Policy making regarding application of agricultural biotechnology has been controversial. This study investigates what determines the motivation of European biotech scientists to actively participate in policy making. To do this, a conceptual framework was developed based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. The framework was operationalized in semistructured interviews with 17 European biotech scientists to collect data about their motivation to involve in GMO policy making. The results of this qualitative study suggest that the attitude of the scientists towards active participation in policy making is dependent on their view of the way science and decision making relate to each other. The respondents who are currently active in policy making seem to be driven by commitment to the public good. However, many respondents feel social pressure from environmental NGOs to withdraw from engagement in GMO policy making. Furthermore, the respondents judge themselves more competent to take an informing role than a participating role. Finally, many of the scientists feel that encouragement by their own research institute or some science-policy organization increases their ability to involve in policy making. The conceptual framework developed in this study provides a tool to research the motivation to engage in policy making of scientists in other science and technology fields.

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Science communication in policy making
A qualitative research about the motivation of academic biotech scientists to participate in policy making in Europe

H.C. Coumou   Technical University of Denmark

Z. Kulichova   Delft University of Technology

C. Wehrmann   Delft University of Technology

P. Osseweijer   Delft University of Technology

Policy making regarding application of agricultural biotechnology has been controversial. This study investigates what determines the motivation of European biotech scientists to actively participate in policy making. To do this, a conceptual framework was developed based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. The framework was operationalized in semistructured interviews with 17 European biotech scientists to collect data about their motivation to involve in GMO policy making. The results of this qualitative study suggest that the attitude of the scientists towards active participation in policy making is dependent on their view of the way science and decision making relate to each other. The respondents who are currently active in policy making seem to be driven by commitment to the public good. However, many respondents feel social pressure from environmental NGOs to withdraw from engagement in GMO policy making. Furthermore, the respondents judge themselves more competent to take an informing role than a participating role. Finally, many of the scientists feel that encouragement by their own research institute or some science-policy organization increases their ability to involve in policy making. The conceptual framework developed in this study provides a tool to research the motivation to engage in policy making of scientists in other science and technology fields.

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