Table 1 Information on the projects and interviewees

From: Elements of success in multi-stakeholder deliberation platforms

Project, status, and dates Interviewee and Institution Project description Project context Objectives Project participants and recruitment Engagement formats and outcomes (selected examples)
KLIMZUG: RAdOST project (completed) 07/2009–06/2014 Prof. R. Andreas Kraemer
The founder of Ecologic Institute Berlin, an independent, non-profit think tank for applied environmental research and political analysis
Examining climate change-related shifts for positive but also negative impacts on the German Baltic Sea region and its local business sectors • Increasing awareness amongst actors on the Baltic Sea coast of climate adaptation measures
• Engaging actors to contribute to the transfer of climate knowledge and the implementation of concrete adaptation measures
• Particular importance of communication and cooperation with political decision-makers at the municipal, state, and federal level
• Exchange of best regional experiences on adaptation measures between communities
Develop a large, trans-regional stakeholder network to co-create adaptation strategies for the German Baltic Sea region. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, fostering transdisciplinary discussions, and ensuring that the perspectives of future generations are also taken into account. • Participants as external network partners
• Representatives from industry, public administration, civil society, and regional research institutes
• Selection by focus groups and network analysis, and contacted for in-depth interviews
• Partner network enlarged through applied sub-projects, e.g., "Klimabündnis Kieler Bucht", from 80 institutions at the start and up to 150 institutions at the end
Dynamic and diverse mix of formal and informal meetings
Workshops on focus topics
Regional conferences with all actors involved
Local Round Tables (reaching across sectors)
Multiple scientific outputs, as well as development of a diverse set of on-going projects and networks
Energiewende Research Forum (Forschungsforum Energiewende)(completed) 04/2013–02/2016 Ralf Behn
The coordinator for stakeholder dialogs and manager for stakeholder engagement during the project at acatech from 2013 to 2017
Transdisciplinary forum to discuss diverse future courses of action in energy research • The German energy transition posits a major societal shift from fossil and nuclear energy towards renewable energies
• ~ 600 university and non-university institutes in total are engaged in energy research in Germany
• Pooling and classification of interdisciplinary scientific expertise and its preparation and editing for political and public discussion
Dialog platform bringing together high-level stakeholders of the energy transition to discuss recent scientific progress. Linkages between participants from science, industry, and NGOs are fostered so they can co-develop technological and economic solutions for the energy transformation. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, fostering transdisciplinary discussions, and fostering constructive debate. • ~100 scientists from different disciplines cooperate in 15 working groups on a voluntary basis
• Manual selection of experts
• Additional experts to fill knowledge gaps are invited upon request
Panel discussions
~60 participants (~25 forum members and sherpas)
Max. 20 people
Bilateral talks
between actors
Regular position papers and analyses as inputs for discussion
Outcomes formed the basis for the ‘Kopernikus projects for the German Energy Transition’
HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform
“Energiesysteme der Zukunft I” (completed in 2015)
“Energiesysteme der Zukunft II” (2016–2019)
Katja Treichel & Dr. Audrey Podann Coordinators for stakeholder engagement and dialogs at HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA The Trialogs for the German energy transition are connected to ESYS and the Energiewende Research Forum and provide a platform for ESYS experts to exchange perspectives with actors from politics, industry, and organized civil society • Aim of Trialog events is to strengthen participants’ capacity to profoundly discuss current societal questions
• Deliberation at its core: taking into account the different perspectives of the stakeholder groups and substantiate their own point of view
• Platform fosters the idea of a joint effort and collective transitions
Strengthen the legitimacy, sustainability, and equality of democratic procedures and decisions. Participants must link their positions to other participants’ points of view. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, and fostering deliberative dialog, primarily through expert facilitation. • ~50–60 participants from public sector, business sector, organized civil society, as well as academia and media
• Manual, top-down selection of participants
Deliberative dialog among stakeholders to bring together multiple perspectives in a one-time event
Consensus corridors are analysed by organizers with the help of recorded discussions.
