Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Mexico
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Turkey
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


   Headlines

Last Update: 26-07-2013  
Related category(ies):
Success stories  |  Environment

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Finland  |  France  |  Germany  |  Hungary  |  Ireland  |  Netherlands  |  Norway  |  Portugal  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

Bridging European biodiversity research with policy

Biodiversity is the abundance and variety of species, genes and ecosystems. Our food, drinking water and the air we breathe all depend on this biodiversity. Yet humans are also one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Over seven billion people live on our planet today and by 2050 that figure is predicted to reach nine billion. Biodiversity research is very complex, and the exchange of knowledge and requirements between policymakers and scientists is not always simple.

©  claffra - Fotolia.com

"Biodiversity research is not only about conservation, but much more about the sustainable use of ecosystems and the relation between humans and nature. Integrating all this knowledge and fast-tracking it to decision makers is a challenging task," says Dr. Carsten Neßhöver who currently faces precisely this challenge in his role as coordinator of the 18-partner, EU-funded project BiodiversityKnowledge or KNEU.

The KNEU project team mapped Europe's main biodiversity research institutions and the needs of decisions makers, and assembled them into a prototype network concept. This was tested in three separate areas of biodiversity knowledge.

"Knowledge about biodiversity is actually very scattered among different institutions and even across sectors in Europe," explains Neßhöver, who works at the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany. "That made the first step of identifying and mapping key players very labour intensive," he adds.

Getting researchers interested in the network was the next challenge. "Ultimately scientists focus on increasing their knowledge and getting their institute noticed. They are not particularly aware of how their work can impact society," says Neßhöver. As a result, researchers have been communicating well with each other, but insufficiently with policymakers. "We have tried to raise scientists' awareness of the impact their work can have, offer regionally tailored incentives to get them involved, and emphasise that since the funding they receive is paid for by society, they should also return something back to society," he explains.

According to Neßhöver, the value of BiodiversityKnowledge became clear when the team conducted a series of interviews revealing just how little people understood the potential of research-policy dialogues. "At the moment few people really understand the flow of knowledge between scientific institutions, civil society institutions and government institutions. Everyone has a more or less faint idea of how this works, but no one has precise knowledge about it," says Neßhöver.

Neßhöver is convinced that improving connections between scientists across Europe could solve numerous policy problems. For instance, when Sweden was considering using contraceptives to control its rising wild boar populations, an unexpected discovery of an Italian study on contraceptives proved this was an ineffective method, and ultimately saved the Swedish government around €100 000.

The next step of the project is to discuss the outcomes of the prototype evaluation and consultation of the project white paper at the second conference in Berlin, September 24-26 2013. "Based on these discussions we will finalise our proposed prototype for the network, hopefully with a broad endorsement from the research community. The last phase will be a six-month promotion of the final product towards science and policy," concludes Neßhöver.

Project details

  • Project acronym: KNEU
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator), Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, UK
  • Project FP7 265299
  • Total costs: € 1 285 814
  • EU contribution: € 998 719
  • Duration: November 2010 to April 2014

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use the search box at the top of the page to the right of the menu and then select "Information Centre" in the "Filter by" menu on the results page.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Project web site
Project information on CORDIS





  Top   Research Information Center