Completed Projects

Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies

All ZIRIUS projects completed until 2022, in chronological order by year of completion. All more recent projects are listed under the respective research areas involved.

2022 completed projects

  • Project Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of funding for research into sustainable development (FONA)
  • Project Duration: April 2019 to March 2022
  • Contact Person: Sven Stinner, M.A., Prof. Dr. Cordula Kropp
  • Website: GartenLeistungen

"GartenLeistungen” explores the multidimensional services of urban gardens, parks and green spaces for urban society.

The transdisciplinary research project GartenLeistungen explores the multidimensional (ecosystem) services of urban gardens, parks and green spaces for urban society. An extended evaluation of these services provides information that should be taken into account to a greater extent in political decisions on the design of sustainable urban land management. The project team therefore investigates material flows (water, biomass, food, energy), ecological impacts (e.g. on urban climate, biodiversity) and social impacts (e.g. quality of life, social interaction, integration, participation, transformative learning), quantifies and evaluates them on the basis of participatory assessment procedures. Furthermore, the project examines the actor and governance framework of urban land management, in which the definition of public and private space is negotiated and defined in relation to the whole spectrum of public parks and green spaces, community gardens and private gardens - and thus also the question of access to and participation in green spaces of recreation, exchange and nature experience is regulated.

Together with the municipal administrations of Stuttgart and Berlin and an exemplary selection of innovative park projects and urban garden initiatives the developed analytical instruments will be applied to concrete case studies, discussed with activists, users and administrations and made available to support practical planning and development processes. Together with the cities, the urban gardening initiatives and innovative park projects, real world laboratories will be designed, implemented and accompanied over three years. Action strategies for the protection and development of urban gardens and green spaces are to be jointly designed, which can then be further implemented and consolidated in an associated implementation phase if necessary.

ZIRIUS investigates the characteristic actor-network constellations and governance structures as well as the social functions of urban gardens and parks. At the same time, ZIRIUS is responsible for the methodological design and implementation of real world laboratories and designs, supervises and advises the project partners within the research processes.

Project Partners:

Associated Partners:

The MANIFOLD project aims to enable energy system models, despite their primarily techno-economic focus, to better take into account the results of quantitative and qualitative empirical socio-economic analyses of the behaviour of actors in the context of the energy system transformation and, above all, to do so with less methodological effort.

ZIRIUS will carry out qualitative analyses on the emergence of innovations in the heat sector with a focus on actors and different forms of knowledge in the innovation process. The analyses serve the further development and calibration of the SKIN Energy Model, which is developed by the project partner Iqib. The analysis is based on the typical functions developed in the theory of technological innovation systems, which an innovation system must fulfil:

  • Knowledge development and diffusion
  • Influence on the direction of search
  • Entrepreneurial experimentation
  • market formation
  • legitimation
  • resource mobilisation
  • Development of positive externalities (Bergek et al. 2008)

Whether and how these functions are fulfilled depends in particular on the interaction of heterogeneous actors and different forms of knowledge generation and knowledge exchange. In addition, the requirements for knowledge and forms of knowledge etc. change in the course of innovation processes.

First of all, actors are identified who are important for the innovation system under consideration and with regard to their fit to the energy system models also used in the project, and who are important in different innovation phases. The data collected through interviews and workshops will complement the data and network analyses carried out by project partner Iqib. In addition, a close exchange with the diffusion analyses to be carried out in the project, which are planned by the project partners ISI, RWTH Aachen and TU Braunschweig, is planned.

The results are to be used to a) specify the agents in the agent-based model, b) identify questions for the model runs and simulations, and c) uncover obstacles in the innovation system and develop possible measures.

  • Project Coordinator: Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

Project Partners:

  • Institut für qualifizierende Innovationsforschung und -beratung (Iqib)
  • Institut für Energiewirtschaft und Rationelle Energieanwendung (IER, Univ. Stuttgart)
  • Institut für Ressourceneffizienz und Energiestrategien (IREES)
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme (ISE)
  • Institute for Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN, RWTH Aachen)
  • Abteilung für Psychologische Methodenlehre und Biopsychologie (IPMB, TU Braunschweig)
  • Project Funding: Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg
  • Project Duration: May 2022 – December 2022
  • Contact Person: Matthias Leger, M.A.

The project, funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg, investigates the social perception and evaluation of ‘products made from residues’.

The fostering of a circular sustainable bioeconomy for sustainable growth with environmental protection is on the social, political and scientific agenda worldwide. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, the European ‘Green Deal’, the national bioeconomy strategy passed by the Federal Cabinet in 2020 and the state strategy 'Sustainable Bioeconomy for Baden-Württemberg' published in 2019 impressively demonstrate the scope of the movement. The realisation of the bioeconomy is a global activity that concerns the economy, society and politics in equal measure. It requires the solidarity of interest groups, scientists and users - across all sectors. The initiative Valorisation of Bioresources - Urban (ValBio-Urban), launched by scientists at the University of Stuttgart, wants to contribute to successfully shaping this transformation in Baden-Württemberg.

The success of these new bioeconomic methods is not only based on their technical feasibility, but also to a large extent on the acceptance of producers and end consumers. The project examines the social perception and evaluation of bioeconomic products in order to accompany future translations of corresponding technologies in a methodologically structured way. (New) technologies and innovative products are always embedded in socio-technical systems in which technical, political and social factors interact. Such a perspective therefore does not limit bioeconomic products to material artefacts, but also examines the rules and norms of their application as well as the societal consequences.

Based on ongoing projects in the context of the Stuttgart Research Initiative "ValBio", the aim is to examine how some of the products considered (e.g. from the areas of fuel, cosmetics, cleaning agents & plastics) are evaluated by future end users as well as professional customers and multipliers. This is achieved by using qualitative methods such as focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews.

  • Project Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Project Duration: February 2020 to January 2022
  • Contact Person: Prof. Dr. André Bächtiger

Citizen involvement in deliberative forums is frequently discussed with an eye on boosting the legitimacy of democratic decision-making. However, this idea has been radically challenged by Cristina Lafont (2015), arguing that such forums may eventually decrease rather than increase democratic legitimacy.

Citizen involvement in deliberative forums is frequently discussed with an eye on boosting the legitimacy of democratic decision-making. However, this idea has been radically challenged by Cristina Lafont (2015), arguing that such forums may eventually decrease rather than increase democratic legitimacy. Yet Lafont´s legitimacy challenge has been primarily discussed at a theoretical level, without taking the perceptions of non-participating citizens (´onlookers´) into account. In the project “Was sich Bürger von deliberativen Beteiligungsverfahren wünschen: Eine Online-Umfrage mit einem Präferenzexperiment zur Erfassung perzipierter Legitimitätsvorstellungen”, just funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation - 432370948) puts the “Lafont conjecture” to an empirical test by implementing a conjoint experiment to examine legitimacy perceptions of a representative sample of German citizens. It focuses on a set of institutional design features of deliberative forums such as authorization mechanisms (e.g., binding decisions vs recommendations) or recruitment techniques (random vs self-selection), combining these design features with substantive aspects (issue salience and outcome favorability), attitudinal dispositions of participants (e.g., political disenchantment and general process preferences), participants´experiences with such forums as well as information on the pros and cons of the various design elements of deliberative forums.

2021 completed projects

  • Project Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Project Duration: September 2016  - August 2021
  • Staff and Contact Person: Dipl.-Ing. Christian D. León

Water resources play a vital role for societies and ecosystems. High mountain regions with glaciers, snow, permafrost and lakes are particularly sensitive to climatic changes, which can have a major impact on water drainage and circulation. A large number of studies has already assessed the impact of climate change on glaciers, snow and run-off. In parallel, adaptation strategies to deal with changing and decreasing water resources have been developed. Nevertheless, the systematic analysis of risks associated with various influences on water supply and demand is complex and has received little attention. One particular challenge is presented by heavily affected mountain regions, for which data is scarce.

This research project addresses this challenge by collaborating with various interdisciplinary research groups in Switzerland, Germany and Peru to combine data on water supply and demand in an integrated water balance model. The work focuses on various glaciated catchment areas in the Peruvian Andes. The project will develop methods for spatial and temporal interpolation and scaling of hydro-climatic data from a range of ground- and satellite-based sources. At the same time, Cross-Impact Balance analysis (CIB) will be used to create scenarios with local stakeholders. Risks for various economic sectors and social groups will be explicitly analysed, taking into account limits to the adaptability of natural and human systems. Risk evaluation and development and the evaluation of adaptation strategies will be undertaken using a participatory approach involving local stakeholders.

The research project addresses several key scientific gaps in the analysis of current and future water risks in remote mountain regions with limited data. Although methods and concepts will be developed and tested for the Peruvian Andes, these will also be transferable for other regions in the world with similar framework conditions. The engagement of local stakeholders and institutions enables better consideration of the social and political context on the one hand, and increases the social relevance and potential for further use of the research results on the other.

Project Partners

Most cities are currently struggling with transformation processes in the mobility sector. In collaboration with citizens, civil society, industry and researchers, cities have to master a number of complex challenges. The reduction of energy consumption and related emissions is the greatest and perhaps most urgent of them all.

In light of these challenges, DynaMo will explore current processes of change as well as future potentials for change (dynamics) in the urban mobility sector. Thereby, DynaMo will focus on social and technical innovations in the sociotechnical system of mobility, investigating options for the more sustainable (economic, social and ecological) design of urban mobility systems. The team will analyse different mobility-related case examples with an emphasis on the following perspectives and research questions:

  1. Technology integration: a) How can information and communication technology help to foster sustainable mobility innovations? b) What are profitable business models for sustainable mobility innovations?
  2. Changes in mobility practices and associated lifestyles: a) To what extent does the expansion of sustainable mobility innovations require changes in mobility practices and associated lifestyles? b) How can sustainable mobility innovations trigger changes in mobility practices and associated lifestyles?
  3. User participation and legitimacy: a) How can sustainable mobility innovations be governed? b) When do users perceive those innovations as legitimate?

With the above-outlined focus and research question , DynaMo will seek to develop systemic knowledge about the interplay of social, technical and economic factors in the transformation of urban mobility systems. Furthermore, transformation knowledge in the form of (policy) recommendations for the implementation of sustainable mobility concepts will be generated. The strong emphasis on transdisciplinary cooperation in the project will strengthen the relevance of the outcomes for the uptake and implementation.

The following institutions are involved in DynaMo:

  • University of Stuttgart – Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS) & Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT)
  • University of Münster (WWU) – Institute of Political Science, Global Environmental Governance
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO)

DynaMo is funded within the research funding programme “Social-Ecological Research” organised by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Dr Antonia Graf (University of Münster) and Dr Marco Sonnberger (University of Stuttgart – ZIRIUS) lead the junior research group.

Project Partners

  • Project Funding: Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
  • Project Duration: January 2018 - December 2020
  • Project Staff: Dr. Ricarda Scheele, Oliver Scheel, M.A.

Achieving climate protection targets with acceptable financial impacts on citizens and the industry is a key aim of the transformation towards a sustainable energy system. Aspects of sustainability, such as resource requirements, societal acceptance of technologies and emissions resulting over the life cycle of technologies also require consideration in order to be able to successfully set the course.

