There is increasing recognition that policy-makers need to be provided with the latest and best scientific evidence to ensure policy is better informed. However the dialogue between science and policy is not straightforward, nor free of conflict (JRC and AAAS, 2010). Research- ers may feel a lack of reception from policy-makers for their work, whilst policy-makers may fail to identify relevance in research unless it is highlighted for them (Stone, 2002). This em- phasises the importance of good  ommunication and the role of knowledge brokers in this field (Holmes & Clarke, 2008).

Science for Environment Policy (SfEP) is a weekly electronic news alert targeted at policy- makers across the EU. It disseminates environmental research to 14,000 subscribers and is financially supported by the European Commission. The project has recently expanded to include two new publications that cover emerging, multi-disciplinary and sometimes contro-versial areas of research such as Biodiversity and Health, Plastic Waste and Green Infrastruc- ture. As such, they require ommunication of research that is accessible to policy-makers but also faithful to its scientific roots.

An action research project was initiated to develop these multifaceted publications and explore the process of responsible science communication to policy-makers .The metaphor of an ‘ethical tightrope’ is used to describe the experience science ommunicators can face when finding the balance between communicating research in a format that will have an impact on policy, whilst maintaining its scientific bjectivity and meticulousness.

The research used the new SfEP publications as a platform to conduct in-depth interviews with both scientists (n = 6) and EU policy-makers from DG Environment (n = 6). Participants were asked about the use of research in policy-making, the qualities that make research valuable to policy and the advantages and  isadvantages of using a professional science com-munication service.

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Walking the ethical tightrope between science and policy
Responsible communication of scientific research to policy-makers

Franca Davenport   Science for Environment Policy, University of the West of England Introduction

There is increasing recognition that policy-makers need to be provided with the latest and best scientific evidence to ensure policy is better informed. However the dialogue between science and policy is not straightforward, nor free of conflict (JRC and AAAS, 2010). Research- ers may feel a lack of reception from policy-makers for their work, whilst policy-makers may fail to identify relevance in research unless it is highlighted for them (Stone, 2002). This em- phasises the importance of good  ommunication and the role of knowledge brokers in this field (Holmes & Clarke, 2008).

Science for Environment Policy (SfEP) is a weekly electronic news alert targeted at policy- makers across the EU. It disseminates environmental research to 14,000 subscribers and is financially supported by the European Commission. The project has recently expanded to include two new publications that cover emerging, multi-disciplinary and sometimes contro-versial areas of research such as Biodiversity and Health, Plastic Waste and Green Infrastruc- ture. As such, they require ommunication of research that is accessible to policy-makers but also faithful to its scientific roots.

An action research project was initiated to develop these multifaceted publications and explore the process of responsible science communication to policy-makers .The metaphor of an ‘ethical tightrope’ is used to describe the experience science ommunicators can face when finding the balance between communicating research in a format that will have an impact on policy, whilst maintaining its scientific bjectivity and meticulousness.

The research used the new SfEP publications as a platform to conduct in-depth interviews with both scientists (n = 6) and EU policy-makers from DG Environment (n = 6). Participants were asked about the use of research in policy-making, the qualities that make research valuable to policy and the advantages and  isadvantages of using a professional science com-munication service.

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