Another blogpost from me this week – it has been a busy period! It was great to see this article by science writer, Julia Rosen, released in Nature this week. The purpose of the article is to provide tips on how to influence policy with science, based on the research of various experts from around the world. One such expert, Dr Megan Evans, gives lots of useful advice on connecting with policy based on an excellent paper released earlier this year. Do stay tuned for a book chapter co-authored by Megan, myself, and Dr Rebecca Jarvis, which is to be published later this year. This chapter will provide advice on how to engage well with decision-makers of all kinds and should be available open access alongside a number of other chapters on how to link conservation research, policy, and practice!
In the Nature article by Rosen, I stress two main points. Firstly, it is useful for scientists to network with policy-makers, particularly by working with them face-to-face. Out institutions aren’t geared to encouraging this, but we can change this! Even though we are now able to connect with people across the world at any time in a number of different formats, there is no substitute for face-to-face working. I will be putting this into practice with a secondment to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK Government) later this year.
Secondly, I stress the importance of evidence synthesis. As research led by POST and UCL STEaPP found late last year, policy-makers rarely want to hear about the latest shiny, new academic paper. Instead, they want to know what the body of evidence says and preferably want to know which policy options work in practice. Something like the Conservation Evidence project is a good example of how to collate evidence systematically so that a policy-maker can quickly assess the body of evidence and adopt policies that are likely to work. This reduces the chances of making a costly, wrong decision.
Lots of other great tips are provided by other experts throughout the article. Enjoy!