Ariadne – citizen deliberation on energy transition

The German government set the goal to become climate-neutral by 2045. But climate targets do not guarantee success on their own. To achieve the transformation to climate neutrality, concrete instruments and policy options that are supported by society are needed. This also requires a joint learning process between science, politics, business and society. The Ariadne project takes a new approach: randomly selected citizens have been involved from the very beginning in the research project through deliberation. Citizens and researchers discussed together about key challenges, conflicting goals and their values on the electricity and transport transition. Visualizations and interactive tools made the complex content of the energy transition accessible. In the nearly three-year deliberation process, socially sustainable and scientifically grounded policy options for the energy transition were developed.



Project overview

  • Partners :Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
  • Institute of Transport Research – German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology IEE
  • Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) 
  • Duration :June 2020 to August 2023
  • Keyfacts :Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Part of the Copernicus Research Initiative
  • More than 25 participating research institutes
  • Learning process between science and citizens

ifok designed dialogue and visualizations in the Ariadne project

ifok designed, organized and moderated the dialogue between and with citizens in the Ariadne project. Through a two-step, random citizen selection process, we ensured a wide range of perspectives, experiential knowledge and values in the discussions. The underlying values behind citizens’ preferences and what is important to them in shaping the energy transition were at the heart of the dialogue on the electricity and transportation transition. In the deliberation process, we employed various citizen dialogue formats and methods: 

  • In nine regional focus groups in 2020, approximately 90 randomly selected citizens from across the country discussed what is important to them for implementing the transformation of transport and electricity. By using narratives they talked about challenges, goals as well as needs and their values. In two subsequent co-creation workshops, citizens collaborated with researchers to concretize main topics for the further development of scenarios and policy options in the project. 
  • In two citizens’ conferences in autumn 2021, more than 100 newly randomly selected citizens discussed about policy paths for implementing the electricity and mobility transition. This process was supported by a developed knowledge app. In in four deliberation in spring 2023, preferred policy paths by citizens were further explored in depth by using personas and core messages were developed. 
  • At the citizens’ summit in Berlin in March 2023, citizens presented their core messages to stakeholder from politics, business and civil society.

ifok services


Event management


Project management

Our successes

Approximately 180 randomly selected citizens participated in the citizen dialogue over a period of three years. The citizens expressed their support for the energy transition and called for greater social justice and participation.

The results of the Ariadne citizen dialogue were visualized by ifok in the form of graphics, personas and posters. Moreover, a video documented the entire process and an exhibition highlighted the results.

At the concluding Ariadne Citizens’ Summit, participants of the deliberation process had the opportunity to engage with representatives from politics, business, science and civil society. The presented policy paths give orientation for political decision-makers to achieve the goal of climate neutrality in the sectors of transport and electricity.

Impressions from the project

Your contact persons

Portrait Martina Richwien

Martina Richwien

Member of the Management Board | Climate and Energy

Phone+49 30 536077-15

Julia Hoffmann

Managing Consultant | Climate and Energy

Phone+49 30 536077-74

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