The main aim of the project is therefore the creation of a new generic modelling and evaluation environment for energy scenarios. In these, technical and structural development paths of the energy system will be analysed, evaluated and improved using various economic, social and environmentally relevant model-based targets. This is done in a team together with the project partners German Aerospace CenterSociety for Economic Structural ResearchInstitute for Sustainable Technical Systems, University of FreiburgUniversity of PforzheimInstitute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

The tasks of ZIRIUS are:

  • The examination of the societal assessment of individual technologies that are central in the scenarios with regard to acceptance and sustainability (method: focus group)
  • The analysis of societal assessment processes regarding different aspects of sustainability of technologies included in the scenarios (method: conjoint analysis)
  • The development of a framework for the systematic inclusion of socio-scientific (semi-qualitative) data in the results of the whole project. (Transfer of the results of qualitative social research in quantitative calculation models)

The InNOSys consortium combines the wide-ranging expertise of the project partners in relation to the current sustainability discussion, energy system modelling and optimisation, life cycle assessment, the analysis of macroeconomic effects of the transformation process as well as socio-scientific studies on participation and acceptance into an integrative concept of the sustainability assessment of energy scenarios for Germany

Project Partner:

Climate change is exacerbating water shortage, especially in regions that are already struggling with water scarcity. At the same time, the demand for clean drinking water, irrigation water for agriculture and industrial water is increasing all over the world. 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. 

New participation procedure

In order to better understand the system of the Peruvian water sector and to consider potential conflicts between different water users at an early stage, ZIRIUS carries out a conflict field analysis. Together with a German project partner context-sensitive participation procedures are developed which can serve for the negotiation of diverging interests of different stakeholders. A new combination of individual interview techniques and systemic analysis methods such as CIB (Cross-Impact Balance analysis) takes into account the values and preferences of local water users in the concept development. 

Decentralised water concepts

With the aim of using the available limited water resources as efficiently as possible, project partners from science and practice are developing optimised overall water management concepts. These can consist of a system of decentralised and centralised systems or modules and serve primarily to ensure the supply of drinking water, but should also satisfy the water needs of competing sectors. Supported by participatory processes, the concepts are adjusted with local partners. The development of a software-based decision support system (DSS) will also support local water supply companies to identify areas of high risk for water pollution. A database for all hydrological modelling of the region and the calculation of concepts are created by scientific project partners together with local stakeholders by means of remote sensing and the construction of a measuring network that uses state-of-the-art measuring instruments. In order to anchor established methods and results in a sustainable way, TRUST develops training concepts as well as a guideline that should serve Peruvian water suppliers or planning authorities as a basis for the (further) development and future implementation of self-developed concepts. 

The joint project TRUST is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the funding program “GROW - Global Water Resources” in the “Research for Sustainable Development (FONA)” programme.

Project Partners

2020 completed projects

The dynamics of the European energy system are increasingly being shaped by regulatory intervention, the expansion of renewable energies and the interaction of all social stakeholders. The development is reflected in the diversity of methods and orientations of existing energy models. However, these models are often limited in their ability to map the challenges of the system transformation. Uncertainties, socio-economic factors and also the interaction of energy sectors are often only considered rudimentarily. Against this background, the project has two main objectives:

1) The integration of economic and social factors and the associated forms of uncertainty in energy models should be improved. For this purpose, the energy models of the project partners will be further developed in a coordinated way.

2) The coherence, comparability and transparency of the models is to be increased. Systematic model comparisons and analyses using project-derived scenarios increase the understanding of specialisation advantages of the models.

Overall, the project aims to contribute to an improvement in the meaningfulness, interpretability and comparability of policy analyses by means of energy models.

Project partners:

The Helmholtz Research School on Energy Scenarios provides a structured educational programme for international PhD students in the research field of energy scenarios. Three pillars representing the “life-cycle” of energy scenarios form the topical focus of the programme:

  1. New methods for the construction of energy scenarios are developed in order to address the complex transformation of the energy system,
  2. the impacts of scenarios on energy policy and public debate are investigated from an empirical perspective,
  3. methods to systematically assess and compare various energy scenarios are developed. 

The research school is financed by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and is carried out in cooperation with seven institutes: three KIT institutes, two institutes at the University of Stuttgart (including ZIRIUS), the German Aerospace Center DLR and the Fraunhofer ISI. In order to cover the interdisciplinary setting of the programme besides energy economics and engineering, philosophy, social sciences and technology assessment are also involved. 

The programme is coordinated by KIT and ZIRIUS. ZIRIUS is in charge of the research school's location in Stuttgart and contributes to the curriculum. One of the research projects of the school conducted by ZIRIUS dealt with “Methods of social context inclusion in energy scenario construction”

Project: Methods of Social Context Inclusion in Energy Scenario Construction

The planned transformation of the German energy system is ambitious and currently unique. The lack of experience on an international level increases the pressure on the search for suitable ways to implement the energy transition. The infrastructure development, phasing out of nuclear energy and the expansion of renewable energies must be planned with foresight, since these projects require intense investment and are thus only amortised in the medium to long term. This makes it all the more important for politics and science to be able to rely on a scientific basis for evaluating measures and making decisions.

Using mathematical modelling, designs for future energy supply, distribution and usage structures can be developed in the form of energy scenarios. However, this requires assumptions about the future development of various social factors, such as population development, GDP development, oil price development, etc. The energy system transformation process is constructed based on these framework assumptions. In light of the close interaction between technological and societal development, the choice of framework parameters has a strong impact on the results of calculations, especially if rarely considered but equally influential factors such as the popular acceptance of the energy transition, change in values, political stability, vulnerability to economic crises, etc. are considered. In the current modelling practice, however, social contexts are taken into account only to a limited extent with little systematic attention. In order to better cope with the complexity of social contexts and the uncertainty and bandwidth of future social developments, a well-founded analysis of driving social factors and their mutual influences is essential for the credibility and validity of energy scenarios.

The dissertation project “Methods of Social Context Inclusion in Energy Scenario Construction”, which is embedded in the interdisciplinary Energy Scenario School of the Helmholtz Research Association and closely collaborates with that of theForesight project Helmholtz Alliance, Energy-Transdeals with the integration of social contexts into energy system modelling. It explores socio-technical connections and uses Cross-Impact Balance analysis  (CIB) as core scenario methodology to develop consistent social context scenarios that attempt to address and present the uncertainty of social developments. In a further step, the interactions between the designed social scenarios and the energy system are considered and analysed.

  • Project Funding: Ministry of Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg, additionally funded by the Federal Environmental Agency
  • Project Duration: January 2015 to August 2020 (subsequent funding since July 2018)
  • Contact Person: Doris Lindner, M.A.
  • Project Staff: Sophia Alcántara, M.A., Katrin Alle, M.A., Dr. Annika Arnold, Dr. Rainer Kuhn, Dr. Marco Sonnberger
  • Website:

Together with six other real-world laboratories at different universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg, the project Future City_Lab – Living Lab for Sustainable Mobility Culture is part of the funding programme “Strengthening the Contribution of Science to Sustainable Development”. The real-world laboratory research approach not only aims to enhance the applicability of research findings for solving policy problems but also boost society’s capacity for sustainable development.

What do people in the Stuttgart region want the mobility system to look like in the future? What are their visions, ideas and potential contributions to the development of a sustainable mobility culture? The real-world laboratory creates a platform for new approaches and partnerships to promote a sustainable mobility culture. In doing so, the real-world laboratory is guided by an extended understanding of prosperity that includes quality of life in the city as well as in the Stuttgart region. By means of a joint process of knowledge production, gathering of research data, conducting real-world experiments and developing visions for a sustainable mobility culture, citizens become co-researchers as well as more deeply involved in local socio-political issues.

Subsequent funding

After three successful years, the project Future City_Lab – real-world laboratory for Sustainable Mobility Culture, funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts (MWK), is once again using Stuttgart as an experimental space to initiate a change towards a sustainable mobility culture. Funding for further two years will make it possible to conduct real experiments again in Stuttgart's urban space and to maintain the discourse on sustainable mobility with the innovative "real-world laboratory" research format. The aim of the second funding phase is to develop a permanent real-world laboratory in order to maintain the exchange between society, politics and business beyond the funding.

The Future City_Lab is coordinated by the Institute of Landscape Planning and Ecology at the University of Stuttgart. Via the University of Stuttgart real laboratory website, we keep you up to date on the progress of the project and its results. 

Real-world Laboratory Consumer Behaviour

The Future City Lab is also supported by a donation from the Federal Environmental Agency. Alongside three further real experiments, the scope of this grant includes the scientific reflection of aspects such as the application potential of the real laboratory approach for the promotion of sustainable everyday cultures.

  • Project Funding: University of Stuttgart
  • Project Duration: January 2019 to March 2010
  • Contact Person: Katrin Alle

In the light of the challenging energy transition to a renewable energy system, the project aims to develop and improve the potentials of energy scenarios as a communication and participation tool in an innovative way.

Energy scenarios are a chance for actors in society to make possible futures intelligible and provide a basis for discussion and consultation with stakeholders and citizens. Because of the mostly cognitive engagement with scenarios, a transfer into „real“ living environment is often difficult. Therefore the potential of scenarios is often not fully exploited.

Possible energy futures, their interdependencies and path dependencies of courses of action on individual and collective levels, will be visualized in order to make it possible for citizens to experience and grasp them. A further aspect is the question, how these expericences can contribute to a common understanding of a successfull transition by an individual and organisational change of perspectives and expectations in urban as well as rural areas.

The project is carried out in two areas in Baden-Württemberg, in an urban city quarter and in a (small) rural community and is supported by Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg.

Project Partner:

Regionale Strukturgespräche: Das Ziel des Landes Baden-Württemberg ist es, die Gesundheitsversorgung angesichts der zahlreichen Herausforderungen für die Zukunft aufzustellen. Hierzu werden vor Ort passgenaue Konzeptefür die regionale Gesundheitsversorgung gemeinsam mit Bürgerinnen und Bürgern in Strukturgesprächen entwickelt. Projektförderung Ministerium für Soziales und Integration Baden-Württemberg Projektlaufzeit April 2019 bis Juni 2020. Der Ortenaukreis ist der erste in Baden-Württemberg, in dem die „Regionalen Strukturgespräche“stattfinden. Hier hatte der Kreistag im Juli 2018 eine Klinikreform beschlossen. Mit der „Agenda 2030– Zukunftsplanung Ortenau Klinikum“ soll das Ortenau Klinikum seine stationären Leistungen ab demJahr 2030 an vier Krankenhausstandorten erbringen. Die derzeitigen weiteren vier Standorte sollenals Gesundheitszentren mit Notarzt/Notfallstation und drei davon mit Portalfunktion weitergeführtwerden. Ziel der insgesamt sechs regionalen Strukturgespräche im Ortenaukreis ist die Einbindung der Bürgerinnen und Bürger in die Entwicklung von Handlungsempfehlungen für eine optimale gesundheitli-chen Versorgung im Ortenaukreis. Diese sollen von der Kommunalen Gesundheitskonferenz (KGK) für den Kreistag sowie weitere zuständige Entscheidungsgremien erarbeitet werden.

2019 completed projects

The energy transition in Germany requires a thorough transformation of energy conversion, distribution and use, Up to now, research has mainly focussed on developing technical solutions for individual areas of the energy system.

