Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator

Director, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra

Simon Niemeyer is a Professor and co-founder of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance. He is also currently the Director of the Centre, having taken over from John Dryzek in October 2020.

His broad research interests the broad fields of deliberative democracy, deliberative reasoning, and environmental governance, particularly in respect to climate change and the role of deliberative approaches to improve capacity to mitigate and adapt. His research also concerns how insights from minipublic deliberation can be harnessed to improve deliberative quality in the wider public sphere.

His research ties together the themes of political behaviour, the public sphere and observations from deliberative minipublics, such as Citizens’ Juries, to develop insights into interventions and institutional settings that improve deliberation and the functioning of democratic systems. He has contributed to major theoretical insights in deliberative democracy, with practical implications informing the design and analysis of deliberative minipublics, as well as improving the broader democratic process.

His research also involves developing theories and methods for understanding deliberative transformation and reasoning. This includes the development of a theory of deliberative reasoning and method (Deliberative Reasoning Index; DRI) for analysis of reasoning as a group level property. This research has contributed to an improved understanding of the forces that shape public opinion and how this can be improved so that public better articulates their collective long-term interests. The research is carried forward into his current project involving metastudy of deliberation, which will inform deliberative methodologies as well as how group deliberation can be improved via the design of deliberative minipublics, as well as the implications for institutional design more broadly.

Simon completed his PhD at the Australian National University and since then has been the recipient of a number of Australian Research Council Awards, including an earlier iteration of what has become the DECRA award and an ARC Future Fellowship. He has been lead investigator on four large ARC projects concerning the possibilities for achieving mass public deliberation.

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