Should universities shift from evidence producers to co-producers?
03 Jun

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Whitehall road sign in London

This webinar will launch a new discussion document from the Agile Initiative exploring the relationships between environmental research, its use in policy, and the related trends for research to be impact focussed and co-produced with decision makers. The document poses a set of provocation and discussion questions for researchers, funders, policy makers and practitioners, about the role of environmental research in policy and the use of co-production within it.

Speakers: Mattia Troiano, Nick Sidwell, Joseph Boyle, Professor Alis Oancea, Dr Justyna Bandola-Gill and Peter Barbrook-Johnson

Register to hear how environmental research is being used, the impact agenda, and the emergence of co-production as a ‘must have’ for researchers. There will be opportunity for discussion in the Q&A.

A link to the discussion document will go live on the day of the event.

While there is a common perception of a gap between research and policy, efforts to bridge it often fall short of integrating knowledge effectively with environmental action. Common fixes, like improving dissemination and scientific literacy within government, overlook the politics and complexities of knowledge production and usage.  The discussion document underscores universities’ pivotal role in the science-policy ecosystem, particularly given their role in knowledge brokerage practices and the influence of ‘impact’ as a governance tool. Participatory approaches, such as co-production, offer promise for closing the ‘usability gap’ of research by facilitating collaborative generation of actionable knowledge. Co-production features high user participation, contributing to higher-quality research, fostering trust, and giving voice to knowledge users and interested parties. Understood and deployed in various ways, co-production also faces challenges such as the high potential costs or replication of wider knowledge production risks. A reflective approach to co-production, considering positionality and recognising political influences, can mitigate these risks and optimise its benefits. We highlight the potential of co-production in environmental research and policy and offer recommendations for its effective implementation.

This discussion document is aimed at a range of environmental researchers, practitioners, and funders; from experienced impact and co-production experts, through to sceptical natural and physical scientists! We hope the document, and this webinar, will contribute to a deeper discussion about the role of environmental research in policy and the use of co-production, helping us understand the variety of approaches and moving us past shallow use of these ideas.

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