Bridging the science-policy interface: reflections and lessons from a study of natural resource management policy-making in Australia

Geraldine Pasqual

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] In an attempt to sharpen the conceptual basis of the science-policy interface this thesis reflects on the socio-political dynamics of science use in natural resource management policy-making, based on a multi-method approach of ethnographic fieldwork, semistructured interviews and an online questionnaire. It is one of the first comprehensive analyses of the science-policy interface in the Australian natural resource management sector. Environmental degradation caused by agricultural practices in Australia is considered one of the pressing policy challenges that government faces in the 21st century. Over the past twenty years, the significant investment by Australian governments in policies and programs to improve natural resource condition has met with limited success. One of the most significant contributors to policy limitations is the difficulty in translating research findings into improved decisions and concrete policy actions – the difficulty of bridging the science-policy interface. There are many reasons for this shortfall but a significant issue facing scholars and practitioners is how to conceptualise the interface and its defining elements. More recently, the notion of the interface has shifted from a linear, one-dimensional flow of information from science to policy, to social processes that include relations between scientists and policy-makers that allow for exchanges and co-production of knowledge. Concomitantly, the focus of researchers in this field has shifted from information quality to the social dynamics of science use. A deeper understanding of the interface is required for improvements to the planning of science use in policy-making and this is explored in this thesis. By applying an analytical framework to reflect on the dynamics of science use across micro-organisational, organisational and system perspectives, the socio-political constructs of power and trust emerged as common elements. A micro-organisational
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

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