The Challenges and Opportunities for Higher Education Institutions at the Science–Policy Interface
As one of the major ‘producers’ of climate change research, higher education institutions have had a key role to play in getting the climate change on the policy agenda. As the call for action on climate change intensifies, researchers within institutions will face new demands, with new challenges and opportunities, to inform policy to support both mitigation and adaptation. However, the uncertain, complex and interdisciplinary nature of climate change as an issue, combined with the inevitably highly politicised context of climate change action, means that involvement with policy will have a number of potential pitfalls. This paper draws lessons from recent research into the role of science within water resource management, to consider the challenges and opportunities higher institutions might face at the science–policy interface for climate change research. It notes that simply providing knowledge might be limited by uncertainty and politicisation, and suggests that collaborative, co-learning approaches might be more useful. Such approaches will require resource intensive interactions between scientists and stakeholders, as well as suitable governance arrangements. However, the paper argues that this focus on collaboration provides opportunities and could have multiple benefits.
Climate Change Research at Universities
Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology