989. During the transformation period in the 1990s, most of the industrial R&D institutes were abolished or transformed into (semi) for-profit entities.

Goals of the project are:

(1) to map in detail the standing of industrial R&D institutes in the late normalisation period and after 1989 (using archival and media research to anchor the analysis),
(2) to establish what happened to the knowledge embodied by the former research employees of the R&D chemical institutes and detect possible gendered consequences of transformation on their careers (using biographical interviews),
(3) to explore the interpretative frameworks deployed by former employees vis-à-vis the transformation of both science and society at large (using biographical interviews),
(4) to map the contested process of “environmentalization” of Czechoslovak science prior and after 1989 (all methods mentioned above).

The project will assess the loss/transfer of scientific capacities, human capital and knowledge during the transformation process as well as the impact of the changes on the individual actors from the perspective of interpreting contemporary history through the lens of Science and Technology Studies (STS).


Principal investigator: 
sociology of science
Grant agency: 
Czech Science Foundation (GACR)