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Building university-based boundary organisations that facilitate impacts on environmental policy and practice

Cvitanovic, C ORCID: 0000-0002-2565-3396, Lof, MF, Norstrom, AV and Reed, MS 2018 , 'Building university-based boundary organisations that facilitate impacts on environmental policy and practice' , PloS ONE, vol. 13, no. 9 , pp. 1-19 , doi:

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Responding to modern day environmental challenges for societal well-being and prosperitynecessitates the integration of science into policy and practice. This has spurred the developmentof novel institutional structures among research organisations aimed at enhancingthe impact of environmental science on policy and practice. However, such initiatives areseldom evaluated and even in cases where evaluations are undertaken, the results arerarely made publicly available. As such there is very little empirically grounded guidanceavailable to inform other organisations in this regard. To help address this, the aim of thisstudy is to evaluate the Baltic Eye Project at Stockholm University - a unique team consistingof researchers from different fields, science communicators, journalists and policy analysts-working collectively to support evidence-informed decision-making relating to the sustainablemanagement of the Baltic Sea environment. Specifically, through qualitative interviews,we (1) identify the impacts achieved by the Baltic Eye Project; (2) understand the challengesand barriers experienced throughout the Baltic Eye Project; and (3) highlight the key featuresthat are needed within research organisations to enhance the impact of science on policyand practice. Results show that despite only operating for three years, the Baltic EyeProject has achieved demonstrable impacts on a range of levels: impacts on policy andpractice, impacts to individuals working within the organisation and impacts to the broaderUniversity. We also identify a range of barriers that have limited impacts to date, such as alack of clear goals at the establishment of the Baltic Eye Project and existing metrics of academicimpact (e.g. number of publications). Finally, based on the experiences of employeesat the Baltic Eye Project, we identify the key organisational, individual, financial, material,practical, political, and social features of university-based boundary organisations that haveimpact on policy and practice. In doing so this paper provides empirically-derived guidanceto help other research organisations increase their capacity to achieve tangible impacts onenvironmental policy and practice.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cvitanovic, C and Lof, MF and Norstrom, AV and Reed, MS
Keywords: conservation science, ecology and environmental sciences, Baltic Sea, social policy
Journal or Publication Title: PloS ONE
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Cvitanovic et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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