The energy transition in Germany requires a thorough transformation of energy conversion, distribution and use, Up to now, research has mainly focussed on developing technical solutions for individual areas of the energy system. However, the energy transition requires more. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project “Energy Transition Navigation System” (ENavi) examines the interaction between technology development, organisation forms, regulation and behaviour. Through this, it widens the focus of previous research and approaches the energy transition as a profound and systemic process of technological and social change. The  Stuttgart Research Initiative on Integrated Systems Analysis for Energy  (STRise), of which ZIRIUS is part, is one of the main partners of the research consortium of 84 collaborators. 

In the first phase of the project, the emphasis is on gaining a better understanding of the complex energy supply system and related areas, such as industry, transportation and consumption. Building on this, researchers and partners from business and civil society will address the question of how technical, economic, political and social structures can be considered in the development of the future energy system. The aim of the project is to ensure that the energy transition is designed in an efficient, but also socially responsible manner. Within the framework of phase 1 of ENavi, ZIRIUS is active in two work packages.

WP 1 Roads Map and Navigation

This work packages serves to collect results from the other work packages and elaborate the required interventions. The plural form “roads map” highlights the fact that unlike conventional technology road mapping, a variety of possible pathways will be analysed.

As part of AP1, ZIRIUS is responsible for the examination of the interdependency between the required interventions in different fields in order to develop policy packages dominated by synergies instead of reciprocal interferences. So-called panorama scenarios will also be developed. These broach the issue that as a society, Germany will change in many ways over the long periods of time in which the energy transition is being designed, which will also impact on the energy transition. ZIRIUS will use Cross-Impact Balance analysis (CIB) as a central method here.

WP 6 Behaviour in the Context of Changing Lifestyles and Values

The objectives of this WP led by ZIRIUS are to identify (1) the factors that influence decision-making and user behaviour and innovation strategies for various stakeholders (households, companies, etc.) and (2) to examine the effectiveness of innovative interventions and support measures, as well as the acceptance of measures. 

For the work on the household level, ZIRIUS devotes itself to the transformative potential of multi- and intermodal transport concepts that unite public transport, car sharing (incl. E-cars), car rental, pedestrians, cycling (including e-bikes), etc. and are tailored to different user groups, and the promotion of the flexibilisation of mobility decisions as an alternative to the dominant use of their own car. Interactions with the diffusion of electromobility are considered.

In addition to this work on a household level, ZIRIUS is responsible for stakeholder analysis at a meso level. Here, ZIRIUS examines strategies and visions of long-established and new stakeholders in the electricity and mobility sector. The focus of the work initially focuses on the niche of better storage and intermodality. For both niches, it will be necessary to investigate which stakeholders are active, which action concepts and visions they have and which diffusion mechanisms can be identified in each case. The results of these analyses are then evaluated with regard to further diffusion potential and the effectiveness of future control tools.

The project provides an open-source and therefore accessible energy system tool, which maps investment decisions in energy system-relevant producer technologies. The energy system tool is developed by the network partner the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

The innovative core of the tool is the integration of environmental, psychological and sociological factors in the mapping of investment decisions in energy technologies. ZIRIUS is responsible for the identification, empirical survey and future assessment of sociological factors. In addition, ZIRIUS participates in developing methodology for integrating social science-related factors into Sozio-E2S.

Project Partners: 

  • Project Funding: Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg
  • Project Duration: January 2016  - December 2018
  • Contact Person and Staff: Dr. Michael Ruddat

The Living Lab: City District 4.0 is a testing field for tools for visualisation and digital participation formats in the planning processes of Stuttgart and Herrenberg.


Digitalisation of economy and society is one of the most comprehensive transformations in our time. Little is known about the impacts of digitalisation on our cities. Short-time innovation cycles of digital products and processes stand in sharp contrast to the persistence of cities and their infrastructure. Planning and decision-making is done on the basis of conventional and strictly regulated practices and tools which are no longer appropriate for the challenges of our times. New forms of planning need to be developed. The research project “Livingl: City district 4.0” addresses two innovation fields:

  • Digitalisation of planning and decision-making processes in increasingly complex situations under inclusion of all relevant actors
  • Digitalisation of urban space as a place to live and work in an increasingly digital society

Research Questions

  • How can we make sure that the results of informal planning processes (e.g. tools for visualisation, digital participation formats) are compatible with formal planning processes?
  • What is the role of citizens and their local expertise for planning the future?
  • Which tools can help to improve the connection between the generation of ideas and urban planning as well as the interaction between citizens and administration?


  • We investigate the potential of digital participation methods and visualisation tools for involving citizens in the planning process of city districts.
  • We will develop a planning guideline for cities and communities. This guideline will suggest specific digital tools and participation methods for the planning process.


The research project “Living Lab: City District 4.0” will be carried out over the course of three years. Our strategy includes collaboration between science and public. We will develop new methods for urban planning using innovative experiments and interventions in city districts. These methods will be tested in so-called “living labs”, which means that research will take place in real urban environments. The living labs are in Herrenberg and Stuttgart.

Project Partners: 

  • Project Funding: Ministry of Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg
  • Project Duration: February 2016  - January 2019
  • Contact Person and Staff: Jan Anye Velimsky, M.A.

As part of the collaborative project and in close cooperation with the citizens of the town of Schorndorf, a non-stop, needs-based, innovative operating concept for public transport and a corresponding vehicle design will be developed.


The “renaissance of the city” as a working and living space that has emerged in recent years is currently being discussed and largely welcomed by experts. In this discussion, medium-sized cities and smaller communities in close proximity to large cities, and thus commuter traffic, are often neglected. Local public transport is in some cases perceived to be inadequate, especially outside of rush hours. Operation in conventional public transport is often characterised by a lack of flexibility from a user perspective and by poor cost-effectiveness from an operator perspective.

In this field of conflict, the development of new needs-based and ecologically sustainable mobility concepts is becoming increasingly important, with the participation of the population being of increasing interest. These developments can be understood as an invitation to work together with citizens to develop innovative mobility concepts. This is where the planned project comes in, using the example of the town of Schorndorf in the Stuttgart urban area as an example of the interface between humans and technical innovation as a subject of investigation in the form of a real laboratory.

Research Questions

As part of the collaborative project and in close cooperation with the citizens of the town of Schorndorf, a non-stop, needs-based, innovative operating concept for public transport and a corresponding vehicle design will be developed. The following research questions stand in the foreground:

  • What are the requirements for future operating concepts in public transport that, in conjunction with other mobility services (bicycle, car-sharing ...), enable residents to be comfortably mobile?
  • What might a user-oriented operating concept in public transport look like?
  • How can users become co-designers in the development process and be continuously involved?
  • How might an innovative vehicle for use in this operating concept look?


In the Living Lab Schorndorf project, the partners have the following aims:

  • We examine the requirements for a future-oriented and needs-based district bus system and which forms of participation are suitable for the early involvement of citizens and other stakeholders.
  • We implement a needs-based bus concept that increases the attractiveness of public transport and has the potential to reduce motorised private transport.
  • We formulate recommendations on how the results can be transferred to other cities and municipalities and which forms of participation can be used.


In the three-year research project “Living Lab Schorndorf”, citizens are actively involved as co-designers in the development process. Ideas and solutions for the needs-based bus concept are being developed through various workshops and rounds of experimentation, and requirements for a visionary bus concept of the future have been gathered. In a one-year pilot phase, in which the operating concept and the flexible ordering process are tested in real operation, selected citizens assume the role of test users and evaluators of the system. The insights gained from this are integrated into the further development process.

Project Partners:

  • Project Fundation: EU Commission
  • Project Duration: May 2016 – February 2019

Will smart critical infrastructures (SCIs) behave equally “smartly” and be “smartly resilient” also when exposed to extreme threats, such as extreme weather disasters or terrorist attacks?

Modern critical infrastructures are becoming increasingly “smarter” (e.g. cities). Making the infrastructures “smarter” usually means making them smarter in normal operation and use: more adaptive, more intelligent… But will these smart critical infrastructures (SCIs) behave equally “smartly” and be “smartly resilient” also when exposed to extreme threats, such as extreme weather disasters or terrorist attacks? If making existing infrastructure “smarter” is achieved by making it more complex, would it also make it more vulnerable? Would this affect resilience of an SCI as its ability to anticipate, prepare for, adapt and withstand, respond to, and recover?

These are the main questions tackled by this project. The project envisages answering the above questions in several steps. (#1) By identifying existing indicators suitable for assessing resilience of SCIs. (#2) By identifying new “smart” resilience indicators (RIs) – including those from Big Data. (#3) By developing a new advanced resilience assessment methodology (TRL4) based on smart RIs (“resilience indicators cube”, including the resilience matrix). (#4) By developing the interactive “SCI Dashboard” tool. (#5) By applying the methodology/tools in 8 case studies, integrated under one virtual, smart-city-like, European case study. The SCIs considered (in 8 European countries!) deal with energy, transportation, health, water…

Results #2, #3, #4 and #5 are a breakthrough innovation.

This approach will allow benchmarking the best-practice solutions and identifying the early warnings, improving resilience of SCIs against new threats and cascading and ripple effects. The benefits/savings to be achieved by the project will be assessed by the reinsurance company participant. The consortium involves 7 leading end-users/industries in the area, 7 leading research organizations, supported by academia and lead by a dedicated European organization. External world leading resilience experts will be included in the CIRAB.

The WECHSEL research project uses the example of the Neckar valley in Stuttgart to address the transformation of industrial riverside areas into sustainable urban living environments. This is a pilot project for Stuttgart – for the first time, interdisciplinary competences are being bundled in order to offer high-quality suggestions for  Stuttgart as a river city, which is currently also relevant for the Stuttgart region.

Against the background of the sustainable further development of technical infrastructure the project thus develops facilities along the Neckar as a contribution to the energy transition . From a planning perspective, the aim of the research project is to collaborate with Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart, energy suppliers, distribution system operators and other infrastructure providers to ensure the early development of perspectives and strategies to shape the future of this transformation.

The research project works out a realistic estimation of the energy potentials of the Neckar river and develops land use scenarios for an urban and landscape development along the Neckar. The process continuously involves individuals from civil society, affected citizens, stakeholders and cross-regional experts. This results in a flow of ideas, experience and regional as well as cross-regional expertise that ensure the scalability of the project whilst benefiting from the experience of similar projects.

Project Partners:

As part of the German National Climate Initiative (NKI), funding is being given to municipalities that want to offer their young people the freedom to develop their own approaches and projects on climate protection.

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. 

2018 completed projects

Numerous municipalities, regions and increasingly also cities have set themselves the goal of switching their energy supply to renewable energy technologies. 100% renewable energy regions, bio-energy villages, and even cities like Flensburg and Frankfurt have set themselves ambitious targets concerning their energy supply and CO2 reduction. But what effects do these developments have on the entire energy system in Germany?
As part of the BMBF-funded project AutGrid, Fraunhofer ISE and ZIRIUS are analysing observed developments in the field of energy regions. For this purpose, social scientists are using expert interviews and workshops to investigate which factors drive energy self-sufficiency and how they interact. On this basis, consistent context scenarios are calculated, showing where the regions are located, to what degree they are self-sufficient, and how this will develop until 2050.
For the identified scenarios, an optimisation model with high temporal and spatial resolution will be used to show what effects this will have on the energy system Germany. The focus of the investigation is on a comparison of the scenarios with regard to system costs, required grid expansion, utilisation of the networks and the technology portfolio. Through this analysis, explicit recommendations for action regarding the direct or indirect promotion of renewable energy regions can be made. In addition, a qualitative analysis of the opportunities and risks arising from network self-sufficiency is carried out.

