First ever ‘COST Actions and Policy Impact’ Workshop


10 highly successful COST Actions shared their experiences on creating impact by promoting science informed policy advice

On 17 November 2020, the workshop on ‘COST Actions and Policy Impact’ took place. (Former) Chairs, Vice-Chairs and participants of 10 highly successful COST Actions participated in this online workshop to present their Action and the way in which they achieved policy impact. During the discussion rounds participants had the opportunity to share experiences on the process of achieving policy impact and working together with policy stakeholders.

policy impact

Above: A screenshot of the event 

In a time when we observe an increasingly important role for science informed policy advice, the organization of this type of workshop proved highly relevant.

In order to encourage focused discussions, participants were asked to structure their contributions around a set of questions concerning, for example, the key success factors to achieve policy impact; when and how to approach policy stakeholders; and the challenges encountered and lessons learnt.

“Being present where it counts”, indicating the importance of chosing your platform and audience carefully (ENRESSH)

“Keep seeking to make impact until the Action is complete” (SACURIMA)

“Project was initiated with a workshop identifying the problem and attracting key persons that have footing in both research and policy” (ASF-STOP)

“Create a first wave of interest” (inDust)

In addition to providing a platform to COST Actions for exchanging good practices on effective ways in which policy impact can be achieved, this event will form the basis for a concise and practical policy brief, which will list good practices, lessons learnt and advice and recommendations on creating policy impact of the 10 COST Actions present at the event. As such, key messages will be passed on to other Actions and may offer a source of inspiration for potential new activities in their networks.

With a view to achieving effective policy impact of an Action, some of the key points highlighted during the workshop include the need for a strong interest and commitment throughout the Action; the importance to start engaging with policy makers at an early stage and to recognise macro- and micro-level policy impact; the advice to recruit COST Action participants with policy skills was seen as crucial; the importance of agreeing on a common language to effectively communicate ‘messy’ scientific results; and the need to formulate clear, concise and specific messages to policy makers.

COST Actions invited to the workshop: