The art of brokering knowledge or how to align the stars

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Published on
July 1, 2020

The Geneva Science-Policy Interface was created based on the normative premise that evidence-based policy-making (EBPM) leads to more robust, impactful policy outcomes. EBPM presupposes that policy decisions are based on rigorous information collected through a process of systematic investigation.This normative premise faces two difficulties: (1) the scientific process focuses on pushing the knowledge frontier and as such does not necessarily produce decision-relevant insights; (2) even if science would produce relevant insights, their dissemination and integration into decisions are not straightforward for plenty of reasons.

Among many others, they include different languages (scientific language versus policy language), different timings (scientific processes are usually slow and policy processes are sometimes erratic), and a lack of time among policy actors to read scientific papers and synthesise their evidence.

Six factors for impactful knowledge brokering

This think piece delineate six factors that characterise what we see as effective knowledge brokering. We expect these factors to work as ‘reminders’ or ‘a checklist’ that support academics, policy actors and platforms in their knowledge brokering activities. We extracted these factors from our past activities as well as from the literature on knowledge brokering and academic policy engagement.

In summary:
  1. Knowledge must be produced in line with decision needs.
  2. Knowledge must be the result of a synthesis.
  3. Digestible (even interactive) formats must be used to disseminate knowledge.
  4. Knowledge must be disseminated in open access.
  5. Knowledge must be disseminated during a window of opportunity.
  6. Knowledge brokering requires building the right policy networks.
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