SKEP Call 2 - Science to Policy Process

Funded by: The Environment Agency/The SKEP-ERA Network


October 2007 to September 2008

PSI researchers:

Ben Shaw

Robin Vanner

Background, summary and aims

Background, Scope and Aims

This research aimed to address the growing interest, both nationally and internationally, in the evaluation of impact of research on policy - a field which has been experiencing rapid development with recent innovative practice.

The Headline Objective of the research was to develop and propose guidelines for the evaluation of the implementation and uptake of environmental research, which were then trialled and embedded into the management practices of SKEP network members.

The project was conducted by a consortium led by Policy Studies Institute, with partners the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Technologie voor Ecologie en Economie (VITO) and independent advisors, Dr John Holmes, Louise Shaxson and Dr Annette Boaz.

The project was commissioned by SKEP ERA-NET (see website) - a partnership of 17 government ministries and agencies, from 13 European countries, responsible for funding environmental research. The project aims to improve the co-ordination of environmental research in Europe.

Project Design

This project objective was delivered in two stages. The first stage reviewed and synthesised existing knowledge and experience of the evaluation of the implementation and uptake of environmental research into a draft applied model for research evaluation. This involved conducting a literature review, a series of case studies and a survey of the evaluation needs and experience of the SKEP Network members. The second stage consulted on the draft applied model of research evaluation and guidelines for its use and developed a final version of these for use by the SKEP Network.

Importance of Research

Research and evidence has a central role to play in the development of environmental policy and a substantial investment is made each year in science to support environmental protection policies. Understanding the impact of this research through evaluation is therefore important. Research impact evaluation can highlight the value of research to users, and society more broadly, but can also enhance the impacts of existing and future research by revealing insights into the processes by which impacts occur. These insights can be used to inform the commissioning and management of new research so that it is more likely to result in research of both high quality and high impact. Viewed in this manner allocating increased resources to impact evaluation can be a cost-effective use of resources.