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Headlines Published on 5 February 2013

Title Bridging the knowledge gap between research and policy

Knowledge is power only if you know how to use it, which is why the KNOSSOS project is building a bridge between available scientific evidence and policy-making in the environment field. By making pertinent research and information easily available to those at decision and policy-making levels, KNOSSOS is facilitating more effective environmental policies through increased access to knowledge.

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The KNOwledge from Science to SOcietieS (KNOSSOS) project – launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) – is based on an online platform. Its aim is to facilitate access to information for policy-makers and provide a tool for improved exchange and uptake of EU research results related to the environment.

Run in partnership with the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), and the Globe EU and Globe Europe networks of parliamentarians, KNOSSOS echoes the European Commission's position on the future of science in Europe, and the EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik's own assertion that "bridging the gap between science and policy is not a technical issue. It is a political, economic, social and cultural issue."

KNOSSOS project manager Thierry Lucas says: "We need greater communication between researchers and policy-makers. Enhancing the communication channels between the two is this project’s starting point.

"By taking stock of environmental research, the KNOSSOS team is able to produce policy briefs and, combined with policy dialogues, we can take steps towards bridging the gap between science and policy," Mr Lucas adds. To date, KNOSSOS has produced several series of policy briefs on water scarcity, the green economy, and climate change adaptation. A briefing series on fisheries will be completed soon.

To connect the two sides, the project team has organised events in European and national parliaments through collaborative workshops that open policy dialogues, and bring researchers and policy-makers together for discussion.

Raising public awareness

As well as making a connection between researchers and parliamentarians, the project is also raising public awareness about emerging environmental issues through a team of environmental science ambassadors.

The dissemination of research findings has spread beyond Europe’s borders through a number of ‘knowledge fairs’ held as side events during international conferences.

In early 2012, the project seized the momentum around water issues to present its water scarcity policy brief to participants attending the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille. In the lead-up to the UN conference on sustainable development – ‘Rio+20’ – a series of events in Europe and Rio de Janiero tackled the question ‘How can research best inform the transition to a green economy?’ with key messages available for the three main days of negotiations.

As well as constantly adding research findings to the KNOSSOS web platform, guaranteeing fast and easy access to relevant information, European environmental science and research and the exchange of information between science and policy will be promoted on the renowned Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) – the world's largest collection of environmental scientific research.

The project’s goal is to make European environmental science not only understandable, but also actionable and a preferred reference for all who seek information on the current, pressing ecological questions facing humanity.

Project details

  • Project acronym: KNOSSOS
  • Participants: Kenya (Coordinator), Belgium, United Kingdom
  • Project FP7 226567
  • Total costs: €987 392
  • EU contribution: €868 478
  • Duration: April 2010 - April 2014

More information:

  • Project web site