Important information for the required documents

As the University of Vienna issues the confirmation of studies only in German, it is also possible to submit a German confirmation with the application until further notice, the organisers of the Summer School are informed accordingly.

Evidence and Democracy in Times of Crisis

Summer School at University of Oslo

Do not miss this unique opportunity to participate in Circle U.'s summer course at the University of Oslo with co-students from nine universities across Europe!


  • Course name: Evidence and Democracy in Times of Crisis
  • Dates: 7-11 August 2023
  • Location: University of Oslo + online
  • Target group: Master students
  • ECTS: 5
  • Number of places: 54
  • Costs: Free of charge with a travel grant. The University of Vienna will fund the rates of 70 €/ day (max. 7 days) and travel costs which will be calculated according to distance (Erasmus+ Distance Calculator). Additional top ups for green travel and/or inclusion may apply.
  • Application portal opens: 1 February
  • Application deadline: 28 February

Course description

The systematic use of knowledge in the public sphere - politics, administration, and public services more generally - is usually discussed under the label of evidence-based or evidence-informed policymaking.

Despite its theoretical appeal, the normative ideal of evidence-based policymaking encounters multiple challenges when faced with acute crises. Acute crises such as the current pandemic confront political and administrative decision-makers with an urgent imperative to act. They must make decisions under conditions of ambiguity and uncertainty and without a solid knowledge base. Both climate science and epidemiological knowledge have also become increasingly polarized sites of controversy in which evidence is continuously discussed and contested. Hence, democratic decisions are not simply informed by evidence, but become sites of the construction and social negotiation of evidence.

Recent developments trigger several fundamental questions regarding the role of evidence and expertise in modern democratic settings, which will be addressed in this course:

• What is the role of evidence - and what should be its role - when urgent decisions must be taken?

• How do political and administrative decision-makers balance "hard" scientific evidence with other types of evidence and other legitimate concerns?

• How can scientific evidence be communicated to the wider public without unduly antagonizing significant parts of the population?

• What are the implications of the contestation of scientific evidence and academic experts by populist politicians and parties?

• How to weigh and implement evidence-based measures that involve trade-offs with fundamental principles of democratic societies such as freedom of movement or expression?


>> Application and more information