Barbara Prainsack: Science as model for society

Photo: Johanna Schwaiger

“Before the pandemic, most people only had contact with science when there was a breakthrough to celebrate. The pandemic offered the first time the opportunity for people to watch science at work ‘live.’ This has brought greater interest in scientific topics, but also misconceptions – for example, that science must always speak with one voice to be considered sound. Yet doubt and dissent are hallmarks of good science – as long as they are voiced in a respectful exchange. Science characterized by open exchange about how to understand the world can be a model for an equally open and respectful democratic society.”

As a professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna, Barbara Prainsack focuses on aspects of medical and health policy – as most recently and especially visible during the Corona pandemic – as well as practices, institutions, and politics of solidarity. Prainsack is a member of the Austrian Bioethics Commission and, since 2022, chair of the European Group on Ethics and New Technologies, an advisory body to the European Commission.