Formas has the task promote and support basic research and needs-oriented research in the areas of Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. To their annual call 2011 nearly 1300 applications were received, of which 112 new projects now will share 421 million dollars. One of these projects is Multimodal communication for participation in planning processes and decision analysis: tools and process models" with Professor Mats Danielson (project leader), Professor Love Ekenberg and Aron Larsson, PhD Both the group and the project idea had the highest ratings in the evaluation.


"This is obviously nice for DSV. We have recently more systematically and in real-wide basis begun to engage in projects in democracy and e-government," underlines the head of department Love Ekenberg also part of the project. "This applies both within our regular activities and within the center SPIDER - in the latter case with a developing country perspective."

There is a need to achieve more democratic decision-making processes in society. It is about increasing public insight and influence in decision making. The researchers want to do is to develop methods for interest groups to convey their views to policy makers. In particular, it is important to devise new ways and new tools to communicate information between policy makers and the public - and what DSV is studying is how the computer support can facilitate this process.


"It's great that DSV and the work of research group Decide in decision support systems for public decisions once again is highlighted by a grant from a research council," stresses project leader Professor Mats Danielson. "For nearly 20 years, the group has developed theory as well as algorithms and tools for decision support and decision analysis and applied them in several different areas."


The project implements three different case studies in three different municipalities. Each case study will examine a current planning or decision-making process and will this test and evaluate tools for a richer form of communication between the public and decision makers in in writing or in some cases images. An important part of the project is to look at how the information conveyed through computer-based channels can be used in a decision-making in a structured way. The project will investigate how existing models of participation in public decision-making can be extended and adapted to exploit the new form of information.

"It is reasonable to require transparency in different planning processes and the societal decision-making in general," says Love Ekenberg. "This project will explore how to communicate decisions to the citizens and how to enable them to influence.

Researchers will also propose how to deal with the processes for decision-making and the decisions themselves. In particular, as the interest for transparent models of rational and effective decision making.

Decide Group

Decide is a network of researchers in Sweden working on issues related to decision-makring theory, decision analysis and risk analysis. The group's projects range from national systems to manage risk of flooding to the difficult and controversial political decisions. Traditional research approaches have been either descriptive, i.e. to try to describe how decision-makers actually behave or normative, i.e. how policy makers should act in decision situations.

"None of these approaches has completely succeeded in producing a desirable support that really helps in decision making," explains Mats Danielson. "A better approach is the prescriptive approach in which we support processes describe a work process that leads from the initial problem definition to final decisions. The actual decision - based on a decision-making data and an understanding of both the decision problem and the process - can then be made in several different ways depending on the situation and organization.

This interview in Swedish