Citizens' assembly on citizen participation in research

23. November 2021 Uhr

With the help of a citizens' assembly, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) wants to further develop its policy paper on citizen participation. The first of seven meetings was held on 22 November 2021. The results of the assembly are to be incorporated into policy in the form of a citizens' report.

"Participation is an important part of our democratic culture and is also demanded in the field of research," the ministry explains on its website. With its policy paper on participation in 2016, the BMBF clearly committed itself to high-quality citizen participation in the field of research.

Society's great interest in science

At the same time, there is a great interest in science on the part of society, as the annual science barometer shows. For this reason, the Citizens' Assembly on Research gives about 50 citizens the opportunity to contribute their ideas, receive advice from experts and engage in intensive discussions in order to further strengthen participation in the field of research in the future.

According to the Ministry, the goal of the Citizens' Assembly on Research is to make future participation processes for and with citizens even more attractive and citizen-friendly. About 50 randomly selected citizens from different social groups are invited to develop concrete and practical recommendations for politics and science. These will be summarised in a citizens' report and handed over to the BMBF as part of the Year of Science 2022 and presented to the public.

Green Paper on participation as a starting point

According to the BMBF, the starting point for the Citizens' Assembly on Research is the Green Book on Participation, which represents the current state of work on the topic. It bundles challenges for exploiting the full potential of citizen participation in the field of research as well as initial proposals for overcoming these challenges. Based on this basis for discussion, a participation strategy is to be developed as a white paper with concrete recommendations.

"This is not only about increasing the use of participatory formats, but also about improving the quality of participation and promoting a culture of participation," the ministry explains. The Citizens' Assembly on Research is a core element of the citizens' consultation in the White Paper process and thus has a significant influence on the BMBF's participation strategy.

The participants of the Citizens' Assembly will discuss, among other things,

  • how participation can be anchored in research and research policy,
  • how rights and concrete opportunities for influence can be shaped, and
  • which supporting measures should be taken to promote participation.

Procedure of the Citizens' Assembly

The Citizens' Assembly on Research meets for seven sessions. In the first two introductory sessions, the citizens deal with the topic of research as well as various examples of the application of citizen participation in research policy and research. In sessions 3 to 5, the assembly dedicates itself to one of the three fields of action identified in the Green Paper process together with participation experts: Anchoring, Support and Influence and Rights. In session 6, participants can discuss additional topics that are important to them. The last two-day session will be used to formulate the recommendations.

The Citizens' Assembly will run until march 2022.

Read more: Citizens' Assembly on Research