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TechnoCitizenScience – Citizen innovation in science and technology

TechnoCitizenScience – Citizen innovation in science and technology
Project team:

Coenen, Christopher (Project leader); Claudia Brändle; Rüdiger Trojok; Stefanie Seitz; Christoph Schneider


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Start date:


End date:


Project partners:

Technical University Munich (TUM)

Research area:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

The focus of the project is on TechnoCitizenScience (TCS) that is a special form of citizen science and innovation with active participation of citizens. In our technologically shaped society, this form of citizen science may gain particular relevance and influence the research and innovation system. The project will assess the potentials of TCS for Germany in the knowledge fields of engineering and life sciences from a theoretical and methodological perspective. The empirical results of the participatory observations and the guideline-based interviews will be analyzed and assessed in the context of current approaches in the field of interdisciplinary science and technology research. The focus of the subproject „CitizenBioScience – Life sciences in the do-it-yourself mode” is on TechnoCitizenScience within the life sciences, e.g., actives of the DIY-Bio and biohacking scene.

The project aims to identify opportunities and challenges as well as possible effects on research and development, politics and the economy. The intention is to show whether or not applied citizen science meets or can meet the expectations of the public and scientific discourse. The project will address the following research questions:

  • What forms of TechnoCitizenScience can be observed nationally and internationally?
  • What are the potentials and challenges of TCS in the life sciences for research and innovation as well as for politics and society?
  • What does participation of citizens look like in practice in the different contexts of TCS, what is its outreach and does it meet the expectations of civil society and politics?
  • What are the (social and technical) preconditions for an interconnectivity of professional technical sciences and TCS?
  • What development paths seem plausible in the medium term and allow for the full potential of TCS to be achieved? And what science policy options will result from this?

The project consists of five empirical work packages, which will generate answers to these questions. It includes a literature study, ethnographic field studies on exemplary TCS projects, the development of a typology of forms of participation in different contexts of TCS, expert interviews on the social and technical preconditions of TCS, as well as a Stakeholder-Workshop on the state ofthe art and perspectives of TCS.

TechnoCitizenScience is a promising possibility of using participatory elements to evoke the interest of the broader public for research in natural and engineering sciences and, moreover, to strengthen democratic participation. Therefore, it is planned to develop proposals in the course of the project, identifying actions and actors in the innovation system that can contribute to a positive overall development and how to anticipate existing risks.



Dipl.-Pol. Christopher Coenen
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24559