The nascent project explores the potential for development of entrepreneurial initiatives for a sustainable transformation of the food sector. It examines how these new, transformative business forms can be characterised and how their role can be estimated in the food sector. The transdisciplinary research is carried out by ZIRIUS in association with the University of Oldenburg, the Munich-based Anstiftung foundation and 29 practical and transfer projects. Together, we see business forms as transformative if they (a) stand for quality in terms of a broadly sustainable food and nutrition culture and (b) have the potential to displace non-sustainable forms of the food industry.

The sociological sub-project looks at the motives, success conditions and action strategies of the different food companies and compares them with the expectations and aims of their customers and stakeholders. It shows in which way the initiatives contribute to social transformative innovations and renewals and how they prepare the ground for new forms of nutrition in economic, organisational and symbolic terms. A study of marketing in the mainstream area and the media reflects how strongly the concepts are picked up on here, but are also incorporated into the existing system constraints. Research also sheds light on the stabilisation issues and support needs of transformative companies in order to position and disseminate their new food approaches in a largely non-sustainable environment. A comparison with the international movement of so-called alternative food networks reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the projects examined in Germany and helps to politically and economically classify the overall significance of these socially oriented companies.

  • Project Funding: European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement no 665947.
  • Project Duration: January 2016  - 28. February 2018
  • Contact Person and Staff: Dr. Jürgen Hampel
  • Project Homepage

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.

Mutual learning and agreed practices in research and innovation: this is one of the core ideas of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) - the European Union’s approach for Good Governance in Research and Innovation. RRI seeks to better align the processes and outcomes of research and innovation with the values, needs and expectations of European societies. This requires the engagement of all societal actors.

PROSO’s aim is to foster the engagement of third-sector actors (civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, churches, unions etc.) and of citizens in research and innovation (R&I). The project will provide guidance on promising policy and governance measures for advancing the use of inclusive participatory approaches. This guidance is based on the analysis of engagement in three R&I fields, namely nanotechnology, health & food, and bio-economy.

The project comprises three central tasks.
• Clarifying the requirements of societal engagement in the RRI framework (through a systematic analysis of previous research on RRI).
• Investigating hurdles and incentives of societal engagement and learning how these may be related to different research and innovation domains.
• Developing innovative policy and governance approaches to promote societal engagement in RRI in Europe.

These are the main research instruments that will be used.
• Qualitative interviews with representatives of civil society organisations and research policy-related actors.
• National citizen panels in five European countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Portugal and the UK.
• A European multi-actor deliberation conference and a couple of expert/stakeholder workshops.

Project Partners:

2017 completed projects

The project pursues pursues an interdisciplinary approach to the socio-technical energy transformation in Baden-Württemberg by focussing on the topic from an engineering, economic and socio-scientific perspective.

The project “Energy System Analysis Baden-Württemberg” (EnSys-BaWü) is conducted as part of the the “Stuttgart Research Initiative on Integrated Systems Analysis for Energy” (STRise) in cooperation with the institutes DLR, IER and ZSW. The project pursues pursues an interdisciplinary approach to the socio-technical energy transformation in Baden-Württemberg by focussing on the topic from an engineering, economic and socio-scientific perspective. While the project partners develop and model climate protection scenarios that also consider energy supply security and efficiency, ZIRIUS is responsible for carrying out analyses from a socio-scientific perspective. The complexity of the necessary transformation of the energy system extends to all areas – electricity, heat and mobility. A socio-scientific analysis must consider the fact that transformation processes will also impact the real lives of citizens. For this reason, the project deliberately goes beyond research into the acceptance of individual electricity mixes and focuses on overall conceptual energy futures. Thus, the project makes a significant contribution to dealing with living environments rather than abstract scenarios for the citizen. The empirical analysis of the socio-scientific sub-project will involve qualitative and quantitative data from focus groups with citizens to research preferences and reasoning structures. 

The project will end with an expert-based Delphi workshop, which will address the results of the socio-scientific analysis and discuss their political relevance for the energy transformation.

Project Partners:

Analysis of the perception of climate change and the related assessment of the energy transition in Germany.

Anthropogenic climate change poses major challenges for our society, with far-reaching implications and transformational requirements for large parts of social and political life. The 40% CO2 reduction target announced by the EU in January 2014 cannot be achieved without sustained and broad support from the European public. The EPCC research project aims to determine and compare the support of the European public in selected member countries and derive adequate policy recommendations.

The project provides answers to the question of how and why the perception of climate change diverges in the different European countries, which role values and worldviews play and how the European public can and must be involved in order to ensure the effective implementation of the European energy system. The core of the project is a theoretically sound, cross-national survey conducted in the four countries involved in the project: Great Britain, France, Norway and Germany. In addition to this far-reaching quantitative survey, the socio-political context in each of the four countries is examined by stakeholder interviews. The topline findings report of the EPCC project offers insights into the core results..

The transfer between science and practice is ensured through regular stakeholder meetings and intensive collaboration with the climate communication agency Climate Outreach, UK. This collaboration also yielded recommendations for actions for policy makers.

Project Partners: 

IBESSA examines the life cycle of energy scenarios, in other words processes from creation to reception and processing by social stakeholders. IBESSA is a sub-project of the University of Stuttgart Cluster of Excellence “Simulation Technology” (SimTech).

The aim of this project is the examination of perception and evaluation patterns of (qualitative) energy scenarios by potential scenario users in politics, economy and society. Techniques for the development of socio-technical scenarios are continuously developed; as a result, the methodological coupling of qualitative social system analyses with quantitative energy system modelling in interdisciplinary energy research is becoming increasingly important. However, the questions as to how these scenario constructs – as a result of the different methodologies – are perceived by end-users, which patterns are used to evaluate the scenarios and whether there are differences between scenario formats, remain largely unexplored. One reason for this is the epistemic “mode” in which scenarios operate: scenarios examine future uncertainties, distance themselves from probabilities and only generate statements of possibility. The scenario community therefore regularly refers to the concept of “plausibility” as a meaningful limitation of the potential space for scenario development and evaluation. How plausibility is used in practice, what constitutes plausibility for the user and what significance it can assume in scenario research are examined by the dissertation project. As part of the project, a semi-experimental study was carried out that investigated how plausibility assessments of two different scenario formats can be made.

The results of the study indicate that the current scientific understanding of the concept of plausibility lacks distinctiveness. In order to create an adequate interpretation framework for the study results, the project attempts its own contribution to the conceptional honing of the plausibility concept and thus also to the classification and evaluation of scenario techniques.

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.

The current healthcare system in Baden-Württemberg is facing a number challenges. These include demographic change and the associated aging society, a changing need for treatment, an increase in chronic illnesses and a shortage of skilled workers. 

The aim of the model project is the elaboration of a cross-sectoral and cross-district care concept in the model region South Württemberg (Reutlingen, Biberach, Ravensburg). With a cross-sectoral development of the care structures and the overcoming of the classical limits of requirement planning, the looming problems are to be solved. In this project, ZIRIUS is responsible for citizen involvement within the framework of focus groups and dialogue events. 

Project Partners:


2016 completed projects

  • Project Funding: Half from the Helmholtz Association Initiative and Networking Fund and half from the project partners
  • Project Duration: 2011 - 2016

After the reactor catastrophe in Fukushima in 2011, the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS was founded to supplement technically oriented energy research with a socio-scientific interdisciplinary perspective. The design for researching the transformation of the energy system was aimed at examining the interplay between technical potential, innovation processes, user behaviour, political and economic framework conditions, conflicts and control processes. ZIRIUS participated in all five issues.

Future infrastructures of energy supply – on the way to sustainability and responsibility

The transformation of the energy supply infrastructure in terms of sustainable development and accelerated phasing out of nuclear energy poses a significant challenge. In order to tackle these challenges in an interdisciplinary manner, ZIRIUS at the University of Stuttgart has joined forces with seven other partners in the new interdisciplinary Helmholtz Alliance Future Infrastructures of Energy Supply. The following research institutions are involved in the Alliance: the four Helmholtz centres Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Universities of Stuttgart, Magdeburg and FU Berlin and the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. It is coordinated by KIT. The spokespersons are Professor Armin Grunwald, director of the Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis (ITAS) at KIT and Professor Ortwin Renn from the University of Stuttgart. Over the five-year term until 2016, the Helmholtz Alliance has a project volume of 16.5 million euros.

The key objective of the Alliance is to explore the multiple interfaces between technical and social factors that significantly influence the transformation process towards new energy infrastructures. On this basis, strategies will then be developed to make the transformation process efficient and socially compatible. In addition to scientific knowledge, therefore, “knowledge for action” is developed, which, according to the self-image of the Alliance, should be actively involved in social debates, stakeholder discussions and political consulting. The Alliance is committed to informing decision-makers from politics, business and society, actively involving them in research work and contributing to the general public's understanding of the complex relationships within the energy sector.


The targeted transformation of energy infrastructures requires an interplay of technological and social change across all areas of life. Here, technical systems for electricity, heat and fuel supply interact with consumer behaviour in households, the economy and transport, within the political framework and social developments such as demographic changes, lifestyle changes and changes in values. This complex interplay is the central focus of the Helmholtz Alliance. In order to understand it and to define and discuss ways of coordinated change for the entire complex, the Helmholtz Alliance is developing “Integrated Scenarios” of the transformation process. These scenarios are intended to describe alternative development paths and make their requirements recognisable. The “Integrated Scenarios” project is being carried out under the direction of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with the participation of Forschungszentrum Jülich and ZIRIUS. The task of ZIRIUS in this project is to develop social scenarios that break down the uncertainties of the social framework for the transformation process and bundle them in alternative social images. These social scenarios will be developed by ZIRIUS using cross impact balance analysis (CIB) as the central scenario methodology and will serve to question the feasibility and stability of the various paths imaginable from a technological perspective in terms of the social framework conditions.

In addition to the scenario development, collaboration between eight research institutions in a total of 17 projects requires a harmonised approach in the field of foresight activities of the Helmholtz Alliance. Since all projects deal with different aspects of the future of the German energy infrastructures, many of them either use foresight methods themselves or use foresight products such as prognoses, forecasts or scenarios. To ensure that the foresight activities of the projects take place on a harmonised basis with regard to their methods and data and the opportunities for methodological further development of foresight techniques can be exploited within the framework of the Alliance, the Helmholtz Alliance has set up the “Horizontal Task Foresight Integration”.

Together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), this cross-sectional activity led by ZIRIUS has the task of operating a communication platform for all partners in order to ensure the harmonisation of central framework assumptions concerning future development (such as population and economic development) and methodological further developments in the field of foresight methods, such as the combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis tools. Part of the tasks of the “Horizontal Task Foresight Integration” is also the creation of GIS-based risk maps, which shed light on the relationships between possible developments in the energy plants and infrastructures and the associated risks, vulnerabilities and conflict potentials.


