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Bridging the science-policy gap: development and reception of a joint research agenda on sustainable food consumption

Author(s): Michal Sedlacko | Umberto Pisano | Gerald Berger | Katrin Lepuschitz

Journal: Sustainability : Science, Practice and Policy
ISSN 1548-7733

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 105;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: policy research | workshops | food consumption | participatory planning | stakeholders

To increase the uptake of research findings by policy makers and to encourage European researchers to better reflect policy needs, we facilitated the development of a joint research agenda (JRA) on sustainable food consumption (SFC) involving scientists, policy makers, and other stakeholders. Pursuing interpretive action research and using a number of data sources, we tried to understand how the “fit” between the characteristics of policy makers’ organizational contexts and the attributes of the JRA development process affects the reception of the JRA and its outcomes. Our framework was based on three distinct formations of discursive and material practices related to the use of knowledge in public policy making: bureaucratic, managerial, and communicative. Two dominant patterns seem to be represented in SFC consumption in the European Union: a transition between the bureaucratic and the managerial formation and a highly developed managerial formation with occasional communicative practices. We found that reflecting national policy priorities would help overcome some of the structural barriers between science and policy, whereas other barriers could be addressed by designing the process to better fit with the logics of the three formations, such as the fragmentation of knowledge (bureaucratic formation) or breadth of participation (communicative formation).
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