Outcomes are based on specific topic context but are summarized in papers online
Planning cell/ Citizen Report in Rhineland-Palatinate (completed in 2008) Dr. Birgit Böhm
Director of the Academy for Participative Methods at Nexus Institute and researcher at Technical University (both in Berlin)
Randomly selected citizens from three different communities (urban, semi-urban, rural) developed recommendations for a State administration and town council reform in six planning cells • State tasks have increased since the last major local and administrative reform in Rhineland-Palatinate due to the challenges of a changing society
• Changes result from demographic change, urbanization and globalization
• New administrative structures were required to face past developments
Distill complaints, wishes, and suggestions from randomly selected citizens for a more modern State administration reform that reflects the public’s interests. Focused on early and direct citizen engagement in policy reform to foster transparent decision-making processes and strengthen the legitimacy and public acceptance of end results. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere and building trust. • Planning cell: allows citizens to take part in governmental planning and decision-making processes
• Random selection: The selection of the ~ 25 citizens takes place by random sampling from the Residents’ Registration Office
• This recruitment guarantees a hetereogenous composition regarding different age groups and social strata
Over up to four days, participants receive balanced expert information, discuss in different small groups (max. 5 people) and develop recommendations
Small group work with varying composition each time
Politician hearing: On the third day, politicians from different parties present their positions while answering questions from perticipants
Outcomes and solutions are presented and documented in a Citizen’s Report, which is delivered to government officials
System Information Lab Transforming Europe’s Energy future (completed) 03/2015–09/2016 Dr. Maja Göpel Timon Wehnert Both: Co-project leaders and workshop organizers
Wehnert: current Vice Director at Wuppertal Institute
Göpel: Former director of Wuppertal Institute Berlin Office, current Director WGBU
Participants learned about perspectives on transforming energy systems and concrete concepts to embed in their own institution/workplace • Europe’s energy future requires substantial transformation of the energy sector as well as societal systems
• Actors are caught in national ways of thinking, yet need a common European vision to design a future energy system
• Europeans across all sectors—public policy, corporate, civil society, and individual citizens—need to work together towards a sustainable energy system
Support a network of system innovators with the objective to overcome barriers towards a sustainable energy future across Europe. Beginning with fostering a systemic understanding of problems, then breaking down into individual steps necessary to enable change. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, guiding participants through a learning journey, and building common understanding. • Participants were young professionals working in government administration
• Participants needed to apply with a CV and letter of motivation
• Project team selected participants based on set criteria, taking age, level of professional experience, gender, and country of origin into account
Gaming with Leadership and Advocacy Coaching
World Café style discussions
Input presentations/ Q&As with experts
Interactive field trips
Graphic recording of two sessions: visioning and country narrative exercise
A handbook based on the process and its outcomes was produced
DELIKAT (completed) 09/2012–11/2013 Sophia Alcántara Group leader of division for ‘Participation and Transformtion’ at DIALOGIK Project aimed to investigate the potential of various deliberative and informal procedures for public participation, in the context of extending the current representative democracy in order to mainstream deliberative elements • Society faces major challenges, i.e., economic crisis or climate change, characterized by a high degree of uncertainty and skepticism towards existing decision-making processes
• Participatory processes are increasingly promoted, yet underresearched and fragmented with regard to interdependencies of methods, desirable level of transparency, which formats are applicable for whom, and other issues
Discuss and determine the potential of existing participation formats for the transformation of current political systems towards a collaborative and deliberative democracy. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, and encouraging interdisciplinary technical discussions also including non-scientific actors from politics, administration, and civil society. • Experts were invited to participate in two one-day workshops
• Experts were interdisciplinary scientists working on deliberation, democracy and governance topics
• No specification possible for recruitment method
Group discussion of preliminary research results
Salon method1 and “Philosophical walks” bilateral conversations
Scenario Development in small groups
A final report detailing the entire project was produced and a book was also published
Prosperity (Wohlstands) Transformation Wuppertal (On-going) Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind
Director at Wuppertal Institute and coordinator of the project
Urban transformation laboratory for a sustainable economy in the city of Wuppertal, Germany • Cities are the center for deep structural transformation processes towards sustainability, while ensuring urban well-being and livelihoods
• Questions such as "How can quality of life be decoupled from material economic growth and resource consumption?" are at its core
