Fostering Public Stakeholder Engagement in the Karlsruhe Technology Region 

Discussions among the participants during the third workshop “Not in my backyard: Conflict resolution in space-related innovations and large-scale technical facilities: Experiences and recommendations from practice” of the Practitioner Network Citizen and Stakeholder Participation of the Karlsruhe Technology Region, in autumn 2022, ©TRK GmbH

Written by Lukas Kurzmann and Petra Jung-Erceg

24 June 2024

The Karlsruhe Technology Region is proud to be a pilot region for the tetRRIS project. To improve the public engagement processes in the region and ultimately support local economic development the pilot action “Practitioner Network on Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement and Participation” was created. This pilot action is part of a larger effort to integrate Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) concepts and practices into the region’s research, innovation, and technology culture. 

The network recogniszes that public stakeholder engagement is key to expanding the range of engagement beyond just citizens. Through a scoping process that included workshops, interviews, and consultations with stakeholders and key partners, it was determined that focusing on stakeholder and public engagement would be of value to the project and region as a whole.  

Many existing innovation projects in the region had already included some form of stakeholder engagement, but there hasn’t been a space or platform to share information and experiences between projects. This network aims to address this gap in shared knowledge and processes, and create a platform for exchanging best practices and processes between experts facilitating stakeholder involvement in different projects. 

The Practitioner Network for Public and Stakeholder Engagement brings together experts in the Karlsruhe region who have previous knowledge and experience in the field of stakeholder engagement. The network focuses on creating best practices that can be used and adapted across projects rather than needing to be continuously developed for each new project. The goal is to create a sustainable network that can continue after the conclusion of the TetRRIS project, which can be adopted by other countries and regions and adapted to suit their needs and existing infrastructures and environments. 

One of the topics the network focuses on is the mobility transition in the Karlsruhe Technology Region. As the region transitions away from existing mobility and transportation systems and practices towards more sustainable systems, there will inevitably be resistance from local and regional stakeholders. This transition will require significant stakeholder engagement, and the network has already brought together a wide range of expert practitioners to strengthen and improve the public and stakeholder engagement practices for this approach. 

Overall, the Practitioner Network for Public and Stakeholder Engagement is a highly promising initiative that stands to benefit not just the Karlsruhe Technology Region, but also beyond. Through a series of interviews and direct exchanges with partners over the duration of the tetRRIS project, we were able to hold four successful workshops. During these workshops, about 30 experts came together to exchange knowledge and best practices, improving public and stakeholder engagement processes. This, in turn, will lead to the development of more successful and sustainable innovation projects. We’re excited to see how this pilot action has evolved and how it can be adapted to benefit other countries and regions. 

Discussions among the participants during the third workshop “Not in my backyard: Conflict resolution in space-related innovations and large-scale technical facilities: Experiences and recommendations from practice” of the Practitioner Network Citizen and Stakeholder Participation of the Karlsruhe Technology Region, in autumn 2022, ©TRK GmbH 

More about: https://technologieregion-karlsruhe.de/eu-projekt-tetrris.

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