  • Project duration:  2011 to  2016
  • Contact person:  Dr. Gerhard Fuchs
  • Staff:                   Dr. Gerhard Fuchs, Nele Hinderer, Gregor Kungl, Dr. Mario Neukirch

The energy system is a good example of a “large technical system” that is characterised by a considerable degree of institutional indolence and path-dependent development. In order to adapt the system to new requirements, such as those formulated by political institutions or the public, it needs to develop a significant amount of adaptability. The more solidified and complex the existing organisational and institutional structures are, the more difficult it is to achieve a fundamental transformation. This is especially true of fields characterised by tightly woven networks and capital-intensive, technical structures – like the energy system, for instance.

Transformation does not have to take place through a one-time, disruptive initiative. Transformation can also be achieved through many small steps of adjustment. Steps of adjustment take place in longer-lasting phases of discontinuity and uncertainty. During such phases, movement may take place towards a new, dominant field structure. The project “Adaptive Capacities, Path Creation and Sectoral Change” aims to analyse the driving forces, stakeholders and developments that are moving towards a transformation of the energy system or want to prevent this transformation.

In terms of methodology, the project primarily uses document and data analyses, as well as expert interviews.


The project is a sub-project of the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS, which is funded by the Helmholtz Association and the State of Baden-Württemberg (see the general project information on ENERGY-TRANS). The project runs from August 2011 to July 2016. The project is being carried out in close collaboration with other project partners within the Helmholtz Alliance, in particular with the Department of Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The aim of the project is the analysis of the interplay of intermediaries, organisations and institutions in the course of the transformation of the energy system. On the one hand, it examines how different stakeholders organise or hinder the process of change. On the other hand, the project examines how stakeholders and networks of stakeholders are influenced by new regulatory mechanisms and institutions. 
The analysis is carried out for different sub-fields of the energy system. A particular focus is on emerging fields that are coming into being as part of the transformation, such as the direct marketing of electricity from renewables, flexibility options (storage technologies, demand side management or the establishment of capacity mechanisms) and energy saving services for private households. 
For two fields (direct marketing and flexibility mechanisms), the stakeholder analyses then form the basis for the (further) development of an agent-based model “AMIRIS” (for which the project partner DLR is responsible). The aim of AMIRIS is to analyse how different regulatory frameworks affect the behaviour of the stakeholders who organise the current challenges related to the energy transition, the market and system integration of electricity from renewable energies.

The stakeholder analyses are carried out with the help of document analyses, guideline-based qualitative expert interviews and workshops with the key stakeholder groups. The agent model is programmed in Java in the Repast Simphony simulation environment.


ZIRIUS coordinated the research field “User Behaviour and Demand Management” and implemented two projects:

  • “Efficient in Bahnstadt – Smart Meter Web Portal for Sustainable Electricity Use” (sub-project of “Effectiveness and Efficiency of Interventions”)
  • “Individual Rebound Behaviour in Car Mobility” (sub-project of “Determinants of Energy-Relevant Decisions and Behaviour in Households”)

The focus of both projects was on private households whose adaptation and participation in the transformation of energy infrastructures is of great importance. Households are no longer mere consumers of seemingly “unlimited” energy resources, but are required to deal with energy sustainably and efficiently.

A key research topic was smart metering. Smart meters serve as an interface between households and traditional and new network infrastructures (smart grids). Through the creation of complementary information tools, they open up new possibilities for motivating and supporting sustainable energy consumption behaviour.

In the field study “Efficient in Bahnstadt”, a smart meter web portal was developed with action-phase-oriented information architecture. It accompanies users from the development of a savings target to the implementation of new energy-saving behaviour. The impact of the web portal on user interaction and power consumption was evaluated. It was established that user interaction that encourages commitment to electricity-saving tips and the self-monitoring of implementation progress resulted in significant savings.

Rebound effects in individual energy consumption behaviour were another focus of the research. They threaten to destroy technical efficiency improvements. So far, however, the psychological processes underlying the rebound effect have received little attention.

In the study “Individual Rebound Behaviour in Car Mobility”, this was examined in the context of car-based mobility. First, a theoretical framework model was developed. It was based on economic and psychological and sociological explanations of the rebound effect, mobility-specific behavioural models and theories of environmentally relevant decisions. Subsequently, car buyers were asked about their motives when buying a car and changes in their user behaviour in a mixed-method design. The question was whether technical improvements in the car's efficiency lead to one of the three types of individual car rebound behaviour. These are the purchase of a larger model, covering longer distances or faster driving. It transpires that such rebound behaviour only comes to light in very specific constellations and motivations. Overall, the efficiency gains have a facilitating but no causal effect on rebound behaviour.


  • Project duration: 2011 - 2016
  • Contact person: Dr. Pia-Johanna Schweizer
  • Staff:                  Dr. Pia-Johanna Schweizer, Oliver Scheel, Regina Schröter

The development of sustainable and socially responsible energy infrastructures cannot be achieved without the involvement of stakeholders and the public. On the one hand, it is assumed that political decisions can be improved through appropriate communication and participation processes, as more expertise can thus be channelled. On the other hand, it is supposed that political decisions made with the participation of stakeholders and the public can be implemented more easily and better. Despite these advantages of participation procedures, there is still a need for research regarding the involvement of the public and stakeholders in energy supply planning processes. ZIRIUS therefore deals with the potential of discursive participatory processes in Research Area E of the Helmholtz Alliance. In a first step, the potential of participation processes in the planning of energy supply will be discussed. In a second step, deliberative, group-based participation procedures are specifically implemented.

Project Partners:

  • Project funding: State of Baden-Württemberg, BW-plus programme
  • Project duration: 2014 - 2016
  • Contact person: Piet Selke
  • Staff: Piet Selke

The STROMBANK project demonstrates the operation of community electricity storage. Both electricity consumers who generate electricity themselves (“prosumers”) and pure energy consumers are involved in the research, which will examine the technical and social side of this new concept. The project was commenced in 2014 and is funded by the BW-plus programme run by the State of Baden-Württemberg. The project is being carried out jointly by MVV Energie (energy supplier and project coordinator), the Institute of Photovoltaics of the University of Stuttgart, adc-tec GmbH and Netrion GmbH (both technology developers).

The technical components offer the possibility of “paying in” electricity from renewable sources into a large battery, similar to a cash deposit into a bank account. Unused power is thus stored and can be “picked up” by other consumers in the neighbourhood that are subscribers to the electricity bank, or it may be sold on the electricity market. Power grids are relieved, because the locally generated electricity is temporarily stored until local use or sale. The prosumers, on the other hand, have full transparency and control over the electricity generated in their households (e.g. by photovoltaic systems). The prosumer thus becomes an active part of the restructuring of the energy market. 

In the first step, the required technical components were developed. Surveys and focus groups are conducted with the participants to record their motivations, intentions and acceptance. A particular focus is the business model of the “electricity bank”, for which various models are to be tested. For example, the electricity account can be created as a current account, savings account or as a cooperative. The differences lie in the ownership of the electricity generated in a community and in the modalities of its distribution.

Complementary use of different energy supply concepts as a motor to drive social acceptance and individual participation in the transformation to a robust energy system – developing an integrated supply scenario

Initial situation and research questions
KomMA-P aims to define the conditions under which people would be willing to accept and support the energy transition. The underlying idea is that citizens need to have access to options for participating in the change process if they are to support it. To date, participation has only been possible for someone willing to invest money and purchase shares in a wind park or biogas plant, for example, or install solar panels on their roof. Anyone lacking the necessary capital or interest in investing is excluded. So the central research question is: What low-threshold opportunities and instruments are needed so that citizens can participate in the energy transition and thus understand and accept it better?

Project goals and implementation
The research project goal is to design action plans for decision-makers from politics, civil society and the private sector. They will be given approaches for implementing energy schemes designed to meet need and local conditions. These will not only be technically and financially feasible, but will also involve local people and generate their support. To this end, the project links technical and economic energy transition models with socio-scientific research on acceptance and participation.

One question the research project explores is the extent to which technical solutions on the one hand and opportunities for participation on the other are linked and depend on each other. Unlike technically simple and cost-optimised energy transition scenarios, this research project emphasises energy transition models that citizens are willing to accept and in which they can participate more fully.

The actual acceptance and participation potential of the different technical options is empirically determined using socio-scientific methods such as field tests, representative questionnaires and stakeholder dialogues. The results are then entered into the PowerACE simulation model developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovation Research ISI.

Industry partners – suppliers, service providers and stakeholders from the energy and environmental sectors – collaborate in developing and testing scenarios. One example is Stadtwerken Wunsiedel, a public utilities company that was involved in testing the “Energy Box”, a mini power station that can generate electricity and heat for a number of households. We are working with the energy provider Energiewende GmbH to organise the “Visualising Energy Flow” pilot project. It visualises where energy comes from and how it is used, and is intended to raise consumers’ awareness and motivate them to use energy more consciously.

Project Partner:

Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE (Leitung)

Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung ISI

Competence Center Energiepolitik und Energiemärkte

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Lehrstuhl für Internationale Beziehungen und Entwicklungspolitik               

To the Project-Homepage

  • Funding:                 European Union (FP7 programme)
  • Project duration:    July 2013 - June 2016
  • Contact:                 Dr. Antje Grobe
  • Project staff:          Dr. Antje Grobe (coordinator), Mikko Rissanen, M.Soc.Sc.

Stakeholder engagement and dialogue are essential to the responsible development of nanotechnologies in Europe. NANODIODE establishes an innovative, coordinated programme for outreach and dialogue throughout Europe to support the effective governance of nanotechnologies. The project integrates vital engagement activities along the innovation value chain: it combines ‘upstream’ public engagement (by way of dialogues that integrate societal needs and expectations into the policy debate) with ‘midstream’ engagement (by organising open innovation workshops at the level of R&D) and ‘downstream’ strategies for education and communication. The overall objectives of NANODIODE are to:

  • Develop new strategies for outreach and dialogue along nanotechnology value chains;
  • Organise engagement and dialogue at the 'upstream' level of research policy;
  • Enable processes of co-creation during research and innovation;
  • Professionalise nanotechnology education and training;
  • Establish an innovative programme for outreach and communication on nanotechnologies;
  • Assess the impact of the project’s activities and provide policy feedback with a view to Horizon 2020.

The consortium brings together a strong network of partners from various backgrounds and extending across Europe (representing academia, industry, civil society, education and communication). Many partners bring their experience as coordinators of earlier European projects (such as NANOCODE, NANOREG, NANOEIS, NANOCAP, NANOPLAT, OBSERVATORY NANO, NANOPINION, NANOCHANNELS and NANOBIORAISE). This will allow the project to look back and identify best practices based on existing experience - and developing new, innovative models and tools for outreach and dialogue when necessary. The project will also look ahead: as Horizon 2020 unfolds, the project will provide best practices for the effective governance of nanotechnologies in Europe.

