Participation and governance

How can conflicts over future issues in technology and science be resolved democratically?
ITAS Tema Participation and governance

We do not know what the world will look like in 20 or even 100 years. But we can observe technological developments, social conditions, and political trends and depict possible futures. This shows that future technological consequences are created in the here and now. In the interest of desired developments, we must intervene and shape already today. However, there are considerable uncertainties and doubts about the “right” paths to take, especially since hasty decisions may lead to paths that are difficult to leave again. Thinking long-term and at the same time being flexible and able to learn in the short term is extremely ambitious. Furthermore, these deliberations, whether on the design of energy policy or the progress of digitalization, must be democratic. The difference in the level of knowledge between experts and citizens alone makes this a major challenge.

At ITAS, we address this challenge with a combination of new approaches to the long-term governance of long-term processes and their participatory design. We see long-term processes such as the phasing out of nuclear energy, the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste, the introduction of the bioeconomy, or the energy transition as socio-technical challenges. Fundamental considerations on how to deal with risk and non-knowledge also have their place at ITAS.

Knowledge transfer

We consider the exchange of knowledge between research, politics, and society as a central cross-cutting activity. The scope of ITAS activities in this field ranges from on-site real-lab research (cf. section “Transformation of Society”) to citizen science projects, such as TeQfor1 and TechnoCitizenScience, and topic-specific citizens’ dialogues to policy advice for the German Bundestag and the European Parliament. We publish an open access journal, TATuP, which addresses the scientific community as well as those interested in TA.

Repository research

ITAS has been analyzing the possibilities of societal participation in the search for a final repository for many years, for example in the research association ENTRIA. Currently, the SOTEC-radio project aims at new political processes considering technical and societal aspects in the management of radioactive waste. In the Public participation in the siting procedure for a final repository project, researchers investigate a cross-generational learning procedure for public participation. Furthermore, they work together with citizens on specific questions of the repository search in the TRANSENS project.

Transformation of society

With its real-world lab District Future, the Institute is dedicated to the participatory transformation of Karlsruhe’s Oststadt. Urban society and researchers jointly test and explore new paths to sustainability. Participation – from exchange of knowledge to the empowerment of actors – is at the center of a series of transdisciplinary projects in the real-world lab, such as Climate protection – let’s dare it together, GrüneLunge im Dialog (GreenLung in dialogue), or Dual Mode Participation (DUPA). The Karlsruhe Real-world Lab for Sustainable Climate Protection (KARLA) extends the radius of the real-world lab to the whole of Karlsruhe and implements transformation experiments for more climate protection with more than 30 partners.

Global Technology Assessment

ITAS is co-initiator and coordinator of the globalTA Network, an association of 29 non-profit members worldwide. The goals of the network are to develop global frameworks and codes of conduct for the assessment of new technologies, to promote the worldwide exchange in the field of TA and to enable the anticipatory governance of technologies.

Co-Design of technologies

Together with citizens and stakeholders, ITAS develops action-oriented knowledge on co-design, for example in the field of assistive technologies or the use of renewable resources. Projects such as TERRAIN and QuartrBack aim to contribute to the demand-oriented development of human-machine interfaces for people with visual impairments and dementia, respectively. In projects such as APV-RESOLA, GECKO and FuTuReS, researchers are developing environmentally compatible paths for biomass and energy use that meet the demand for transparency and social co-determination.

