18 August 2006

Dissemination key to science uptake by policy-makers

A recent publication by DEFRA (www.defra.gov.uk) reports on a 2005 science meets policy workshop that discussed ways to improve linkages between policy needs and research programmes; and the accessibility of scientific knowledge to policy makers [in Europe]. Findings and recommendations on the accessibility and uptake of research in policy processes included:

The need for more effective processes aimed at 'translating' research results into inputs that could be useful and accessible to policy-makers. There is therefore great potential for various types of intermediaries and ‘translators’ to work at the science-policy interface.

New forms of communication for research need to include: policy briefs from policy-relevant research projects; the use of science cafes; and work with media specialists.

There is a need for better databases to ensure that scientific knowledge is more readily available to policy-makers. These databases need to be easily searchable and written in plain language. There is a fear that, similar to the points about translation and synthesis, there is a lack of memory about what research has been conducted and where the results can be found. Electronic databases of scientific publications only go back ten or 20 years and mostly cover English-language publications.




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