Dr. Martin Kowarsch

Head of working group Scientific Assessments, Ethics and Public Policy

Dr. Martin Kowarsch

Dr. Martin Kowarsch heads the working group Scientific Assessments, Ethics, and Public Policy. His research interests include:

  • Theory and practice of science-informed democratic deliberation about policy alternatives that integrates values & ethics. The starting point is J. Dewey's philosophy;
  • A focus is on the evaluation and design of integrated environmental assessment processes at the science-policy-society interface (e.g., GEAs, science-informed deliberative mini-publics,...);
  • Pragmatist environmental ethics; Albert Schweitzer's moral philosophy; application & policy-relevance of (climate) ethics; ethics and economics.


Currently, Dr. Martin Kowarsch is leading the science-informed citizen deliberation process in the BMBF project ARIADNE on the German energy transition (2020-23). For this citizen deliberation, he co-developed "learning booklets" on transport and renewables deployment. Additionally, he is reponsible for a section of the FORMAS Rivet project (with Univ. Lund) on "Risk, values, and decision-making in the economics of climate change: Towards a deliberative science-policy approach to the integration of diverse values in model-based climate economics" (2020-2024).

Jointly with Ottmar Edenhofer, Dr. Martin Kowarsch developed a refined science-policy model called the “Pragmatic-Enlightened Model” (PEM). Based on Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy, it suggests to explore alternative policy pathways and their implications jointly with stakeholders in an iterative deliberation process. The PEM influenced the assessment strategy of IPCC Working Group III during the fifth assessment cycle, and guides the assessment activities at MCC. Kowarsch was coordinator of a joint research initiative (2013 - 2017) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) called “The Future of Global Environmental Assessment Making” (FOGEAM). This interdisciplinary evaluation of past global assessment-making was intended to inform future choices in assessment design. Moreover, Kowarsch provided reviews and advice for the GEO-6 assessment by UN Environment, the EU science advice mechanism, and other science-policy interfaces. Kowarsch studied philosophy and furthermore economics, and served as Associate Editor for Palgrave Communications (2017 - 2020). He is member of the Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS).

Recent reports, comments, etc.:

See Kowarsch's Springer-Nature book on social-science assessment-making; the reports of the ETHICS & VALUES IN ASSESSMENTS conference (Sep 2019) and the expert workshop on deliberative, multi-stakeholder learning platforms (Sep 2018); as well as his comment on the design of the German "coal commission" (Feb 2019) in the Tagesspiegel.

Portrait about Kowarsch in the media (Tagesspiegel Background, 10-2020).

Short video clip on value conflicts at the science-policy interface.


Curriculum vitae

Short CV

List of publications and other achievements




Latest Publications

Creutzig, F., Javaid, A., Soomauroo, Z., Lohrey, S., Milojevic-Dupont, N., Ramakrishnan, A., Sethi, M., Liu, L., Niamir, L., Bren d’Amour, C., Weddige, U., Lenzi, D., Kowarsch, M., Arndt, L., Baumann, L., Betzien, J., 2020

Fair street space allocation: ethical principles and empirical insights

Environmental Research Letters
Peer Review
Edenhofer, O., Kowarsch, M., 2019

Pascal’s Wager Reframed: Towards Trustworthy: Climate Policy Assessments for Risk Societies

In book: Why Trust Science?
Garard, J., Koch, L., Kowarsch, M., 2018

Elements of success in multi-stakeholder deliberation platforms

Palgrave Communications 4, 129
Peer Review
Lenzi, D., Lamb, W.F., Hilaire, J., Kowarsch, M., Minx, J.C., 2018

Don’t deploy negative emissions technologies without ethical analysis

Peer Review