What are different notions of “risk” mobilized when proposing and evaluating research projects? This project addresses this question by studying the German Research Foundation’s (DFG) Reinhart Koselleck Funding Program, a program specifically dedicated to exceptionally innovative, higher-risk projects.
Funded by the DFG, the project aims to investigate empirically how risky research is discursively labeled as “risky” in the Reinhart Koselleck Funding Program. Drawing on research proposals, reviews, final votes of review boards, and final project reports, the project establishes three analytical approaches: It reconstructs (1) how different notions of risk are rhetorically highlighted and hedged in research proposals (risk management), (2) how reviews distinguish legitimate and illegitimate risks (risk assessment), and it tracks how notions of risk travel throughout project biographies from project proposals to final reports (risk trajectories). Across these three approaches, the project focuses on disciplinary-specific and gender-specific peculiarities in risk management and risk assessment.