Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies

Completed Projects

All ZIRIUS projects completed until 2016, in chronological order by year of completion. All more recent projects are listed under the respective research areas involved.

2016 completed projects

  • 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               

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  • 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.

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  • 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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