An operation on 'the neglected heart of science policy': reconciling supply and demand for climate change adaptation research
Leith, P and Warman, R and Harwood, A and Bosomworth, K and Wallis, P, An operation on 'the neglected heart of science policy': reconciling supply and demand for climate change adaptation research, Environmental Science and Policy, 82 pp. 117-125. ISSN 1462-9011 (2018) [Refereed Article]
We report on an initiative that sought to negotiate the intersections of science, policy and practice through reconciling supply and demand (RSD) for research. We propose a synthesised framework that can be used to either inform or analyse the practice of RSD, then examine an Australia-wide program that was designed to link research with strategic regional planning for climate change adaptation in natural resource management. Cross-scale lessons from this endeavour at national (program), and regional (project) scales suggest that framing RSD in opposition to linear or deficit approaches that hinge on delivery of scientific information presents an incomplete view. RSD engages with pre-existing institutionalised practices and understandings and in doing so changes both the supply (research) and demand (policy/practice) side. In the case examined here, scientific information products were initially prioritised by funders over processes for collective knowledge generation. However a widely acknowledged need for capacity building and co-creation ultimately informed project activities. We argue that in taking RSD seriously, programs and projects will often need to actively shift their focus from the delivery of information products towards prioritising less visible processes and outcomes. Combined process- and outcome-orientation, in turn, must pay attention to expert legitimization, and how knowledge can have a bearing on (and potentially change) established institutions and practices of decision-making.