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Discover DUST 7: Centre for Democracy Studies Aarau & Universität Zürich

Welcome to the seventh release in our series Discover DUST, where we spotlight each of the partners in the project and share their roles and interests in Democratising Just Sustainability Transitions! In this edition, we introduce another key partner in the project: Centre for Democracy Studies Aarau (ZDA) supported by the University of Zurich. 


ZDA is an internationally renowned research institute working on a range of projects to explore democratic processes in politics, law and education. They bring their academic experience to real world situations where there is a need to understand how a variety of stakeholders are represented in institutional processes. Their work helps to improve democratic processes, for fairer decision making in Europe. They have played a key role in developing important digital tools like the DigiPartIndex, an index to measure the e-participation of citizens, the Actor-Process Event Scheme (APES), a software tool which assesses stakeholder involvement in policy processes, and the mixed-mode survey tool called Fokus AG Surveys.  

ZDA’s experience in topics relating to democratic decision making and their tools to assess the involvement of citizens in institutional processes are of great value to the DUST project. They help to drive forward work on the core objective of inclusive participation for sustainability transitions and orient our activities with local communities.  ZDA assists in the integration of the APES tool and the STEP Index to measure the quality of citizen participation in policy-making processes. They also lead a citizen’s survey to analyse the factors that influence citizen participation among different local communities in the study regions. This helps the project to understand the barriers for citizen engagement in sustainability transitions and find real pathways to bring a range of diverse voices into decision making. 


By contributing their in-depth knowledge on democratic decision making, ZDA helps the project to find new pathways for citizen engagement in sustainability transitions that are based on hard facts and real learnings from our case-study regions. Through the range of methods deployed in DUST, ZDA hopes to contribute to a just transition for citizens, promoting change now that will last into the future!  

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