University of Oulu

Simo Sarkki, Estelle Balian, Ulrich Heink, Hans Keune, Carsten Nesshöver, Jari Niemelä, Rob Tinch, Sybille Van Den Hove, Allan Watt, Kerry A. Waylen, Juliette C. Young, Managing science-policy interfaces for impact: Interactions within the environmental governance meshwork, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 113, 2020, Pages 21-30, ISSN 1462-9011,

Managing science-policy interfaces for impact : interactions within the environmental governance meshwork

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Author: Sarkki, Simo1; Balian, Estelle2; Heink, Ulrich3;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Humanities, PO Box 1000, Fi-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2Median, Carrer Vista Alegre 20, Sant Cugat del Valles 08197, Spain
3Department of Conservation Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
4Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium
5University of Helsinki, Department of Environmental Sciences, P.O. Box 65, Viikinkaari 1, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
6NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH26 0QB, UK
7James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2019-12-12


Science-policy interface organizations and initiatives (SPIORG) are a key component of environmental governance designed to make links between science and society. However, the science­policy interface literature lacks a structured approach to explaining the impacts of context on and by these initiatives. To better understand these impacts on and interactions with governance, this paper uses the concept of the governance ‘meshwork’ to explore how dynamic processes — encompassing prior, current and anticipated interactions — co­produce knowledge and impact via processes, negotiation and networking activities at multiple governance levels. To illustrate the interactions between SPIORGs and governance meshwork we use five cases representing archetypal SPIORGs. These cases demonstrate how all initiatives and organizations link to their contexts in complex and unique ways, yet also identifies ten important aspects that connect the governance meshwork to SPIORGs. These aspects of the meshwork, together with the typology of organizations, provide a comprehensive framework that can help make sense how the SPIORGs are embedded in the surrounding governance contexts. We highlight that SPIORGs must purposively consider and engage with their contexts to increase their potential impact on knowledge co-­production and policy making.

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Series: Environmental science & policy
ISSN: 1462-9011
ISSN-E: 1873-6416
ISSN-L: 1462-9011
Volume: 113
Pages: 21 - 30
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2019.05.011
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 616 Other humanities
Funding: This work was funded by EU’s Framework Programme 7, project SPIRAL: Science–Policy Interfaces for Biodiversity: Research, Action and Learning, contract number 244035.
Copyright information: © 2019 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (