Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PSI-CONNECT Report Summary

Project ID: 226915
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: Netherlands

Final Report Summary - PSI-CONNECT (Policy Science Interactions: connecting science and policy through innovative knowledge brokering)

Executive Summary:
The Water Framework Directive has transformed approaches to water management in Europe. It addresses the river basin scale, prompting new approaches that can deal with the water system as a whole. It also promotes the participation of a variety of stakeholders with different interests and types of knowledge. Information and knowledge from diverse sources are the basis for effective evidence based policy making. What information and knowledge is needed from different scientific disciplines to inform river basin management? How can we elicit knowledge from a variety of stakeholders and how can we share this knowledge for water policy and management?
The PSI-connect project addressed these questions by organizing and evaluating knowledge brokering activities within existing water policy and management processes on regional, national and EU-level.
Knowledge brokering processes are geared towards joint exploration of problems, sharing knowledge, and the design and monitoring of interventions intended to address problems.

From the evaluated case studies it becomes clear that making the connection between science and policy starts with building mutual trust and commitment, which is typically time consuming. Flexibility on the side of the researchers and facilitative leadership on the policy side are prerequisites for effective connection between the two. The facilitative leadership on the policy side is best performed by a person who has a good overview of the policy issues involved and has easy access to the decision makers in the organisation.
An established connection between science and policy can be lost when the focus or urgency of a policy issue changes, when organisational structures are shifting and when people move to new positions. Only the shifting of political priorities turned out to drive a real loss of connection.
A knowledge broker is a professional with good communication skills, a broad background, who can operate between knowledge domains, and knows the professional and disciplinary languages of those domains.
The knowledge brokering instruments applied during the PSI-Connect project generally performed well. The evaluation of the case studies shows that knowledge brokering instruments foster: the sharing of experiences and knowledge, the integration of different types of knowledge, and the generation of new views and knowledge. The knowledge brokering processes open a wider scope of problem perceptions and interests of different actors. The effective use of knowledge brokering instruments requires the services of a dedicated and independent facilitator with in-depth knowledge and experience of such tools.
The knowledge brokering processes that were tested during the PSI-connect project have been demonstrated to lead to changed insights and new ideas for organising knowledge. However, if these new insights are not firmly embedded in the organizational structure of participating institutions, they will not last. If we look at it from a change management perspective, we need to look for a “sponsor of change” at a high level in the organisation to ensure ongoing benefits.

Through the PSI-connect cases, workshops, the training events, and final conference a relevant audience of policy makers and scientists was reached that can sustain the impact of the project beyond its lifetime. Especially noteworthy here is the training of the International Sava River Basin Commission that will take up the knowledge brokering processes and instruments in their river basin planning. Furthermore, a good cooperation with UNESCO was established during the project. They will take up the results and will help disseminate the briefing products to relevant audiences that can benefit from a better science policy connection beyond the lifetime of the project.

Project Context and Objectives:
Although large quantities of high quality knowledge on the issue of the impact of climate change on water management have been generated through recent EC RTD Framework Programme projects, this understanding remains poorly exploited by policy makers and water managers. Exploitation should be improved, or as it was concluded in a publication in the journal Science: “Future international scientific climate change assessments should be faster, more integrated and more directly linked to policy questions” (Raes & Swart, 2007). It is clear that climate change will impact the management of our natural resources like surface water, sediment, soil and groundwater over the coming decades, and may strengthen unsustainable trends.
EU policies such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD, Directive 2000/60/EC), the Daughter Directive on Groundwater and the Habitat Directive, provided improvements in our ability to reverse unsustainable trends in natural resources management. In particular, the WFD has radically altered approaches towards management as it promotes the integrated management of water (and water related) resources based on the natural hydrological unit of the river basin rather than administrative boundaries.
Although climate change will continue to provide challenges to river-basin management there are no clear links in the WFD to this global pressure. In the recent Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC) the link to climate change has been explicitly made. Furthermore, it states that “There is a huge need to tap into the already available results of FP projects and other major initiatives. Based on available or readily derivable information, such as records and studies on long term developments, in particular impacts of climate change on the occurrence of floods, a preliminary flood risk assessment shall be undertaken to provide an assessment of potential risks”.
PSI-connect – through experimentation with and development of innovative knowledge brokering instruments – will improve the quality and value of interactions between the science base and river basin managers and policy makers in the field of impacts of climate change impacts on river systems (including surface water, sediment, soil and groundwater).

The central aim of the PSI-connect project is to promote a step change in the effectiveness of interactions between policy and science communities in the context of impacts of climate change on fresh water management.

The objectives derived from this central aim are:
To develop ’knowledge brokering instruments‘ specific for this purpose;
To evaluate the usefulness and effects of these instruments for science and policy making in relation to the typology and specific context of the management of the impacts of climate change on river ecosystem services;
To disseminate the project findings to the relevant policy and science communities through - amongst other instruments – creating ’knowledge brokering collectives‘, training events and a final conference.

