René Umlauf

René Umlauf

René Umlauf received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Bayreuth in 2016. His research focus is on the relation between science, technology and organizations in the context of Global Health interventions. He is particularly interested in the question what role tests and testing procedures of different scale and scope play for the production of multiple forms of evidence. In his thesis, which he is currently turning into a book, René explores some of the epistemic and institutional implications the introduction of novel Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) for malaria brings to the organization of primary health care infrastructures in Uganda. In addition, insides from these explorations are linked back to questions of organisational learning in and around Global Health programs.

Current position
Post Doctoral Researcher
University affiliation
University of Halle


In his current post-doc work at University of Halle René aims to expand the notion of testing. He looks at the complex dynamics between changing disease perceptions, shifting Global Health agendas and the role of (diagnostic) data production and how this affects standardization of therapeutic services. Partially as a result of these standardization processes René interests will be on novel tests and meta-tests that are assumed to account for the (non-)knowledge produced and collected through widespread use of Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) for malaria. On a more theoretical level he uses his empirical observations in order to come to a more nuanced understanding of what Global Health technologies are.


  • Umlauf, René and Uli Beisel (forthcoming) (2018) "Outsourcing the Laboratory? Testing technologies for malaria and the push towards evidence-based diagnosis in Global Health." in Science as Culture.
  • Umlauf, René (2018) "'Dormant parasites’: Testing beyond the Laboratory in Uganda’s Malaria Control Program." in Experimentation beyond the laboratory: new perspectives on technology in society, , edited by Ibo van de Poel and Lotte Alsveld. London, New York: Routledge.
  • Umlauf, René and Sung-Joon Park (2017) "Stock-Outs! Improvisations and Processes of Infrastructuring in Uganda’s HIV/Aids and Malaria Programmes." in Global Public Health 1692 (December):1–14. →
  • Umlauf, René (2017) "Mobile Labore. Zur Organisation und Diagnose von Malaria." Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.
  • Umlauf, René (2017) "Precarity and Preparedness: Non-Adherence as Institutional Work in Diagnosing and Treating Malaria in Uganda." in Medical Anthropology 36 (5):449-463.
  • Umlauf, René (2017) "An Option with no Choice? The Role of Preventive Technologies for (Dis-)Locating a Malaria Epidemic." in AllegraLaboratory Thematic Week: Medical Technologies and Infrastructure: Mobilities and (Dis-)Connectivities, , edited by Hansjörg Dilger and Dominik Matthes. →
  • Hopkins, H., J. Cunningham, M. Gatton, I. González, S.Kibira, D. Kyabayinze, M. Mayxay, R. Umlauf (2017) "Prototype positive control wells for malaria rapid diagnostic tests: prospective evaluation of implementation among health workers in Lao PDR and Uganda." in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 96(2):319-329 →
  • Beisel, Uli, René Umlauf, Eleanor Hutchinson, and Clare I. R. Chandler (2016) "The complexities of simple technologies: re-imagining the role of rapid diagnostic tests in Malaria control efforts." in Malaria Journal 15 (1):64
  • Umlauf, René and Uli Beisel (2016) "Translating Global Health Technologies. Diagnostic Spaces between Standardization and Adaptation in Uganda’s Malaria Control Program." in Working Papers of the Priority Programme 1448 of the German Research Foundation Nr. 20, Leipzig and Halle.
  • Park, Sung-Joon, and René Umlauf (2014) "Caring as existential insecurity: quarantine, care, and human insecurity in the Ebola crisis." in Somatosphere, November 24
  • Höhne, Stefan, and René Umlauf (2014) "Die Akteur-Netzwerk Theorie. Zur Vernetzung und Entgrenzung des Sozialen." in Theorien in Raum- und Stadtforschung – Eine Einführung, 203-222 , edited by Jürgen Oßenbrügge and Anne Vogelpohl. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot.
  • Umlauf, René (2009) "Fabrikarbeit und die Disziplinierung der Arbeiter." Saarbrücken: AV Akademikerverlag.