• Novel structures and institutions are needed to realize an urban green economy
Develop and validate a set of well-being indicators with citizens of Wuppertal using input from a diversity of local actors. Create informal networks and a competence center for transformation. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, fostering interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary discussions, and building common understanding. • Participants include engaged citizens, local businesses, civil initiatives, local politicians and administrators, urban spatial planners, and others
• Initial mapping of civil society initiatives in Wuppertal by the research team
• Completed by participant-led mapping to establish interactive network for brigding between different initiatives
Urban Real-world laboratories
Transdisciplinary research combined with interventions that involve space, actors, and structures
Scoping workshops with civil society actors to define well-being indicators
Local pub evening (once per month)
Informal and formal team meetings
Transdisciplinary Panel on Energy Change (TPEC) (completed)
COBENEFITS of climate change mitigation with renewable energies (On-going)
Dr. Sebastian Helgenberger
Project coordinator at Institute for Advanced Sustainability Sciences, Potsdam
Scientific advisory platform to discuss questions and perspectives concerning the German Energy transition from an international perspective • The German energy transition represents a complete societal shift from fossil/nuclear energy towards a sustainable energy regime based on renewables
• Multiple, on-going interactions between various stakeholders on different levels are needed to realize a smooth implementation of politically determind objectives
• High-level decision-makers need to make decisions informed by science
To move the debate about energy transition in Germany forward by improving detailed understanding and to rationalize discussions by providing independent inputs. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere where participants can address their concerns as a group and building trust. • Panel as interface between science and policy-makers
• Manual top-down selection of scientific experts and high-level decision-makers from national and Länder levels
Round tables
Bilateral and small-group discussions
Working papers
Policy briefs to advise policy-makers about different options
Science-Policy Advisory Groups to co-design the research agenda and foster ownership of the outcomes
Holger Gerdes & Zoritza Kiresiewa Both project coordinators at Ecologic Institute responsible for stakeholder engagement strategies Project aims to engage citizens and various stakeholder groups in discussions about the development of Europe’s bio-economy, including the ultimate goals and the steps required to get there • Bio-economy holds potential solutions to important future challenges
• Yet, transition to a sustainable bio-based economy means that historically-developed structures and ways of life that appear normal today need to be completely rethought
• Societal transformation towards a bio-economy raises questions about the ethical foundations as well as the political and institutional framework conditions
Foster exchange of lessons learned and best practices and improve understanding of different stakeholders’ priorities in order to measure up against national and regional strategies. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, and encouraging focused and interactive debates about the potential of European bio-economy. • Engagement of interested citizens and various stakeholders in face-to-face and online discussions
• Call for participation via various media channels
• Further recruitment specifications unfortunately not possible
Workshops and conferences to provide opportunities for engagement
Public exhibition
Living Lab approach to involve regional decision-makers together with citizens in the design of strategies
EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) Forum (completed) Prof. Dr. Christian Flachsland
Project coordinator and group leader for Governance at MCC
Platform aims to bring together German actors from politics, science, and industry to discuss how to move forward on EU ETS reform options in light of the lack of political consensus • The European Carbon Pricing system has not achieved its expected outcomes and needs fundamental changes to improve instrument effectiveness
• Lack of agreement between science and policy-making
• General lack of knowledge
• Lack of consensus on how to solve the problem and improve the policy instrument
Exchange ideas and perspectives on how to improve the current system and take stock of the different concerns. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, trying to build a common understanding of the problem with the current system, and then shifting the debate to different pathways towards improvement. • Manual top-down selection and invitation of ~30 international scientists and experts on Carbon Trading, policy-makers and representatives from different ministry departments, and business representatives
• Participants varied from event to event due to their high-level positions
Discussion rounds similar to a workshop setting while dinner is served
Expert inputs and discussion after dinner
Technical summaries of each workshop
Policy brief with recommendations
EKLIPSE project (On-going) Dr. Juliette Young
Project coordinator working at NERC CEH
Dr. Alexandra Lux
Advises the project team on “Process evaluation” working at ISOE
Project aims to establish a European Knowledge and Learning Mechanism and to strengthen the science-policy-society interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU. Topics are determined through open calls for requests from policy and other societal actors (‘requesters’). The core of the mechanism is a governance structure and processes to synthesize the relevant knowledge regarding the request • Biodiversity loss is an increasingly concerning issue across European countries
