This month, BioFresh will take part together with several other FP7-funded projects in a science-policy interface workshop organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG-RTD). The workshop, “Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: A Strategic Dialogue between Science and Policy,” will try to develop ways in which the EU can promote effective communication between EU research projects and policy, as well as encouraging “science-science dialogue” between different FP7-funded projects on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The workshop will address a number of goals:
* Achieving better communication between research and EU policy,
* Helping EU-funded projects to maximize their contribution to developing and implementing policy, in the context of current instruments such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and other policy needs
* Identifying areas in which research projects can collaborate – on scientific and technical issues, but also communication and science-policy strategies
* Looking ahead to future EU research priorities – especially in the areas of ecosystem services and natural capital, with a focus on innovation under the nascent Horizon 2020.
Photo: Zach Stern [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
In particular, the organizers have been targeting policy-relevant research by reaching out to EC policymakers before the workshop, asking them to identify current, specific needs in the form of research questions. The information has then been sent to project managers, who are asked to choose among the submitted questions and prepare briefs on how their projects could address the policy needs.
Such “co-production” of questions is a critical step in developing policy-relevant research, and this pre-workshop activity in itself is a valuable move to aid science-policy dialogue. During the workshop, participants will take part in interactive sessions such as plenary talks and round table discussions, to make the most of the wide range of expertise present, and to work on obtaining concrete results.
In fact, it is hoped that the workshop will provide the groundwork to promote ongoing exchanges not only between policymakers and project coordinators, but also amongst project coordinators themselves. Particularly in light of increasing global interest in ecosystem services, the workshop sets an important objective in exploring how best to integrate research on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Effective science-policy communication is a perennial challenge, but DG RTD is well-placed to showcase the benefits of such a strategic dialogue. Its broad reach into various arenas of research and policy means that effective integration has both a greater urgency and a potentially higher payoff. Having both the science and the policy concerned within the same European frameworks also lowers some of the barriers to successful collaboration. The workshop can point to models for the wider science-policy interface and can encourage more efficient use of scientific research to answer the questions that need to be asked for effective policy. View the full article