Status quo vadis? An assessment of the relationship between science, education and policy implementation.


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Presentation by Dr Christopher House (University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, Swansea) at the Research-Teaching Practice in Wales Conference, 9th September 2013, at the University of Wales, Gregynog Hall. Slidecast edited by Professor Simon Haslett.

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  • Status quo keep the things they way they areQuo vadis Where are you goingStatus quo ante- state of affairs previously
  • Status quo vadis? An assessment of the relationship between science, education and policy implementation.

    1. 1. Status quo vadis? An assessment of the relationship between science, education and policy implementation Christopher House, Gavin Bunting and Stephen Hole .
    2. 2. Introduction • Status quo ante – 1597 Bacon had written scientia potentia est. (knowledge is power) – Science should serve the state • Trust me I’m a scientist – The relationship between science, education and policy has often been one of ‘unhappy bedfellows’ – The role of sound science and considered educational practice needs clarification • Our background to this topic – Research-teaching nexus meetings/conferences – Marine Policy 2012
    3. 3. Complexity of the issue • Knowledge and application gaps – Gribbin (2007) this generation has sorted out the knowledge the challenge for the next generation is the manipulation of that knowledge – E.g. The science of climate change is intricate and complex but is easy compared to the socio economic and political challenges it faces. (Rees, 2009) • The authority and public perception of scientists is changing (Shapin, 2004) • Incapacity in Governance • Discredited policy decisions • Legitimacy, credibility and authority (Jasanoff, (2004); Denis et al. (2009); Fritz, (2010)
    4. 4. Literature • Key management decisions have often been made in the absence of data or science (Parsons, 2001) • The differences in behaviour and attitudes between scientists and government can contribute towards the difficulties with the transmitting and translating of scientific information into policy and decision making (Bradshaw & Borchers, 2000) • Scientists have an obligation to engage with policy makers (Rees, 2009) • Negotiated knowledge transfer and dialogue (Ringberg et al, 2008) • Scientists need to communicate information as well as convey uncertainties, limits and knowledge (Wibeck, 2009)
    5. 5. Methodology • 112 semi-structured and informal interviews (stratified matrix sampling) • 73 administrations / institutions • Supplemented with – Informal participant observations – Review of proceedings from international Conferences • Mixed methodology to clarify subject complexity
    6. 6. Some of the preliminary results Issue Science (%) Education (%) Legislation Legally supported research. 83.8 Education driven by legislation and professional norms. 28.8 Policy formulators Help set research questions but not methodology. 75.4 Define dissemination procedures. 22.2 Human resources Research equipment and personnel. Respond to needs of managers and public. 71.0 Commitment to education and resources. Respond to needs of managers and public. 63.3 Lack of coordination between results and policy development Committee structure and membership Scientific non-symbolic engagement in policy process 72.8 Educational non-symbolic engagement in policy process 50.4 Research bureaucracy needs streamlining. Capacity building. 67.9 Education bureaucracy needs streamlining. Capacity building. 72.3
    7. 7. Scientific disengagement Internalise science into policy 55.9 Internalise science into education 61.9 Visibility, awareness and transparency Innovative and accessible dissemination of research findings. 54.9 Innovative and accessible forums of knowledge transfer. Improved traditional dissemination. 44.1 Limited number of ‘personalities’ great influence Clearly communicated roles. 56.7 Selection and regional champions/educators. 54.9 Public participation Identifying research agendas. 40.8 Composing education programmes. 8.7 Awareness Need for horizontal and vertical coordination of research. 32.0 Need for horizontal and vertical coordination of education. 20.4 Time frames Realistic 19.3 Short and long term embedded education. 23.9 Interim reporting Include science. 13.9 Dissemination 65.7
    8. 8. Principal findings • Policy makers should engage more coherently with existing research • There is a need to facilitate research agenda identification, without dictating their form • Extensive research findings are already available, but there is a need for further translation, coordination, communication and adaptation of the work
    9. 9. Principal findings cont’d • Science needs to be increasingly internalised into policy formulation, implementation and monitoring • Knowledge and understanding requires considered dissemination • Facilitate shared awareness, both vertically and horizontally
    10. 10. Output Outcome Implementation Policy Socio-econ. political DISENGAGEMENT Science & Education Nexus Active agents (e.g. Ecological landscape) Phenonema (e.g. Physical Landscape) Disengagement of science/education nexus from the policy process
    11. 11. Some possible solutions The need for a research repository • Research often reaches a group/individual and then stops – Therefore needs to be researched again – Need a research repository – But the research needs ‘value’ and ‘use’ (Watson & Hewett, 2006)
    12. 12. Research Repository • Built on the needs of stakeholders developing • Simple and efficient tools • Bridging science and decision making in a coworking process • End users can identify common threats and solutions • Builds on existing capacities to develop common novel approaches to support integrated policies and practices
    13. 13. Made simple but not simpler (Einstein) • Policy results should be visible and need to use innovative forums of awareness raising and be culturally sensitive • The role of science and education needs to be legally binding • Administrative inertia from which professional norms can evolve need to be facilitated • Technology Enhanced Dissemination
    14. 14. Knowledge Transfer (TED) Nexus Science Education Framework for Technology Enhanced Dissemination (TED) National Local Output & outcome Measurement (Quantitative & semiqualitative) Informal and formal feedback Supranational
    15. 15. Conclusion • Implications of findings are central to the efficient and effective application of science • President Obama (2008) said – Decisions need to be based on best scientific advice and this should be heeded . . . Even when it is inconvenient – indeed especially when it is inconvenient • Thanks. Any questions