Publications on the topic

Albiez, M.; Stelzer, V.; Parodi, O.; Bögel, P. M.; Trenks, H.
Energiewende nah an Mensch und Alltag
2022. Energiewirtschaftliche Tagesfragen, 31–33 
Bögel, P. M.; Augenstein, K.; Levin-Keitel, M.; Upham, P.
An interdisciplinary perspective on scaling in transitions: Connecting actors and space
2022. Environmental innovation and societal transitions, 42, 170–183. doi:10.1016/j.eist.2021.12.009Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Cueva, J.; Almeida, I. A.; Fröhlich, K.; Dermann, A. F.; Dermann, F.; Köhler, M.; Grossmann, J.; Meier, W.; Bauhus, J.; Schröder, D.; Sardemann, G.; Thomas, C.; Carnicero, A. R.; Saha, S.
Synergies and tradeoffs in ecosystem services from urban and peri-urban forests and their implication to sustainable city design and planning
2022. Sustainable cities and society, 82, 103903. doi:10.1016/j.scs.2022.103903
Grunwald, A.
The German case for dealing with high-level radioactive waste: taking a socio-technical approach to addressa socio-technical problem - chances and risks
2022. Nuclear Waste. Ed.: K.-J. Röhling, Article no: 16, Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOP Publishing Ltd) 
Schopp, K.; Albiez, M.
Postcolonial Gladiators?! Eine Analyse des Reality Formats Global Gladiators, die Afrika Edition
2022. Ethik in Serie - Staffel 2. Hrsg.: S. Meisch, 103–114, Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen. doi:10.15496/publikation-66680
Smeddinck, U.
Demokratisierung der Technologieabwicklung: Das Standortauswahlverfahren für ein Endlager in Deutschland als Antidot zur Digitalisierung
2022. Digitalisierung und die Zukunft der Demokratie. Beiträge aus der Technikfolgenabschätzung. Hrsg.: A. Bogner, 143–154, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. doi:10.5771/9783748928928-143Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Smeddinck, U.; Roßmann, M.
Narrative als Regulierung? Grundlagen, Ansätze, Verfassungsrecht
2022. Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt, 137 (3), 137–145 
Trommsdorff, M.; Dhal, I. S.; Özdemir, Ö. E.; Ketzer, D.; Weinberger, N.; Rösch, C.
Agrivoltaics: solar power generation and foodproduction
2022. Solar Energy Advancements in Agriculture and Food Production Systems. Ed.: S. Gorjian, 159–210, Elsevier 
Trommsdorff, M.; Gruber, S.; Keinath, T.; Hopf, M.; Hermann, C.; Schönberger, F.; Högy, P.; Zikeli, S.; Ehmann, A.; Weselek, A.; Bodmer, U.; Rösch, C.; Ketzer, D.; Weinberger, N.; Schindele, S.; Vollprecht, J.
Agri-Photovoltaik: Chance für Landwirtschaft und Energiewende : Ein Leitfaden für Deutschland
2022. Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme (ISE) 
Arzt, I.; Fricke, A.
Sonnendeck für Eidechsen
2021. Baden-Württemberg macht einfach - 17 Ideen für eine Welt von morgen, 44, RENN.süd 
Bechthold, E.
Weshalb der Begriff der Akzeptabilität hilfreich ist
2021. Transdisziplinäre Entsorgungsforschung am Start. Hrsg.: U. Smeddinck, 81–86, Technische Universität (TU Clausthal) 
Beckmann-Wübbelt, A.; Fricke, A.; Sebesvari, Z.; Yakouchenkova, I. A.; Fröhlich, K.; Saha, S.
High public appreciation for the cultural ecosystem services of urban and peri‑urban forests during the COVID-19 pandemic
2021. Sustainable Cities and Society, 74, Art.-Nr.: 103240. doi:10.1016/j.scs.2021.103240
Bergmann, M.; Schäpke, N.; Marg, O.; Stelzer, F.; Lang, D. J.; Bossert, M.; Gantert, M.; Häußler, E.; Marquardt, E.; Piontek, F. M.; Potthast, T.; Rhodius, R.; Rudolph, M.; Ruddat, M.; Seebacher, A.; Sußmann, N.
Transdisciplinary sustainability research in real-world labs: success factors and methods for change
2021. Sustainability science, 16 (2), 541–564. doi:10.1007/s11625-020-00886-8Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Brohmann, B.; Hocke, P.; Brunnengräber, A.; Isidoro Losada, A. M.
Die Gestaltung robuster Governanceprozesse: Unter welchen Bedingungen kann sie gelingen? Hinweise aus den Ergebnissen des SOTEC-radio-Vorhabens
2021. Robuste Langzeit-Governance bei der Endlagersuche. Soziotechnische Herausforderungen im Umgang mit hochradioaktiven Abfällen. Hrsg.: B. Brohmann, 463–471, transcript Verlag. doi:10.14361/9783839456682-021