Press Release

When Policy Decisionmakers Meet Scientists: What Makes for Success?

Feb 15, 2017

WASHINGTON—Based on interviews with federal employees, a new study posted by Resources for the Future (RFF) assesses interactions between government decisionmakers and science programs. Authors James Boyd, RFF senior fellow, and Jonathan Kramer, director of interdisciplinary science at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, identify a range of practices that contribute to the success or failure of decision-oriented scientific input.

Among those considerations:

  • Successful science–decisionmaking interactions require deliberate managerial attention to the challenges associated with communication and coordination between scientists and decisionmakers.
  • Effective science–decision collaborations are associated with support from high-level policy leaders who lend their authority to the budget and personnel allocations necessary to deliberate mechanisms for interaction.
  • Administrative reforms designed to improve science–decisionmaking interactions should focus on identifying, training, and rewarding science–decision “stewards” assigned the responsibility of managing collaboration between scientists and decisionmakers.

Read the new paper—Science and Environmental Decisions: A Survey of Interactions, Success and Difficulties.

Resources for the Future does not take institutional positions. Please attribute any findings to the authors or the research itself. For example, use "According to research from RFF …" rather than "According to RFF …".

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Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC, that conducts rigorous economic research and analysis to improve environmental and natural resource policy.