Scientific research support for the Trialogue on Germany’s “Energiewende” of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance

This project examines which conditions need to be met to ensure success of the Trialogue-format which was developed at the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance.

Research targets and approach

Complex societal problems often cannot be solved by one social group – such as policy makers – alone. For these kinds of contexts, the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance has developed a special type of political platform: so-called Trialogues. During these processes, projected to run for several years, representatives from organized civil society, business and politics, accompanied by academia and the media, discuss their different perspectives and strategies on a specific topic in a deliberative negotiation process – with the intention of using it to develop cooperative solutions.

The task of ISOE’s sub-project consists of

  • describing aspects of the procedural prerequisites for successful deliberation during the Trialogue-procedure, which were obtained from interviews with Trialogue participants and from own participatory observation,
  • drawing conclusions on how stable the key points of solution strategies developed during the Trialogue-process are
  • as well as making recommendations for methodological adjustments in the Trialogue-processes.

An initial compilation and description of basic quality characteristics and requirements towards deliberative processes will be finished by mid-2014. Specific discussions on the supportive character of the previously identified quality aspects will be held with Trialogue-participants and leaders beforehand. The ultimate goal of these procedures is to set up a catalogue with quality requirements and an ideal-typical process model for these types of deliberative procedures.

The scientific research support will be conducted in collaboration with colleagues from various national and international institutions of science studies and sociology of science.


Politically, the Trialogue is based on the idea that conventional politics often is not in a position, given economic globalization and transnational challenges, to fulfill its tasks alone. This is seen as being one of the main reasons for the ongoing loss of confidence in politics. The object of the Trialogues is to contribute to the strengthening of democratic policies by formulating them from different social perspectives and thinking them through with a view to the long term – the idea being that this improves domestic practicability and political feasibility. So with its Trialogues, the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance wants to contribute – from the center of society and in cooperation with policy makers, and in the pre-parliamentary and pre-governmental realm – to setting up sustainable solutions to existing problems. The transdisciplinary Trialogues serve this end.


2012/03 – 2014/05