Survey results: How do European Young Academies reach out to decision-makers?

As part of the “Young Researchers as Knowledge Brokers” -project, Young Academy Finland executed a survey among its European peers about the activities on the national and European science-policy interfaces. From at the time (summer 2019) of totally 18 established European academies 16 responded to the survey. 

The survey was short, and it included 6 questions in total. The aim of the survey was to gather a baseline picture on those methods that Young Academies use as well as on those stakeholder groups they might have most relevant for them. The first question of the survey asked respondents to choose from the multiple choices those means that their young Academy uses/has used/plans to use while trying to connect young researchers to decision-makers. The answers to this question are summarized below in the table. 

According to the 16 answers received, traditional, so called linear means of informing or disseminating content – through websites, reports, policy briefs, factsheets – is the most popular method for reaching out to decision-makers among the European Young Academies. Hand-picked linking of best advisors/experts to the particular needs of decision-makers is a popular method, too. 

Relatively many of the European Young Academies use, however, also more collaborational ways of interaction. For example focused collaboration that can happen e.g. through common working groups, helps with aligning researchers and decision makers in a more collaborative way. Using bigger groups rather than certain individuals/experts also diversifies the knowledge base that gets represented as the “voice of scientific knowledge”, shifting the focus from individuals to the actual content. Very few of European Young Academies had any activities on the European level or towards European Union bodies but the main activities concerned national science-policy interfaces. 

The most interesting answers on collaborative approaches were described as a response to our open-ended question where we asked to list any activities that the Young Academy sees relevant to mention. We wanted to get more information on these most collaborational approaches used in European Young Academies, and interviewed more closely 5 individuals from totally 4 academies on their activities. A short summary of these activities or practices that support reciprocal action are gathered in the table below and also in the published Policy Brief 1/2020. You can also read more about the collaborational practices from the notes written on our workshops about innovative practices and Finnish gaps.