In June 2003 a citizens' conference on the topic of genetic data took place in Vienna, organised by a public relation agency on behalf of the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development.
Over two week-ends eleven lay people were informed about the topic and selected a number of experts whom they subsequently queried during a public event. The lay people produced a statement which they presented to the President of the Austrian Parliament. Our work aimed at analysing the institutional context and exposing diverse social and cognitive dynamics in the context of the development of a common decision. In addition, we wanted to explore what participatory policy advice could contribute to better information, political legitimisation and pluralism under the specific national conditions.