The methods applied in NanoDiode are aimed at a thorough assessment of current and former dialogue, outreach and educational activities as well as an analysis of the regulatory background and the background of public perception. Methods are: desk research, surveys, interviews, web page, videos, school kids and student`s competitions, educational activities for teachers, dialogue activities for involving stakeholders and citizens such as Inspire Workshops, 3rd Generation Deliberation Workshops and User Committees; innovative outreach activities similar to Guerilla Stores and Street Dialogue Events such as NanoBazar and NanoGallery.

To the Project-Homepage

  • Project funding:  BWPLUS – Baden-Württemberg Research Programme Securing a Sustainable Living Environment
  • Project duration:  January 2014 - June 2016
  • Contact person:   Dr. Wolfgang Hauser
  • Staff:                    Dr. Ulrich Fahl (IER, project management), Dr. Wolfgang Hauser, Dr. Marco Sonnberger          


Project aims

Diverse activities for the use of renewable energies, for energy saving and emission reduction in municipalities, regions and even federal states can be bundled together under the slogan of “energy self-sufficiency”. Within the framework of this project, the following central questions are dealt with in an interdisciplinary research team of engineers and natural scientists as well as economists and social scientists.

  • Conceptual understanding of energy self-sufficiency in science, stakeholders and citizenship within Baden-Württemberg.
  • Technical and economic modelling approaches for energy demand and available energy resources. In particular, the importance of energy storage, flexibilisation potential and networks should be analysed.
  • Simulation of the infrastructure required for a regional optimum and analysis of its consistency
  • Participation (stakeholders and experts) and acceptance (citizenship) of the required infrastructure, its costs, behavioural consequences (energy saving) and activity potential (energy cooperatives, local agenda groups, public utilities, etc.)


Simulations and scenarios in the three core areas of the energy transition, heat, electricity and mobility in the private, industrial and commercial sectors will be created. For this purpose, it is necessary to further develop complex simulation models on the basis of existing, proven simulation systems and to link them together to form a modular model network across the institute boundaries. Social scenarios (participation) based on citizen surveys, stakeholder surveys and discourse procedures and formats are added to this (e.g. citizen reports). This aims to illustrate the prototypical energy behaviour and the use of energy, the willingness to change the course of action and the social framework conditions subjectively defined as important as well as the acceptance of different technologies. The assessment of relevant parameters and the tendency to change them should again be made by means ofCross-Impact Balance analysis, through expert surveys, for instance. This approach is intended to reduce the complexity of the modular model network and pragmatically limit it to options that are considered scientifically realistic.

Project partners:

Within the University of Stuttgart:

Outside of the University of Stuttgart:



The BMBF-funded project “City with Energy Efficiency Stuttgart” began in June 2011 (duration 2011 - 2016). SEE is coordinated by the Office for Environmental Protection of the City of Stuttgart. The project partners are the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, various institutes at the University of Stuttgart, including ZIRIUS, and EnBW. 

The transformation of the energy supply is an urgent task, especially for municipalities. It includes measures for energy saving, energy efficiency and the expansion of regenerative energies. Opportunities for energy saving in the city of Stuttgart should be addressed and implemented together with the citizens and economic stakeholders of the city. The aim is to achieve a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020, thereby helping to achieve the so-called “20-20-20 targets” of the European Union. 

The necessary efficiency gains must be implemented across sectors and by a range of stakeholders over a specific period of time. As a basis of the project, the project partners drew up a comprehensive balance sheet of the energy flows within the city and identified starting points for measures to increase efficiency and savings. These measures will now be implemented in the next phase. However, this will not succeed without intensive cooperation between citizens, politicians, authorities and economic stakeholders. This collaboration is organised and scientifically supported by ZIRIUS.

Project reports:

Expertenworkshop Bewertung Beratungstool für Stuttgarter Haushalte (Expert Workshop Evaluation Consultation Tool for Stuttgart Households)

Fokusgruppe energiebezogene Nutzersensibilisierung (Energy-Related User Awareness Focus Group)



  • Project funding:  Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration Baden-Württemberg
  • Project duration: December 2014 to May 2016
  • Contact person:  Sarah-Kristina Wist
  • Staff:                   Sarah-Kristina Wist

As part of the pilot project “Development of a health plan for rural and urban districts in the context of the Local Health Conference with the participation of citizens”, six rural and urban districts will gain concrete experience concerning the prerequisites, process steps and possible health planning approaches. The aim is to compile the results of the pilot project through recommendations for the development of a specialist health plan for rural and urban districts in Baden-Württemberg. ZIRIUS provides scientific and professional support and advice on the subject of public participation as well as chairing the network meetings.


In the evaluation project, ZIRIUS focused on process quality as well as the internal impact, meaning the impact on the participants triggered by their involvement in the WWViews 3 initiative. Our partner organisation the Loka Institute assessed the external impact. Both evaluation projects together formed the official evaluation of the World Wide Views Initiative (WWViews, cf. The evaluation was supported by the KR Foundation. 

WWViews was a transnational participatory initiative to involve citizens in decision making on central issues such as climate change (WWViewsOne and Three) or biodiversity (WWViewsTwo). The event designs in WWViews are consistent across all partner sites and countries and basically correspond most to the participatory format of the citizens’ conference. Deliberative phases in this format are completed by voting in order to synthesize the single voices to form aggregated collective perspectives. 


ZIRIUS conducted an evaluation survey among the participants during the WWViews events in the partner countries (sites) which advocated the evaluation activity. The basic questionnaire was translated from English into the respective national languages, if this was required.

Results and current state

Duration: May 2016 – March 2016

Status: Completed

ZIRIUS accompanied both former WWViews initiatives. This task had value in itself. In addition, the studies add to our meta-research across the former evaluation studies, which were conducted by ZIRIUS and its partner organisation DIALOGIK on tall participatory initiatives over the course of more than one decade.

Project Report

NERRI is a three-year project supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme which aims to contribute to the introduction of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in neuro-enhancement in the European Area and to shape a normative framework underpinning the governance of neuro-enhancement technologies. Neuro-enhancement describes improvements in brain performance through pharmaceuticals or technical devices.

The consortium involves 18 partners from 11 European countries. Their task is to draw up an analytical characterisation of Neuro-Enhancement in their respective country, mobilise different stakeholders, collect the most salient features in this field and promote a broad societal dialogue about drawbacks and opportunities, ethical positions and the need for regulation. This will be achieved through mutual learning activities such as interviews and workshops. Stakeholders include scientists, policy-makers, the industryand civil society groups, in addition to patients, students, teachers and the wider public. NERRI’s aim is to bring these groups together and discuss the challenging topics raised by the developments in neuro-enhancement.

The next step aims to finalise and put into practice a framework for Responsible Research and Innovation for neuro-enhancement in Europe, in other words finding ways to implement the concept of RRI. The impact of the project outcomes has to be maximised by communicating the project activities: The consortium’s main task is to promote interest in the scientific and societal aspects of neuro-enhancement and to foster an informed debate about what Responsible Research and Innovation will look like in this field in the future.

Project Partner:

Ciência Viva - Agência Nacional para a Cultura Científica e Tecnológica (Koordination)

LSE - London School of Economics and and Political Science

SKU - Stichting Katholieke Universiteit

OeAW - Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschafte

SISSA - Scuola Internazionale Superiore du Studi Avanzati di Trieste

IBMC.INEB - Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular

EXP - Center for Formidling af Naturvidenskab og Modern Teknologi Fond, Experimentarium

UVT - Stichting Katholieke Universiteit brabant Universiteit Van Tilburg

CEU - Kozep-Europai Egyetem, Central European University

USTUTT - Universität Stuttgart

MAINZ - Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz

JKU - Universitaet Linz

UPF - Universitat Pompeu Fabra

TLS - Fondazione Toscana Life Sciences

UoI - Haskoli Islands

GAUK - Genetic Alliance UK LTD

EBC - The European Brain Council AISBL

KCL - King's College London

Final Report (german)

The transition of the energy system is one of the biggest challenges our society is facing today. The research project “LITRES – local innovation impulses for transforming the energy system” focuses on analysing developments within the realm of governance, serving as the basis for innovations on the way to a transformed energy system. We argue that specific local structures emerge from within the energy system by challenging well-established players and thus setting up diverse innovative impulses. The research project’s goal is thus to analyse and understand structural and organisational patterns of situational governance, evolving from all involved parties’ actions on a local level. The researchers are looking at four different innovative impulses: citizens’ wind farms, energy supply contracting, micro-cogeneration, and smart grids. Each of these is represented and examined in two case studies.

Within the project, ZIRIUS is mainly concerned with stakeholder involvement, with the analysis of different business models, as well as with identifying measures that ares uccessful in stabilising diverse innovative impetus. Through a series of workshops, we will get together with a group of stakeholders in order to gain direct, practice-oriented feedback. We will also discuss, refine and advance measures that are identified in an initial analysis of the four innovative impetus with experts and stakeholders using the group Delphi method.

Project Partner:

2015 completed projects

  • Project fundation: “Schaufenster Elektromobilität” des BMVBS, BMWi, BMBF und BMU
  • Project duration:   Januar 2013 – Dezember 2015
  • Contact person:    Dr. Rüdiger Goldschmidt
  • Staff:                     Dr. Rüdiger Goldschmidt

The project aimed to foster communication about e-mobility in order to raise public awareness of this technology and to increase the public’s enthusiasm for using electric-powered vehicles in everyday life. Thus, one research objective was to develop a business model based on the usage of electrically powered vehicles as taxis (e-taxi). One question raised for research was how a sustainable business is possible with electric vehicles (limited market options of 2013).

The “GuEST”- project partner consortium comprises: FKFS, TAZ, DEKRA, BOSCH and ZIRIUS (University of Stuttgart) as well as DAIMLER as an associated partner. The GuEST development project was one of the projects in the electric mobility showcase initiative in Baden-Württemberg and was supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.


An unique feature of the project was the integrative, interdisciplinary research approach, which involved relevant stakeholder groups such as taxi entrepreneurs.

The project actively developed the setting for the  e-taxis and conducted research in three main areas of the business:

  1. Technical Factors (FKFS, DEKRA): The usage data from  e-taxis supported a technical analysis, especially on the charging infrastructure (connectivity, performance as well as the relationship between location and duration). In addition, research focused on the safety and deterioration of the vehicles.
  2. Economic Factors (BOSCH, TAZ): Analyses of cost-effectiveness and costs in the e-taxi business.
  3. Social und Societal Factors (ZIRIUS): ZIRIUS investigated the acceptance and willingness to use e-taxis. Target groups were taxi entrepreneurs, drivers and passengers. Surveys attained data on attitudes and expectations. Interviews supplemented the surveys. Based on this data, ZIRIUS assessed, for instance, the effectiveness of different methods of knowledge transfer and communication (information system via tablet vs. talks with drivers). In addition, usage of the project website and press reporting were analysed.


Project Partners:

FKFS (Forschungsinstitut für Kraftfahrwesen und Fahrzeugmotoren Stuttgart, Koordination)

TAZ (Taxi-Auto-Zentrale Stuttgart)



DAIMLER (assoziierter Partner)


This sub-project of the University of Stuttgart Cluster of Excellence “Simulation Technology” (SimTech) examines methods of dealing with political, social and economic dimensions in the context of environmental simulations. Environmental simulations are an important tool to analyse environmental changes as well as their regional and global causes and consequences and to test and evaluate possible measures. These simulations are relevant to both science itself and political consulting.

