Scientific Assessments, Ethics, and Public Policy

The working group analyzes scientific assessments and other tools at the science-policy interface. Our research focuses particularly on the appropriate treatment of normative aspects in integrated, environment-related policy assessments.


Team members

Head: Dr. Martin Kowarsch

Dr. Dominic Lenzi 


Research agenda 

The group primarily carries out research on integrated scientific assessments and other formats of scientific policy advice (e.g., EU SAM). We aim to improve the design of the science-policy interface in terms of promoting deliberative democratic learning processes. According to the "Pragmatic-enlightened model” (PEM) for science in policy, which was developed at MCC, assessments should explore the various implications of alternative policy pathways in collaboration with stakeholders. Given the entanglement of facts and values, the explicit and constructive treatment of value issues is crucial in this regard. The group does research from different disciplinary perspectives and employs various methods, including, among other things, philosophical argumentation, empirical social-science research and applications of political theory.


Research projects

Besides the development of the PEM philosophy, a big project conducted by this group was the joint research initiative together with UN Environment on the future of global environmental assessment making (FOGEAM, 2013–2016). This project inter alia resulted in a Special Issue of Environmental Science & Policy and a high-ranking synthesis article in 2017. Currently, the group is developing new ways of integrating ethical reflections in scientific assessments – in 2019, the team will organize a conference on this topic. Dominic Lenzi is furthermore doing research on ethical aspects of negative emissions as well as on property rights issues related to the management of global natural commons. Additionally, Martin Kowarsch is working on effective formats to foster deliberative learning processes at the science-policy interface in the age of populism.


Current publications

Edenhofer, O., Kowarsch, M., 2019

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

In book: Why Trust Science?
Lenzi, D., 2019

Deliberating about Climate Change: The Case for ‘Thinking and Nudging’

Moral Philosophy and Politics
Peer Review

Sign up for the MCC newsletter.