• Lack of adequate knowledge and action in the policy realm for the protection of regional biodiversity and ecosystem services
• Growing need to close the knowledge-action gap by developing European-wide support mechanisms
Provide a platform to link and build alliances between different stakeholders, synthesize scientific knowledge, and thus co-produce new knowledge in collaboration with practitioners and representatives of other actor groups. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, facilitating capacity building, fostering interdisciplinary discussions, and testing different participatory methods. • Participants range from policitians to organized civil society intitiatives
• Participation is not restricted—anyone who is interested can take part—but there is no specific recruitment strategy
• Invitations for webinars are sent out to an interdisciplinary science community
• Societal actors have the chance to participate in science cafés and in an online forum
Formats change depending on specific request and topic. They can include:
Expert working groups (inter- and transdisciplinary) for answering requests and, through this, building capacity and learning
Capacity-building events such as training workshops, webinars, and seminars
Conference events for technical discussions
Science cafés for citizen engagement
TransIMPACT (On-going) Prof. Dr. Matthias Bergmann
Dr. Alexandra Lux
Both project coordinators and team members working at ISOE
TransIMPACT aims to describe correlations between research processes, methods and concepts on the one hand and the societal and scientific impact of transdisciplinary research on the other by systematically assessing completed research projects and channeling the results back to the practitioners and other experts • Transdisciplinary science is increasingly appealing for various scientific disciplines as well as for research questions that stem from a societal problem
• Increasing importance also for funders
• Lack of knowledge and consensus concerning the impact that transdisciplinary science can have
Strengthening the scientific and practitioner community by sharing challenges and quality standards of transdisciplinary research. Consolidating the knowledge base by building up the online platform (currently only available in German) as a virtual forum where the findings and experiences of TransIMPACT will be made available and can be iteratively developed over time. • Participants are coordinators of former transdisciplinary projects that are included as cases in the analysis
• Selection based on pre-determined selection criteria from the project team
• Formal invitations sent out prior to each event to inform participants
Kick-off Workshop to select 15–20 projects
Survey and questioning transdisciplinary practitioners
Expert forums for conceptual clarifications and analysis
Discussion platforms to validate results
Panel for the Phase-out of Coal (Kohleausstieg) (completed) (Re-initiated in 2018) Gerd Rosenkranz
Former project leader working at Agora Energiewende
Working towards an economically and socially acceptable consensus agreement on the future of coal in the German energy transition while avoiding further polarization of divergent viewpoints • Successful realization of German emission reductions and German energy transition requires slow phase-out of coal-based energy production
• However, lack of consensus on how and when this happens
• Great levels of uncertainty and risks for many different stakeholders
• There is a need to talk to everyone involved
Build consensus among participants, establish ongoing communications between key actors, and establish fair negotiation practices regarding viable solutions. This is done by fostering an open atmosphere, building trust, building common understanding, and generating acceptance of the multiple different perspectives to avoid further polarization. • Participants of roundtables and workshops included scientists, high-level policy-makers, and coal industry representatives
• Manual, top-down selection of participants
• Snowball sampling from talking informally to other participants
Round tables
Bilateral conversations
Conference-style events for larger audiences
Observational participation of project team members in regional events with local businesses and labor unions
Forum for Fish Protection and Downstream Migration (on-going until 2018) Dr. Ulf Stein
Project coordinator and project manager of stakeholder events at Ecologic Institute
The Forum aims to trigger a wide-ranging discussion and information exchange and to develop a common understanding on the latest scientific information and technology on different themes of fish protection and downstream migration • Fish populations in German freshwater sources are decreasing at an alarming rate
• Lack of knowledge and consensus regarding why this happens
• Lack of knowledge regarding who influences fish population and migration patterns
Develop a common, nation-wide understanding of how to restore water bodies for fish protection. During events, 200 participants representing a wide variety of institutions engaged in interactive debate. Expert presentations are intended to build capacity, and a common understanding is built by fostering an open atmosphere for discussions and building trust amongst participants. • ~200 participants come from nature protection initiatives, energy utilities, fishing industry, engineer biology, shipping sector, ministerial representatives, and interdisciplinary researchers
• No specific information on recruitment strategy
Conferences for the large plenum
Workshops with smaller group discussions
World-Café sessions for a direct exchange