Modelled Future – On the Theory and Practice of Energy Scenarios in the Context of Scientific Policy Advice

  • Project team:

    Dieckhoff, Christian (Dissertation)

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Research group:

    Knowledge society and knowledge policy

Project description

In my PhD project I empirically investigate the practice of energy scenario construction in the scientific field of “energy-economical systems analysis” in Germany. This field has been developing since the early 70s and, at least in Germany, has established itself as a major resource for scientific policy advice on strategically relevant energy issues. Today its results – scientific expertise relying on energy scenarios using computer models – play a crucial role for decision making, and the public discourse about these topics.

My project is based on interviews with eight modelers stemming from different theoretical and methodical traditions in the field. The analysis focuses on the modelers’ beliefs about the individual construction practice. The core questions are:

  1. What kind of argument do the modelers formulate with their scenarios? Do they believe that they describe a possible future development, a probable future development or a deterministic future projection? What role does the model play in substantiating their results?
  2. How do the modeler and the client interact when jointly constructing the scenarios? What strategies do they apply for the negotiation of scenario items?

For answering these questions I draw on methods stemming from philosophy (argumentation analysis) and from qualitative social research.

Publication of Dissertation:

Dieckhoff, C.
Modellierte Zukunft - Energieszenarien in der wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung. Bielefeld: transcript 2015
Abstract deutsch/htm

Administrative data


Dr. Christian Dieckhoff
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe