Participation and stakeholder engagement

Shaping transformation processes -
participatory and creative

Sustainable change processes through early involvement

For more than ten years, we have seen participation at Fraunhofer UMSICHT as a process and an ongoing task. Through project-related highlight events, we constantly create new moments of contact between science, companies and society. As pioneers in a sustainable world, we involve users, citizens and stakeholders in research and change processes as early as possible in order to accompany and shape necessary transformation tasks in a participatory manner. By actively involving people, we gain strong partners in dealing with complex issues and change processes.

With our interdisciplinary team, we analyze technologies, products and urban spaces. In doing so, we consider interactions with people and society against the backdrop of global and regional challenges such as climate change, digitalization, circular economy or bio-based economy.

We support and advise you in your individual projects and transformation tasks, e.g. in the optimization of existing products, the adaptation or introduction of new technologies or the development of new strategies, also in a municipal context.

Target group-specific participation methods

We use and expand methods from innovation management, design, psychology, social sciences and applied urban research.

Whether co-creation, interventions, sprints, world café, round tables, user-centered product tests, speculative design, design thinking, exhibitions, focus groups, interviews or online surveys - with our methods we create an open culture of discussion, stimulate creativity and connect different stakeholders. We raise awareness of challenges, take different perspectives into account and create understanding in an atmosphere of trust. Depending on the project objectives, we develop participation concepts for multi-year research projects, studies or individual product tests. We create appealing graphics and impact models or build illustrative models and prototypes to make results and subjects of negotiation as clear and understandable as possible.

These formats and methods benefit from the close cooperation with the technical and systems analysis departments at the institute in the focus areas of Circular Economy, Carbon Management, Green Hydrogen and Local Energy Systems.

Your added value through our holistic approach

Through our work and the independent view of science, we accelerate innovation and make decision-making processes clearer and more robust. Our holistic approach helps you to minimize your risks in product and technology development and to align your strategy sustainably. We integrate the view of people and society into our scientific and technical approaches and into the results in the form of guidelines, options for action, concepts and systematic optimizations, which leads to acceptable solutions for the future.

Places for interaction and participation

We operate three locations with different focuses:

  • "Supermarket of Ideas" in Oberhausen city center for citizens as an open workshop and meeting space with a focus on sustainable urban development
  • "DEZENTRALE Dortmund - The Glass Laboratory" as an interdisciplinary experimental space for biomaterial research
  • "Makerspace" at Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Oberhausen with prototype workshop and exhibition space for interdisciplinary, digital and agile product development

Your way to working with us

We would be happy to create a customized offer for you, develop research projects with participatory elements together with you and look for funding opportunities. Sabrina Schreiner and Simone Krause will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Reference projects around participation and stakeholder engagement



Circular Economy in the automotive industry

In the "EKODA" project, researchers are exploring alternative utilization routes, levers and barriers to the circular economy, working on acceptance in practice, and developing business models to reuse, rather than recycle, used automotive components.



EU transformation to more plastics recycling

In the international research and demonstration project Syschemiq, 21 consortium partners from five EU countries plan to facilitate the systemic transition to a plastics circular economy in cities, regions and their associations.



Research in societal responsibility

In the LeNa project (Leitfaden Nachhaltigkeit), researchers published eight criteria in the form of a framework for reflection and further guidelines for action under the guiding principle of "research in societal responsibility". Now the follow-up project LeNa-Move is investigating how it can apply these criteria in concrete terms.




Citizen lab for energy innovations

In an open workshop, scientists work together with citizens to research what energy generation and energy saving could look like in the future. The aim of the project is to actively involve citizens in the energy technology process in order to develop solutions at the local level.




Laboratory for urban future questions

In the Laboratory for Urban Future Issues and Innovations, LUZI for short, a transdisciplinary empirical investigation is conducted in a creative environment into how and through which target groups a maker space can sustainably function.



Urban agriculture

In the procect SAIN (Urban Agriculture - Innoation) knowldege about urban food production is bundled, technologies and production facilities are made more accessible and new ideas are developed



Farming the Uncanny Valley

Discourse about
bioeconomy and

In the project »Farming the Uncanny Valley – MACHT NATUR« Fraunhofer UMSICHT develops new participation concepts together with partners in order to bring citizens and scientists together concerning bioeconomy.




Creative lab for Oberhausen

The creative lab c.lab aims at creating a sustainable and participative city development in Oberhausen.  




Medical aids in the 3D printer

As part of the SLS-ASSIST project, participants design medical aids adapted to their own needs and produce them using modern decentralized production techniques.