Assumptions about (future) social contexts, e.g. population growth, consumer behaviour, technological development, measures and policies, have a strong impact on the results of scientific environmental simulations. However, environmental simulations often do not do justice to the complexity and uncertainty and qualitative nature of social dimensions and their interactions. The depth of analysis of “state-of-the-art” environmental modelling is usually much higher than that of the less elaborate treatment of social aspects (for example, the external setting of individual social parameters or intuitive scenarios).

In order to more adequately address the complex interactions between the environment and society, an interdisciplinary approach is often required that links scientific knowledge (such as physics, chemistry, ecology, hydrology) with sociological knowledge (such as sociology, economics, and political science). As a result, Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are increasingly being developed, simulating the environment and society as integrated systems. However, the significance of this IAM is often limited by the fact that, firstly, scientific relationships are greatly simplified and, secondly, that social dimensions are only mapped by quantifiable variables.

The ACCESS project therefore examines an alternative methodological approach to dealing with social contexts in the context of environmental simulations. Cross-Impact Balance analysis (CIB), a systematic, formalised and qualitative form of system analysis, is being tested to develop consistent social context scenarios for environmental simulations. Case studies will be used to analyse the needs, potentials and limitations of this interdisciplinary methodological approach and develop application processes for the field of environmental simulation.


Weimer-Jehle W. und Kosow H. (2011): Gesellschaftliche Kontextszenarien als Ausgangspunkt für modellgestützte Energieszenarien. In: Dieckhoff C. et al. (Hrsg.): Energieszenarien - Konstruktion, Bewertung und Wirkung. KIT Scientific Publishing, Karlsruhe

Kosow H. (2014): Nachvollziehbarkeit und Konsistenz narrativer, numerischer und kombinierter Szenarien. In: Bellucci, S.; Bröchler, S.; Decker, M.; Nentwich, M.; Rey, L.; Sotoudeh, M. (Hrsg.) (2014): Vordenken – mitdenken - nachdenken. Technologiefolgenabschätzung im Dienst einer pluralistischen Politik; Edition Sigma Berlin.

2014 completed projects

This sub-project was commenced within the framework of the University of Stuttgart Cluster of Excellence “SimTech” (Simulation Technologies) against the background that renewable energies have become increasingly important in recent years for various reasons (scarcity of resources, CO2 problems). In this context, it is also a political concern to support and strengthen this energy (and economic) sector through subsidiaries and corresponding framework conditions. The question as to how can this be (meaningfully) done is part of the socio-scientific innovation research, of which, however, no uniform picture can yet be drawn. Different approaches attempt to explain the conditions of (successful) innovations in order to incorporate them into recommendations for the future.

On the other hand, methods of computer simulation appeared on the horizon of socio-scientific research a relatively short time ago. Whether and how the use of computer simulations can be useful in the field of social science and – in the case of REMAG – can perhaps even bridge theoretical incompatibilities in socio-scientific innovation research, will be tested within the scope of the project using the example of the innovative history of wind energy, which is distinguished by the special role played by political framework conditions.

The REMAG project is to be located in the SimTech context in research area G, which acts as an integrative platform for reflection and evaluation of simulations.

The LiWa project is carried out with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the category of “Research for the Sustainable Development of the Megacities of  Tomorrow – Energy- and Climate-Efficient Structures in Urban Growth Centres” ( It is one of ten projects selected after the two-year preliminary phase (2005-2007) for the implementation of the five-year main phase (2008-2013). The aim of the LiWa project is the development of concepts and procedures for the sustainable planning and management of water supply and sanitation in Lima, the capital of Peru. To achieve this, scenarios for the future water supply will be drawn up in cooperation with German and Peruvian partners and then effective, socially compatible measures will be developed in participatory forums, especially taking into account the effects of climate change and the promotion of energy-efficient structures. The BMBF has approved an extension until May 2014.
The project is divided into 6 sub-projects, with ZIRIUS in charge of sub-project 4 (participation and governance). The overall coordinator of the project is ifak e.V. Magdeburg. In addition to sub-project 4, ZIRIUS is responsible for the coordination of the project on-site and the management of the project office in Lima, Peru.

Project partners:

Lehrstuhl für Hydrologie und Geohydrologie (IWS) der Universität Stuttgart

Institut für Landschaftsplanung und Ökologie (ILPOE) der Universität Stuttgart

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ)

Hochschule Ostfalia

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The Evaluation of the BEKO Baden-Württemberg project was developed in close collaboration with Dialogik gemeinnützige GmbH, which conceived and carried out the BEKO public participation for the Ministry of the Environment.

The State Government of Baden-Württemberg has commissioned the development of an “integrated energy and climate protection concept” (IEKK). The draft was developed by the specialist departments of various ministries and with the help of external experts. The draft contained aims, strategies and measures to achieve the energy transition. These measures should be assessed through the participation (name BEKO) of citizens, as well as associations and stakeholders. For this purpose, a website with online voting and commenting functions was offered to the citizens of Baden-Württemberg. Twelve additional focus groups with citizens and association representatives on two different dates served to further discuss the proposed measures.

The accompanying evaluation captures the personal views of all participating citizens as well as the online participants and the association representatives through several analyses:

  •     in written form through a 4-wave questionnaire series (imparted online and offline)
  •     through interviews with individual, particularly active participants
  •     evaluation of website usage logs

In addition, the evaluation package includes surveying those indirectly affected by BEKO in the form of two series of short interviews

  •     of representatives of the Baden-Württemberg parliament
  •     of staff from four ministries involved in the development of measures in order to assess the impact of involvement on the administration’s work processes

A media analysis in print and online media to accompany BEKO rounds off the overall evaluation package in order to be able to capture and analyse as complete a picture as possible of the impact and function of participation spread over several media.

This research project focuses on securing the medicine supply chain from medicine manufacturers to wholesalers to the point of sale / point of care. The proposed safeguards are intended to prevent criminal or unintentional acts or accidents. Possible threat scenarios include medicine counterfeit, attacks caused by the introduction of dangerous drugs, accidents in the packaging process or in the cold chain, etc. As a result of the project, these economically evaluated disturbances in the commodity chain should be prevented, thus eliminating mistaken medications and potential large-scale poisoning in the population. 

Project publications:

Aschenbrücker, A., Löscher, M., Troppens, S. (2013), Scenario-based supply chain risk management to avoid drug shortages caused by external threats in the pharmaceutical supply chain, Konferenzbeitrag auf 20thEurOMA Conference, Dublin 7. - 12. Juni 2013.
Aschenbrücker, A., Löscher, M. (2013), Szenario-gestützte Identifikation von externer Bedrohungspotenzialen in der Medikamentenversorgungskette, IPRI-Praxis Nr. 2, Stuttgart.

2013 completed projects

The Council of Ministers of the State of Baden-Württemberg adopted a healthcare plan in 2012 and commissioned the Ministry of Social Affairs with the implementation of the health dialogue. After the State Health Dialogue in October 2012 – where citizens met with the minister Ms Altpeter to discuss issues they had defined in a citizens’ forum – participatory processes concerning health will be conceived and tested in pilot dialogues on all levels (rural, districts, cities and municipalities) from january to october 2013. 

For special health topics, participatory concepts were developed locally in the municipalities, which are tailored to the specific problem. The spectrum ranges from prevention of health risks to conflict resolution in hospital redesign. The various methods are used for different topics and are subsequently evaluated externally in order to obtain information about feasibility in other municipalities. The results of the pilot dialogues will be reported as part of the 2013 State Health Dialogue in October 2013.

Project structure:

  1. 2012 State Health Dialogue
  2. Pilot dialogues
  • Calw district: Citizens’ forum on the future of district hospitals
  • Reutlingen district: Focus groups on health telematics
  • Weinheim: Study on the activation of older and lonely people
  • Stuttgart-Mönchfeld: Citizens’ forum on the culture of movement for over 50s
  • Sulzfeld municipality: Forums on health-promoting and generation-friendly urban planning

3rd State Health Dialogue 2013

Participation formats used:

  • Citizens’ forums
  • Future workshop
  • Planning workshop
  • Topic and focus groups
  • Round table
  • Qualitative interviews
  • Project funding:  Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Project duration: December 2010 - December 2013
  • Contact person:  Dr. Marlen Niederberger
  • Staff:                   Prof. Ortwin Renn, Dr. Marlen Niederberger, Isabel Schneider

Future technologies are often the subject of controversial debate within society. However, the understanding and acceptance of these technologies by the general public is a necessary prerequisite for sustainability and implementation. In this context, dialogue procedures play an important role. They represent an interactive form of technology and science education. The aim is to create public understanding of research, science and technology amongst as much of the population as possible. The solution to this is a factual discourse that awakens trust and acceptance amongst citizens. To achieve these goals, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the project “Future issues citizens’ dialogue”. Areas that are discussed include high-tech medicine, such as neural implants. IFOK is entrusted with the content-related conception and implementation of the dialogue series. The individual process steps within the citizens’ dialogue and their reciprocal interaction will be evaluated by ZIRIUS. The process-accompanying evaluation guarantees the continuous adjustment of the procedure and thus helps to achieve the optimal execution of goals. In addition, it serves to develop criteria for “best practice”.

Report (german)

  • Project fundation: Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Project duration:   September 2010 – August 2013
  • Contact person:    Dr. Marco Sonnberger, Jürgen Deuschle
  • Staff:                     Dr. Marco Sonnberger, Jürgen Deuschle

Increasing the energy efficiency of appliances as well as of other energy-using products is generally regarded as an effective strategy to achieve goals of energy and climate policy by reducing energy demand. Thus, the energetic modernisation of buildings or the promotion of energy-efficient vehicles is generally considered to have high potential to reduce energy consumption. However, in reality, the potentials realised by investments in energy efficiency may be lower than those theoretically expected or calculated from a technological point of view due to changes of behaviour following the investment. This effect is known as the rebound effect. 
While the existence of the rebound effect remains largely undisputed, scholars differ widely over its magnitude and relevance as well as its causes. However, the latter is one of the prerequisites for its control and therefore for achieving energy and climate policy objectives. 
Research on the rebound effect has so far been dominated by economic approaches. However, there is a growing appreciation that psychological and sociological factors could have explanatory power as well. The BMBF-funded research project REBOUND aims at developing a better understanding of the rebound effect from an economic, psychological and sociological perspective. 
In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI), ZIRIUS analyses the psychological and sociological side of the rebound effect. Among other things, a lifestyle concept is applied and focus groups with representatives of different lifestyles are conducted. The focus groups’ aim is to analyse issues and the heuristics of energy use. The results are fed into a survey carried out by the REBOUND project partners. Finally, the projects’ results will be discussed during a group Delphi  organised by ZIRIUS.  

The project’s general coordinator is the Centre for European Economic Research (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW)).

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  • Project fundation: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
  • Project duration:   September 2012 – Juni 2013
  • Contact Person:    Diana Gallego Carrera
  • Staff:                     Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn, Diana Gallego Carrera, Dr. Michael Ruddat


Most studies regarding Partitioning and Transmutation (P & T), i.e. the transformation of long-lasting radionuclides, focus on technological aspects with the aim to test different implementation options of P & T. Success in this field of research would probably lead to a volume reduction of long-lasting radionuclides and all in all reduce the longevity of nuclear waste.

