Facilitating Knowledge Mobilization at the Science/Policy Interface

SSHRC Connections Grant

Click here to access the Final Report edited by Hurlbert, Diaz, and Warren, February 2013.

Climate change has been identified as a source of both risks and opportunities. An effective management of both threats and opportunities requires not only an expansion of our knowledge about climate change, but also an effective integration of this knowledge into public policies and programs in order to increase the adaptive capacity of the state and civil society. This integration, however, has been problematic given the lack of a consistent and effective communication between science and practice. The fundamental goal of the project is to enhance understanding and practices that improve the mobilization of climate knowledge among science, governments, NGOs, and industry. Researchers, government and NGO staff, representatives of industry, and local stakeholders were engaged in the analysis, development and application of ideas and practices that improve the process of climate knowledge mobilization. This engagement was informed by the experiences of several research projects focused on climate change. Researchers and government staff from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Canada participated.

The main activity of this connection project was a two and a half day Colloquium on September 10-12, 2012 in Crowsnest Pass AB. The Colloquium brought together scientists, government personnel, policy makers, NGOs, and industry to discuss guidelines, methodologies, and tools for improving the linkages between science and policy in the area of climate change.

In this context three objectives inform the project:

1.To assess and compare specific experiences at the science/practice interface in relation to climate change in each of the five countries.

2.To discuss some innovative connection options to facilitate the connection between science, government and stakeholders.

3.To develop guidelines, indicators, and tools for improving the linkages between science and policy in the area of climate change and global environmental change (GEC).

Results of the Colloquim will be compiled and amassed into a final report.

The project team have a significant experience with developing and implementing policy-oriented climate change related projects. As a team we have become aware of the limitations of previous knowledge mobilization strategies and programs implemented in the course of these projects. There is a complexity in the science/practice interface that it is necessary to dissect and analyze in order to develop better knowledge dissemination plans that allow for a more successful transfer of knowledge among all the actors involved in the project. By achieving this, the project will foster new knowledge, indicators, tools and methods of knowledge mobilization for various aspects of intervention, curriculum, program delivery and policy development in the area of climate change and, without a doubt, for other areas of research and policy analysis where the link between science and practice is highly relevant.