Research Projects

House of Participation

Impact through Digital Interaction

Status: Ongoing

The question about how digital formats can support the inclusive and sustainable participation of citizens in participatory processes continues gaining relevance. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has chosen the motto „Nachgefragt“ (in English: “Inquiry”) for the last Science Year 2022, thus putting the topic of participation in the spotlight.

With the new Research Focus Digital Citizen Participation,the FZI is now picking up on this impulse and underlining the importance of research on opportunities, challenges and the design of digital participation formats. Part of the new Research Focus is the initiative House of Participation (HoP): a newly created competence center on topics of digital citizen participation at the FZI.

The FZI has already successfully participated in past and current projects (for example, TakePart, PAAS, Bioeconomy 4.0, VIRTUS und DeFaktS) on issues of digital participation in different contexts. With the HoP, this gathered expertise is bundled in an institutional framework and processed in four impact areas: The vision is to promote (digital) participation in the public sector including its administrative bodies, in organizations and companies, in science and in the field of technology development and innovation.

As an entry point for decision-makers from politics, civil society, business, and science, the FZI enters into an intensive dialog with the House of Participation about forms and uses of digital participation and offers to provide scientific support for real participation projects.

Particularly today, I see it as urgently necessary, both economically and socially, to let people participate in important decisions – be it in the workplace, social life, the cultural sector and, above all, in political matters. That's why we need to understand much better how we can use digitization for this purpose as well. We call this Digital Citizen Participation.

Portrait von Christof Weinhardt
Prof. Dr. Christof Weinhardt
Scientific Director at the FZI

About HoP

Social transformation processes, such as in the mobility and energy sectors but also in the planning of more sustainable and connected cities, merits involving the population to jointly search for and develop solutions. The type of participation that makes sense depends not only on the individual areas but rather on the goal and complexity of the issue. The shift of many participation processes into the digital space has additionally expanded the possible fields of action and creates new demands for social exchange, inclusion, and user experience. The design of participation processes and suitable infrastructure is crucial for a successful experience for initiators and participants.

In this context, as a scientific research institution the HoP supports practice partners with its expertise and offers consulting and scientific support for participation projects: How can digital technologies help to realize participation concepts? How can challenges to direct democracy be mastered and opportunities exploited? The HoP’s expertise lies explicitly in the research, design, development and evaluation of digital participation processes and platforms. As a competence center, it promotes networking actors in the field of digital participation and strengthens the scientific and social discourse on digital participation.   


As an umbrella organization, the House of Participation bundles the research expertise of the FZI on topics of digital participation and participatory support systems and acts as a contact for interested parties from politics, civil society, science, and business. For the House of Participation as an initiative of the FZI, scientists from the disciplines of business informatics, computer science, political science, and psychology are involved with expertise in the areas of:
  • Market and platform design
  • Data analytics
  • Digital experience
  • User behavior
  • Requirements analysis
  • Explainable and ethical AI
  • Machine learning
  • Evaluation, behavioral and acceptance studies

Research focus

Digital Democracy and Participation

In the Digital Democracy and Participation research focus the spotlight is on inclusive, modern and democratic forms of digital participation as well as the opportunities and challenges of digital democracy.


Dr. Jonas Fegert

Department Manager
Division: Information Process Engineering

Further exemplary projects