Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies

Participation, Governance and Technology Assessment Research Area

Researching and Testing New Approaches to Participation, Governance and Technology and Risk Assessment

ZIRIUS researches and explores new forms of participation in politics, economy, science, and civil society in a wide variety of contexts.

The main focus in the area of governance at ZIRIUS is on risk management. We study innovative, participative approaches that allow for the inclusion and consideration of all relevant stakeholders, their interactions and communication with each other, as well as their processes of decision-making.


Against the background of pluralised living environments, ZIRIUS explores the following aspects of technology assessment: scientific assessment, social assessment, and the chances of influencing and shaping socio-technical development. Participation of all relevant stakeholders is essential here.


The integrated approach taken in this research area allows for generating knowledge and identifying resources for supporting decision-making. Thus, we address societal challenges and their implications for politics, the economy, science and civil society.

Current Projects

The project focuses on a country-by-country, representative population survey of attitudes to climate change and the energy transition in Britain, Germany, France and Norway. An analysis of the socio-political contexts and an international stakeholder panel form the basis of the theoretically sound survey tool. The “Topline Findings” report in the EPCC study offers an insight into the main findings.

To the Project

IBESSA examines the life cycle of energy scenarios, in other words processes from creation to reception and processing by social stakeholders. Scenarios should be plausible; but what does this mean in methodological development? How do scenario users evaluate plausibility and what does this mean for the effectiveness of scenarios? IBESSA develops empirical and conceptual perspectives in relation to this.

To the Project

The tasks of the healthcare system in Baden-Württemberg are increasing. Therefore, discussions with patients were carried out to determine needs and wishes for a future healthcare system in the region, and bundle them into a proposal for the state government.

The model project develops a concept for a sustainable healthcare supply structure.

To the Project

The aim of PROSO is to encourage the participation of third-sector stakeholders and citizens in the area of research and innovation. Options and recommendations for this are developed using three exemplary fields: nanotechnology, health and nutrition and bioeconomy.

To the Project

Using the example of the Río Lurín water catchment area in the region of Lima, Peru, experts from various disciplines are collaborating in the joint project TRUST to develop planning tools as well as water and wastewater disposal concepts primarily for drinking water supply. ZIRIUS coordinates the project with the overall objective of contributing to the achievement of the sustainable development goals.

To the Project

Children and young people develop their own climate protection measures for their municipality. This reduces the discrepancy between being able to take part in decision-making and having to assume the consequences.

As part of the German National Climate Initiative (NKI), support is being given to German municipalities that offer their young people the freedom to develop their own projects. With WirWollenMehr, young people decide for themselves which climate protection measures they find sensible and necessary. The young people will be introduced to the subject of climate protection through a series of workshops. The jointly developed proposals and specifically planned measures will be implemented by and with the young people. 

To the Project

Members of Research Area Participation, Governance and Technology Assessment


This picture showsSarah-Kristina Wist

Sarah-Kristina Wist

Spokesperson for the Research Area Participation, Governance and Technology Assessment


Sabine Mücke


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