The European Commission promotes better use of scientific knowledge in policymaking

The Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre welcomes that the European Commission (EC) published a Staff Working Document last Wednesday, to promote policy debates and development in Member States for building capacity for a better use of scientific knowledge in policymaking.

The document lays out the rationale for building capacity for science for policy, identifies key challenges, lists good practice cases, and identifies a set of EU support instruments, resources and policy frameworks to help Member States.

The EC argues that policymakers face more and more complex policy problems, such as climate change, the energy crisis, the loss of biodiversity and the green transition. At the same time society has become more polarised and fact resistant.  The role of science in order to support policymakers in better understanding policy problems and solutions, while at the same time presenting facts and arguments into political debates, has hence increased.

The main challenges for this interaction to succeed is according to EC:

  • the need for better connections and relationships between actors and organisations in both research and in public administrations;
  • the need to improve professional competences of both scientists and policymakers to inform policy with science; and
  • the need for good governance in informing policy with science through transparent, participatory, and anticipatory processes.

EC see these challenges as a collective task that could serve policymakers at the EU, Member States, and regional level equally well.

Some of the recommendations from EC to Member States to solve the task have direct implication to academia:

  1. creating more knowledge exchange opportunities such as innovation camps and pairing schemes to facilitate networking between scientists and policymakers, also enabling policymakers to visit scientific organisations and have interviews with many scientists
  2. providing support to existing professional networks across Member States in the area of science for policy
  3. developing fellowship schemes and placement opportunities of scientists in public administrations to promote inter-sectoral mobility as well as analytical capacity in public service

Text: Ellen Bruno

Further reading

Personal relationships key to successful science - policy interactions

The Commission publishes a new Document to promote discussion on a better use of scientific knowledge in policymaking