Exploring research and policymaker interactions

A challenge in transitions is how to efficiently link research with policymakers' current issues, problems, and questions. With that in mind, INTRANSIT, the Norwegian Research Council, and the Ministry of Education and Research hosted a seminar for informal discussions between researchers and bureaucrats from different ministries.

Two crucial aspects of the green and smart transitions we study at INTRANSIT are the need for speed and the need for coordination and collaboration across and between systems, industries, researchers, and policymakers. Net-zero, for instance, requires both tackling a lot of challenges quickly and across different sectors.

For us social scientists, this raises questions of how to ensure our research is both relevant to policymakers and that our findings reach them in a clear and timely fashion. We do not want our research to (only) lead to hefty reports and papers that primarily respond to issues policymakers faced three years ago.

With that in mind, the INTRANSIT centre, the Norwegian Research Council, and the Ministry of Education and Research are looking for new ways to connect researchers and policymakers – to ensure that some of our research deals directly with relevant issues policymakers are facing. 

Informal seminar

As a kick-off to these seminars, several researchers from INTRANSIT joined the research council and bureaucrats from several ministries, for an informal discussion about the work we do, the challenges they are currently facing, and how our research can be employed to find solutions to those challenges. We discussed questions like:

  • What questions and challenges related to green and smart transitions require more knowledge development in the short and long term?
  • Are there any ongoing policy processes where transition research is particularly pertinent?
  • How can we accommodate transition research benefitting policymakers working on transition and research and innovation policies?

Some potential ways forward were identified, including research on how to coordinate across sectors and ministries, and research on the social consequences of the green transition. The need for better and clearer communication between researchers and policymakers was a recurring theme, with requests for more seminars like this one – where researchers and policymakers can sit down and discuss in an informal setting.

As a next step, INTRANSIT is planning a workshop for policymakers and researchers to discuss new perspectives on transformative and mission-oriented research in Utrecht in October.

Published June 27, 2022 4:00 PM - Last modified June 27, 2022 4:00 PM