Overline: #FactoryWisskomm Fellowship
Headline: Recommendations for Political Networking Events

Networking events such as parliamentary receptions are the order of the day in Berlin and state capitals across Germany. What impact do these informal dialogues between politicians and stakeholders have on political decisions? Communications researcher Meike Lohkamp will explore this issue during a six-month research residency at the Research Institute for Sustainability. Her fellowship is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the #FactoryWisskomm platform initiated by the ministry.

Meike Lohkamp, #FactoryWisskomm-Fellow am RIFS
Meike Lohkamp, #FactoryWisskomm-Fellow am RIFS RIFS/Bianca Schröder

“Networking events such as parliamentary evenings or breakfasts organized by industry associations, trade unions, public associations and science organizations are a regular fixture in the calendars of many parliamentarians. However, the impact of these events has not been studied to date”, says Lohkamp, who most recently served as the acting head of the communications office at the Helmholtz Climate Initiative. Lohkamp stresses the importance of understanding whether informal exchange between MPs and stakeholders potentially influences democracy. Science organisations will also be keen to understand whether these events offer a good return on investment.

Lohkamp's research will draw on surveys of members of the Alliance of Science Organisations, parliamentarians, their staff and employees from ministries and government agencies, with a focus on the the impact of parliamentary events and the efficient allocation of resources. Lohkamp will summarize the results of this research in a set of recommendations for science organisations and other organisers of parliamentary events, and also plans to write a research paper on their impact.