DemocracyNet supports a variety of projects and activities that relate to democracy studies and corresponds to the two guiding aims of the association:

  • Foster interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration on projects among researchers: academic events
  • Make academic debates accessible to a wider, non-academic audience: transfer events

Our members have successfully launched a number of projects, about which you can learn on this webpage. Among other things, we have organized

Academic workshops

DemocracyNet hosts regular workshops for junior researchers (PhDs and Postdocs) since 2012. The aim of these academic events is for junior researchers to benefit from interdisciplinary exchange, obtain feedback from other researchers, and have an opportunity to develop new collaborations for their projects.

Thanks to a collaboration with the Doctoral Program Democracy Studies of the University of Zurich since 2017, DemocracyNet organizes a yearly Research Workshop at the University of Zurich.

Public lectures

DemocracyNet members have organized a number of public lectures and roundtables on various topics related to democracy, with the aims of contribute to public debates on current political issue and of making academic debates more accessible to a wider audience.

Some of these events have benefitted from fruitful collaborations with civil society organizations.


The Abstimm-Bar is an original transfer format that aims at providing a space to gain information and debate about issues put to the popular vote in Switzerland. The issues discussed vary depending on what popular initiatives, mandatory referendums, or facultative referendums are voted on; the format stays the same.
In a first step, participants can learn about the specific proposal put to the vote and about the arguments for and against it. No previous knowledge is required; it is meant as an inclusive and respectful space for gaining information. In a second step, participants are invited to discuss about the proposals and the reasons to accept of reject them among themselves, in smaller groups.

The Abstimm-Bar format was first developed by Alice el-Wakil and Vasco Gamboni as Apéro Votations in Yverdon-les-Bains. You can learn more about the origin of the project here. It has been taking place in Zurich before every popular vote since the beginning of 2018 thanks to the voluntary work of a number of DemocracyNet members.

Events series

Our members have organized two year-long events series at the University of Zurich, thanks to the support of Graduate Campus Grants:

These series make it possible to explore a specific set of issues in a number of public events and research workshops.


All these activities have been funded externally, thanks to the support of our various partners. Our members have organized them on a voluntary basis.

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