How can researchers maximise impact by engaging with policy makers?


Numerous COST Actions find themselves wondering where to start when it comes to engaging with policy makers, sharing their results, and creating policy impact.

On Thursday 16 June 2022, the COST Association organised for the first time a ‘Science for Policy’ (S4P) workshop for COST Actions in its premises in Brussels, highlighting ways in which researchers could better achieve policy impact.

Judith Litjens, COST Policy Officer, introduced the workshop by presenting the ‘Actions to Actions’ policy brief, a practical guide by and for COST Actions on how to achieve policy impact. Published in 2021, ‘Actions to Actions’ was the first ever COST policy brief based on the information, recommendation, tips and good practices that were shared by former Chairs and Vice Chairs of successful COST’s Actions during the ‘COST Action and Policy Impact’ workshop held in November 2020.

The S4P workshop is the logical follow-up of previous initiatives and focuses on COST Actions willing to share their research results in order to have greater policy impact and improve their skills on how to communicate effectively with policymakers.

Cover of the publication Actions to Actions Policy Brief'

Policy Analysts Lene Topp and Lorenzo Melchor from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) provided two highly interactive S4P training sessions, highlighting tips and recommendations on how to  effectively engage with policy makers.

Lene Topp and Lorenzo Melchor also presented the ‘Researchers’ competence framework for science for policy’, outlining a wide array of science for policy skills through collective competences researchers could use to assess their approach.

Photo of a women presenting infront of a group of 40 people in a meeting room

The training sessions were followed by a presentation on the upcoming ‘Science for policy’ Staff Working Document (SWD). This initiative is a joint effort between DG Research and Innovation and the Joint Research Centre, and includes a comprehensive overview of existing Science For Policy (S4P) mechanisms across the EU, a shared EC vision on S4P and an explanation of how S4P fits in the new European Research Area

Policy Officer Alessandro Allegra from the DG Research and Innovation and Policy Analyst Kristian Krieger from the JRC presented the SWD key objectives and explained how COST Action participants can engage with and benefit from existing S4P initiatives outlined in the SWD.

Elwin Reimink, COST Data and Impact Analysis Officer from the COST Association gave advice on how to set up a stakeholder engagement strategy for COST Actions.

Dr Sara Basart, Chair of COST Action ‘International Network to Encourage the Use of Monitoring and Forecasting Dust Products’ (InDust) was also invited to share her experience, hints and tips on ways in which the InDust COST Action has achieved extensive policy impact.

To support Actions in enhancing their understanding in interaction between policymakers and politicians, the workshop highlighted the importance to engage with policy makers at early stage and tailor the key messages.

By assessing science, understanding policy making processes, and gaining insight into the interaction between scientists and policymakers, COST Actions are better equipped to develop their approach to maximize impact.

The workshop has attracted 31 COST Action Chairs, Vice-Chairs, Science Communication Coordinators, and other Action participants with a key interest in science for policy.

Additional information