Shared Research Agenda
Research on Impact Assessment (IA) tools proves to be fragmented – despite the fact that the number of projects that designed tools for IA increased during the last five years. These tools focused mainly on agricultural, environmental and transportation policies. With regard to other policies, but also with regard to the full spectrum of environmental, social and economic impacts to be considered in an assessment, as well as different jurisdictional levels on which they could unfold, considerable gaps in the provision of science-based tools seem to exist.
Shared Research Agenda
LIAISE stimulates excellent research on all aspects of scientific research to support IA. It is a central product of LIAISE to develop, together with IA practitioners, a rolling research agenda on strategic IA tools and processes. IA on policy making requires interdisciplinary approaches that are problem and user oriented. This requires different evaluation criteria compared to disciplinary and science oriented research. The Shared Research Agenda will provide cutting edge research questions to attract both researchers and funding agencies. The agenda will be fed from scientists of different disciplines and practitioners.
The LIAISE Network of Excellence – and in particular the Shared Toolbox and the Research Agenda – will be inclusive and attractive for researchers beyond the network while assuring high quality of the scientific support for IA. Research communities outside the LIAISE Network are actively invited to contribute to the development of a shared research agenda.
The Shared Research Agenda provides opportunities for additional research complementing the LIAISE Network activities within research groups composed of the different partners. The Research Agenda will attract researchers beyond the LIAISE Network to affiliate and to contribute. Further, policy makers will be invited to contribute and to comment on the Shared Research Agenda.
The Shared Research Agenda will consist of three main topics:
- Topics (policies and processes)
- Tools (tools and data)
- Transfer (science policy interface)
The Shared Research Agenda will be constantly fed by LIAISE research activities and the practical requirements that arise in application and testing of our results.
A continuous dialogue will be sought with scientists not involved in LIAISE as well as potential funders, agencies and relevant networks to develop and disseminate the research agenda. Funding agencies will be approached to consider elements from the shared research agenda for funding of cutting edge (interdisciplinary) research in the field of IA and sustainable development.
The agenda mainly build upon the following three activities:
1) Mapping of projects funded in European Framework Programmes 6 and 7
In the past months, we analysed the projects funded in FP6 and FP7 and selected those that developed or worked with tools specifically related to the assessment of policies. We categorized the tools based on the information provided on the CORDIS server and project homepages as well as verification through the project coordinators according to the following aspects:
- For which specific policy area of the European Union did the projects design tools for?
- For which impact area(s) did the projects design tools for? (35 impact areas of the EC Impact Assessment Guidelines)
- How could the tool designed for be categorized?
(Reference: Podhora et. al. (in preparation): The policy-relevancy of impact assessment tools: evaluating nine years of European research funding)
2) Series of expert workshop
The mapping of FP6 and 7 projects identified a clear focus on agriculture, environment and transport as the main policy areas for IA tools. Thus we will conduct a workshop series to support the development of the shared research agenda by example of topics that are closely related to these three policy areas. Here, we either focus on impact areas or on their interaction with other policy areas.
- April 2012: The impact area soil is closely related to agricultural but also other policies. The workshop discussed the need and options for a comprehensive inclusion of soil in IA (summary of the workshop forthcoming).
- October 2012: The comprehensive concept of ecosystem services is chosen as example to discuss environmental needs in IA.
- Early 2013: The interaction of transport and innovation policies plays a relevant role in future development of both sectors.
- Early 2013: Land use and health is another example that is closely related to agriculture. The workshop will highlight the interlinkages with health as a social impact area.
3) Discussion workshops at LIAISE Annual Meetings
During the Annual Meetings, LIAISE researchers and invited external IA scientists and policy makers will prepare and discuss the workshops and their results with leading IA researchers and IA policy makers.
The Shared Research Agenda is an outcome of LIAISE Work Package 2 “Science for impact assessment tools and procedures” led by Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). For further information, please contact Katharina Helming (Helming@zalf.de) or Aranka Podhora (Aranka.Podhora@zalf.de).