The Use of Expertise in Germany – a comparative analysis

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The use of scientific expertise in policy-making has received renewed attention within the past decade. However, comparative studies tracing the criteria according to which scientific evidence is successfully “translated” into regulatory knowledge are still missing. The question remains with which knowledge controversies and uncertainties politico-administrative actors are confronted in the light of “wicked problems” and how they cope with them.

The project “The Use of Expertise” therefore focusses on selected government departments and agencies in two policy fields characterized by “wicked problems”: energy policy and consumer policy. What are the specific criteria scientific expert knowledge has to comply with in order to be deemed as relevant in decision-making processes by government departments and agencies?

The aim is to explore which practices, and possibly standards, of translating scientific expertise into regulatory knowledge can be identified. To do so, actor constellations and knowledge controversies in science advice and procedures of public legitimation mediating between science, politics and civil society will be reconstructed on the basis of document analysis, expert interviews and survey data.                                                                                                         

The project will be carried out in close cooperation between the Humboldt-University Berlin and the WZB. Thereby, we aim at evaluating common infrastructures for future “comparative science advice and expertise studies”.