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Research and innovation

How to foster the uptake of research results and data in policymaking? Examples from the EU repository of best practices on knowledge valorisation

Research results and data are cornerstones of better regulation. They can help policymakers understand a problem and its context, can recommend action and evaluate the impact of policies. The importance of research for policymaking has been particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, high quality research cannot be done overnight, so ensuring pertinent evidence is available when needed requires for the research community to better anticipate the needs of policymakers and vice-versa. It also means better mobilising and engaging the research community in the regulatory process. 68% of European citizens say that scientists should intervene in political debate to ensure that decisions take into account scientific evidence according to a Eurobarometer survey on ‘European citizens' knowledge and attitudes towards science and technology' released in 2021.

Taking up research results and data in policymaking is identified by the EU’s Valorisation policy as one of the six channels through which knowledge generates societal impact. The Commission has also undertake a number of initiatives connected to this channel. Knowledge4policy, for example, is a platform where one can find up-to-date scientific knowledge developed and curated by Commission Knowledge Services to inform key EU policies. More recently, the Commission Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation articulated the aim to strengthen the capacity of R&I systems to support evidence-informed policymaking, public administrations and better regulation.

The EU repository of best practices on knowledge valorisation features some novel approaches which are used by European stakeholders to support effective uptake of research results for policy making. Have a look at some of them below:

The Policy Accelerator Hub brings researchers and students closer to policy-making

The Policy Accelerator Hub in Romania encourages talent from the university environment to actively participate in solving societal challenges by developing effective public policies. Based on the model of business accelerators, the hub creates a space for collaboration in which, during an eight-month process, researchers and students learn to develop their ideas into policies and present them to decision makers. The Policy Accelerator Hub strengthens the links between policymakers and researchers and students. Policymakers can learn about the latest research and ideas, while university participants can familiarize themselves with the notion of public policy, the regulatory process, and the format of policy briefs and white papers. Also of note is the inclusion of not only doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, but also master’s students, which makes the process more inclusive.

Making evidence more accessible and attractive for policymakers and the public – the Rural-Urban Learning Hub & DaNa 4.0

The Rural-Urban Learning Hub is online platform that collects and curates the latest European research on rural-urban synergies. The platform offers a wide range of innovative research results and case studies presented in a concise and easy-to-understand format – the Learning Guides – designed to be read in 15-20 minutes. Learning Guides are a searchable collection of concise, user-friendly materials targeted principally to European local and regional practitioners and policymakers. They aim to inspire and inform, providing a basic understanding of the topic and the key considerations for implementation.

DaNa 4.0 is a German digital platform that aims to provide impartial information on innovative materials in support of sustainable economic growth by highlighting existing challenges while minimizing unjustified concerns. The various online articles come in different levels of detail, based on the user’s need. Finally, it offers the public, including journalists and policymakers, the opportunity to communicate directly, via phone or email with the project coordinator for clarification or more detailed information.

Both best practices have succeeded in translating research in specialised fields in a format that is more readily accessible by policymakers and the wider public.

The ETA programme and the role of research from the social sciences and humanities (SSH)

There is a persistent societal tendency to perceive research in the social sciences and the humanities as a matter of basic research, with a smaller potential for wider societal applications than in the case of STEM research. The ETA programme in Czechia defies this perception by supporting a culture of valorisation for the academic staff and other professionals from the social sciences, humanities and the arts. The key feature of the programme is to support research outputs with high potential for practical application in areas related to quality of life, the environment, and efforts to increase the efficiency and quality of public bodies. The outcome of the programme should include new or improved products, procedures, processes or services that are better tailored for their uptake into policy.