Scientists are from Mars, policymakers are from Venus…and other policy briefs

Photo by Dave Mathis
Photo by Dave Mathis

Scientists receive different training and often have different objectives than policymakers do. Both scientists and policymakers operate under different constraints and concerns. While the many producers of  knowledge within the public service and universities feed knowledge into policy development and regulatory decision making process, collaboration and understanding between the two remains, at times, elusive.

Research findings may be able to inform policy, but the information may not always be successfully used (as intended by scientists) as a basis for policy development. Conversely, scientists do not always appreciate the additional factors being weighed by policymakers.

In fact, there may be significant gaps between scientists and policymakers which affect their ability to collaborate and interact with each other.

We are dealing with a complex management problem for which there is no simple answer. Through a series of briefs on the science/policy interface, the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy aims to mobilize academic research beyond the walls of universities. 

Titles include:

  1. Researchers are from Mars; Policymakers are from Venus: Collaboration across the System. By Matthew Gaudreau and Marc Saner
  2. From Many to One: Integration of Knowledge and Values in Decision-making. By Matthew Gaudreau and Marc Saner
  3. Dealing with Not Knowing: Evaluating and Communicating Uncertainty at the Science/Policy Interface. By Matthew Gaudreau, Michael Bordt and Marc Saner
  4. (Workshop Backgrounder) Making it Work: Incentives to Improve the Science/Policy Interface. By Sasha Kebo and Marc Saner  
  5. (Workshop Report) Top Five Management Incentives to Improve the Science/Policy Interface. By Michael Bordt and Marc Saner
  6. A Map of the Interface between Science & Policy. By Marc Saner
  7. The Role and Responsibilities of the Scientist in Public Policy: A Discussion Paper on Science and Government. By Bill Jarvis
  8. A Question of Balance: New Approaches for Science Based Regulations. By Bill Jarvis