TU Berlin

Zentrum Technik und GesellschaftEnergiesysteme im Wandel und die Partizipation von Bürger_innen und zivilgesellschaftlichen Gruppen

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Public participation for Energy Transitions

Examining civic engagement in sustainable energy transitions


  • Associate Professor Sarah Darby (Acting lead of the Energy Programme, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford)
  • Professor Martina SchäferSchäfer, Martina, Prof. Dr. Dr. (Director, Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft, Technical University of Berlin)
  • Dr Jake Barnes (Energy Programme, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford)
  • Dr Sabine Hielscher (Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft, Technical University of Berlin)


March 2019 – December 2020

Description of the project

Across Europe, energy systems are being transformed, driven by the need to make them more reliable, affordable and sustainable. Citizens and civil society groups are becoming increasingly active in these processes, creating new energy futures, developing practices that are less energy-intensive and shaping decisions about the scale and direction of change.

For decades, researching ‘public participation’ in energy systems has meant seeking a better understanding of individual forms of participation and how they could be enhanced. Much less attention has been directed towards understanding how different forms of participation relate to each other. As a result, we do not know much about how cities and regions appear to foster different collections of participatory processes and what these differences may imply for social justice and inclusivity in energy transitions. 

With this seed grant we seek to tackle this gap in knowledge by developing an understanding of ‘systems of participation’ and their impacts on unfolding regional energy transitions. To achieve this, we will review prior work and trial novel methods for researching systems of participation. The project will bring together academics and stakeholders in small-scale meetings and a workshop to deepen insights and, ultimately, co-develop a new research programme.


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