As on the one hand in Germany the question of permanent nuclear waste disposal is discussed very controversially, and on the other hand the necessary experts and technological resources for research on P & T are available, the question of positioning is rather urgent – especially against the background of the nuclear phase-out announced in 2011 by the federal government. What are the consequences of P & T for the permanent nuclear waste disposal that has been (and is still being) produced in Germany? What are the social factors influencing the acceptance of P & T?


The objective of the project is to give some vital input to the debate in Germany about future P & T research and implementation. A study based on the results of the project work should help German politicians to come to decisions in the field of P & T. The study follows a three-step-approach:

  1. Systematic collection of information about scientific, technological and social risks and benefits of P & T research.
  2. Evaluation of scientific, technological and social risks and benefits of P & T research.
  3. Recommendations for appropriate strategies of communication and action regarding P & T research, based on the evaluation.

Project Partners:              

DBE Technology GmbH

Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit mbH (GRS)

Helmholtzzentrum Dresden Rossendorf (HZDR)

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

RWTH Aachen

iNTeg-Risk is a large-scale integrating project aimed at improving the management of emerging risks, related to “new technologies” in European industry. This is being achieved by building new management paradigm for emerging risks as a set of principles supported by a common language, agreed tools & methods, and Key Performance Indicators, all integrated into a single framework. The project aim is to reduce time-to-market for the lead market EU technologies and promote safety, security, environmental friendliness and social responsibility as a trademark of the EU technologies. The project goal is to improve early recognition and monitoring of emerging risks and decrease reaction times if major accidents involving emerging risks happen.

The project involves leading EU industries and renowned R&D institutions. It is coordinated by the European Virtual Institute for Integrated Risk Management, the dedicated EEIG guaranteeing the sustainability of results after the project.

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  • Project fundation: Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • Project duration:   01.10.2011 – 31.03.2013
  • Contact person:    Sylvia Hiller (Projektleitung)      
  • Staff:                     Sylvia Hiller

NaT-Working is a network founded and supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation. It seeks to raise awareness of natural sciences and technology by arranging and cultivating partnerships between scientists, teachers and students. Funds for new cooperation programmes have been stopped since 2008. The aim of the Robert Bosch Foundation has shifted from the initiation of cooperating projects to maintaining and intensifying the many existing NaT-Working programmes in the long term. Moreover, the Foundation focuses on intensifiying the partnerships that already exist, and to find out more about the results of the programmes (outcomes, experiences).

The evaluation of the NaT-Working programme conducted by ZIRIUS includes surveys with former participants of the various programmes and participating organisations and interviews with members of the advisory committee, scientists, teachers and staff of the Robert Bosch Foundation. In addition to this 150 programme files were evaluated (e.g. newspaper and magazine articles, final reports), using documentary research

2012 completed projects

  • Project funding:  German Federal Environmental Foundation & Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg
  • Project duration: 2010 to 2012
  • Contact person: Dr. Barbara Malburg-Graf          
  • Staff:                  Dr. Barbara Malburg-Graf

For some time now, there have been many political declarations of intent both on a federal and regional level concerning the reduction of land use. In its sustainability strategy in 2002, the Federal Government defined the daily increase in settlement and transport areas as a sustainability indicator. The “30 hectares” target, in other words, the reduction of new land use to 30 hectares per day by 2020, was defined as a sustainability goal. According to the Federal Statistical Office, land use in Germany was still 87 hectares per day in 2010. For the same year, the Baden-Württemberg Regional Statistical Office reports daily land use of 6.6 hectares in Baden-Württemberg alone. A considerable part of this is attributed to the rural area.

The aim of the “Chefsache Innenentwicklung” project is to strengthen the competencies of informed decision-makers in rural communities to enable sustainable and high-quality interior development. Interior development should take the place of external development. For this, a wide range of demanding tasks need to be assumed, which are referred to in the specialist literature with area management. Especially in small communities, this management is often assumed solely by mayors, since specialist support from trained administrative staff is usually missing or insufficiently available. 

Twenty representatives of this target group receive support for the development of an action strategy for their municipality with the help of the “Kollegiale Coaching Konferenz” peer coaching method. The innovation of the “Chefsache Innenentwicklung” project lies in the combination of the “Kollegialen Coaching Konferenz®” method, the effectiveness of which has been proven by the Leadership Academy of Baden-Württemberg for many years, with targeted knowledge transfer on land management. Through this, the focus will be on the resources, competencies, opportunities and possibilities of the people involved. If we look at the large number of projects and approaches concerning the reduction of land use in recent times, this is the first time that the focus is on the people who, as decision-makers, are responsible for decisions on land use. The experience gathered throughout the project confirms this concept and shows how important it is that interior development becomes a top priority. However, it also makes clear that those in charge also need fellow comrades. 

The special feature of the project’s approach is the possibility for participating mayors to include their own concerns in relation to interior development in their communities. The consulting and coaching offer unites peer consulting under methodically professional guidance with expert advice on land management. The coaching sessions included the following knowledge input from experts:

  • Dr Barbara Malburg-Graf: Introduction to land management and interior development and stock-taking of land potential.
  • Petra Schmettow (Dipl.): Public relations for life in the village centre; citizen participation for interior development.
  • Friedrich Oesterle (Dipl.): Investment strategies for existing interior land.
  • Professor Gerd Baldauf: Specific possibilities of activating inner-city land and areas from a planning perspective.
  • Mayor Herbert Holl (Crailsheim): Local ways of controlling interior development through financial incentives.

The project is funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation and the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg. The project consortium is composed of

Flyer Conference "Chefsache Innenentwicklung"

  • Project funding:  Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Project duration: June 2009 - October 2012
  • Contact person: Rainer Kuhn
  • Staff:                  Rainer Kuhn, Piet Sellke, Sophia Alcántara

Heavy rainfall can not only cause rising gauges in large rivers or broken dams. Even inhabited areas that are not in direct proximity to the water, and especially roads or access routes can be affected by flooding due to heavy rain. The joint project EvaSim aims to increase the safety of populated areas against flood disasters. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the framework of the Federal Government’s “Civil Security Research” programme as part of the high-tech strategy (grant no. 13N10594). The aim is to make a contribution to improved crisis management in extreme situations by coupling the simulation of flood or tidal wave propagation with the simulation and optimisation of traffic flows. Using the example of real locations, evacuation scenarios for emergencies are to be developed through the application of simulation and optimisation.

The involvement of social sciences in the project is essential to gain knowledge about the behaviour and needs of the population in an evacuation situation. This knowledge in turn plays an important role in the modelling of traffic behaviour. 

How quickly does a person escape? Which mode of transport is chosen for the escape? What percentage do not flee at all and need help from emergency response authorities? 

The research project “Communication about prospects and limitations of simulation results for policy makers” within the framework of the SimTech Cluster of Excellence focuses on the applicability of simulation results for political decision-making processes. The aim is to determine the expectations and requirements of political decision-makers and other stakeholders in order to make a contribution to improving the development, applicability and result communication of computer simulations. Accordingly, the subject area of the project lies within the conflicting contexts of scientific knowledge production by means of simulations and political and social decision-making processes when dealing with potential risks for humans and the environment. Essentially, it is about improving the ability of science to communicate with political and social decision-makers.

Computer simulation between science and politics

Central aspects of computer simulation are: model replication of dynamic system processes, embedding in computer environments on the basis of mathematical procedures as well as gaining knowledge for a better understanding of reality. These aspects have led to an intensive and lively debate amongst scientists on the scientific and epistemological potential and limitations of simulations. Computer simulations are considered as a new or third method, alongside theory and experiment or model. While models as assessment tools for mapping complex cause-and-effect chains are static, one of the main characteristics of simulations is their dynamics.

The results of many application fields of simulations suggest that new insights and knowledge can be gained with the help of computers. A central challenge is the contextualisation and validation of the simulation results during the transition or transfer to reality. If simulations have the potential to generate new insights, especially in the case of very complex and multi-layered problems that are difficult to solve on an experimental and analytical level, then computer simulations will also and above all be of interest for dealing with technical and societal risks. This gives rise to the question of which potential and limitations to knowledge production do simulations have when dealing with new technologies?

Case study approach: The “Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)” example

The importance of simulations when dealing with technologies cannot be answered independently of a specific type of technology. It can be assumed that, depending on the subject area, the use and significance of computer simulations will vary. Against this background, the project pursues a case study approach in order to explore the specific fields of application and conditions of use. Using the case study “Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS)”, the identified problem context is examined. Until the establishment of a sustainable energy economy based predominantly on renewable energies, fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) are indispensable and continue to be the focus of energy supply in certain industrialised and especially emerging countries (e.g. China, India). Against this background, carbon dioxide-reducing or poor technologies are being discussed as a contribution to global climate protection for the environmentally friendly use of fossil fuels. The capture and permanent storage of CO2 is considered a promising bridging technology on the way to a sustainable energy industry. However, this technology is still in its infancy. Great challenges exist in terms of (large-scale) feasibility, economic competitiveness and long-term risk protection for possible damage to humans and the environment.

Computer simulations play a central role in the development and evaluation of this technology. Simulations are especially used with regard to the estimation of the risk of underground CO2 storage. For example, this concerns the estimation of possible CO2 leakages, the behaviour of CO2 in the soil over time, the selection of suitable storage locations or the estimation of the capacities available for storage. Policy makers base their decisions on the results of these simulations when establishing policy frameworks for site selection, monitoring or liability issues.

Research questions

Simulations are based on widely observable spreads of probability functions. In politics, however, “one-off events or, statistically speaking, outliers” are often much more significant than the mass of events to be expected and, under certain social / political conditions, can be influential or action-dominant. However, these events are typically not captured by the simulation. Here, transformation rules are needed that convey the limits of the simulation to politics and at the same time attenuate the impression of arbitrariness. Against this background, the following questions are of interest:

How are simulation results currently being communicated by science and received by political and social decision-makers? What role do intermediaries, such as scientific advisory bodies, play in politics?

What policy-relevant effects can be modulated and how can uncertainties and unrecognised effects (ignorance) be introduced into the process of characterising the simulation results?

The project aims to analyse the social incentives and barriers for “collectivised individual transport”. The term “collectivised individual transport” refers to the joint use of cars and bicycles. This includes car-sharing and car-pooling concepts. In conjunction with climate adaptation and mitigation, such concepts are gaining more and more attention and proliferation. So far, it has not been sufficiently analysed which incentives and barriers play an important role in the establishment of concepts of  “collectivised individual transport”. However, with regard to the implementation of such concepts, research on possible target groups is necessary in order to effectively advertise concepts of “collectivided individual transport”. Therefore, during the project, a package of measures is to be developed that contains recommendations for the increased use of “collectivised individual transport”. 
Different methodical instruments are applied during the project: stakeholders are interviewed by using qualitative expert interviews, users are classified into mobility types, focus groups are used to “test” various concepts of “collectivised individual transport” and an online survey is conducted to supplement the analysis of incentives and barriers from a citizens’ perspective. Finally, experts from different disciplines are gathered in order to assess the opportunities and risks of various concepts of “collectivised individual transport” during a group Delphi workshop. The project is funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (German Federal Environmental Foundation). 

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