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The Secret of Scholars Who Impact Policy

February 01, 2016 |


“Why does some research lead to changes in public policy, while other studies of equal quality do not?

That crucial question—how science impacts policy—is the focus of a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The paper suggests the most effective way environmental scholars can boost their policy influence—from protecting wildlife to curbing pollution—is to consult widely with stakeholders during the research process.

Outreach trumps findings

Surprisingly, the study finds that stakeholder engagement is a better predictor of future policy impacts than perceived scientific credibility.

The study is the first quantitative analysis of how environmental knowledge impacts the attitudes and decisions of conservation policymakers. Researchers from the University of Vermont, World Wildlife Fund and Natural Capital Project analyzed 15 policy decisions worldwide, with outcomes ranging from new coastal preservation laws to improved species protections…”

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Explore further: Environmental issues examined through cohesive efforts

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