In order to achieve these objectives the following actions have been undertaken:
Development of a conceptual framework about enhancing science policy connections in the context of water management and climate change.
Development of knowledge brokering instruments and processes, based on existing instruments such as simulation games, group model building, visioning workshops, and communities of practice;
The knowledge brokering instruments are then tested in ’real life policy situations‘ at three geospatial (governance) levels: EU, national and regional;
These ’real life policy situations‘ are evaluated and conclusions are drawn about the factors that influence the successful application of the knowledge brokering instruments.;
Lessons and experiences from the instrument testing regime are compared and contrasted to generate sector and European wide conclusions.

Project Results:
The theoretical framework
Knowledge brokering is in the PSI-connect project conceptualised as an entangled process of research and policy development and can be understood as an intermediary activity that takes place between the spheres of science and policy. Knowledge brokering is also understood as a social construction process in which production, sharing and use of knowledge is simultaneously taking place and can hardly be separated.
Knowledge brokering can directly challenge politics, culture or mental models. It can reveal new ways of thinking or can deliver information that change the way a problem is perceived, and in this way helps to reframe the policy problem. It can also facilitate the generation of (better) research questions and in this way supports to exploit the knowledge base in a better way.

In order to be successful Participatory Knowledge Brokering needs to be effective at the basic level of the group process. We assume here that an effective group process helps to transform (at least to some extent) diverse individual mental models into a shared mental model in the group (Buchel and Moss 2007).

The group process is especially important when individual mental models come from very different backgrounds as it is in case of scientists and policy makers. They are embedded in politics, culture and organisational contexts – both intra-organisational and inter-organisational. Shared mental models enable to achieve policy-related outcomes as well as influence the background in which individuals are embedded.

The developed framework in the project (D1.1) helps to identify important policy outcomes resulting from knowledge brokering processes such as better information feedback, improved policy development process, redefined and/or new policy problems and finally initiation of a new policy relevant research.

Knowledge brokering
Knowledge brokering is a participatory process in which scientists from different disciplines and backgrounds work together with policy makers from relevant sectors and domains to create knowledge and information for evidence based policy. Knowledge brokering processes are geared towards joint exploration of problems and research questions, sharing knowledge, and the design and monitoring of interventions intended to address problems. Knowledge brokering processes are typically organised in the very early phase of a policy making or policy implementation process. Knowledge brokering processes can form part of a participatory process but differ from the later as they are not aimed at joint ownership of measures, policies or decisions.

In order to be successful knowledge brokering has to go far beyond a simple transmission of knowledge from scientists to policy makers. The interaction between all involved scientists, policy makers, and stakeholders should be shaped as a learning process that allows to develop the understanding of the system and to fine tune the measures that should be undertaken. Monitoring of effects of these measures is needed to better understand the impacts of human interventions in the system. Such a learning process influences the policy process in many different stages. It is generally assumed that knowledge brokering contributes to improvement of policies by exploiting the body of scientific knowledge to distil aspects relevant for the analyzed problem. However the scope of knowledge brokering should also be expanded to problem framing: how are problems defined and whose problems are they? This may lead to reframing of these problems and to preventing exclusion of certain groups. Such a process may also discover new problems hidden previously. Knowledge brokering processes may discover gaps in information feedbacks that in turn drive what policy problems come to the political agenda. In this process there is space for development of a common language by different groups of stakeholders especially policy-makers and scientists. It may also lead to challenging stereotypes, understanding alternative perspectives, innovative ideas and commitment to change. Similarly as scientists need to engage in many stages of the policy process, policy-makers need to become involved in different stages of research – not only asking for specific knowledge but also helping to formulate research questions and critically evaluating research outcomes having in mind the need for application in the real world.
In order to achieve the potential outlined above knowledge brokering should be shaped as a group learning process. All stakeholders - actors that have an influence on the problem - should be selected to participate in this process. The presence of diverse individual mental models provides opportunity for many innovative solutions. The process has to be facilitated professionally such that it transforms individual mental models into shared mental model of the group thereby avoiding the danger of so called “groupthink”. To this end it is also very important to employ appropriate knowledge brokering instruments (KBIs). The developed conceptual framework is used for a better adjustment of particular KBIs to the case studies in the PSI-Connect project and delivers variables that are important for the evaluation of the case studies. It directs attention on particular stages of the process as well as associated barriers that should be broken down.
The dynamics of the policy process and its context make it difficult to achieve a connection between science and policy that creates an impact of science on the policy process. The social and political contexts are highly turbulent, driven by many hidden sources and agendas resulting often from multiple short-term pressures. To wait for the window of opportunity to open in such a context – the moment that politics, policy and science coincide – asks for much flexibility, patience and perseverance from these parties to connect. Timing of the process is in such a situation of deciding importance. If the knowledge brokering activity is organised at the same moment as the window of opportunity is open, the activity can be successful. This moment is however hard to control or to predict, and scientists and policy makers will have to deal with the capriciousness of the political and social contexts. Sometimes this leads to the situation that promising initiatives to connect science and policy are suddenly stalled or even abandoned for instance due to elections, bureaucratic discontinuities, or certain social events. Conditions for a successful knowledge brokering can be created, but the success is dependent on factors that cannot be controlled fully by the parties who organise the knowledge brokering process.

The case studies in ’real life policy situations‘
In the case studies PSI-connect worked closely with policy makers, scientists and stakeholders to identify and characterize the knowledge needs in the addressed policy area. Knowledge brokering instruments have been developed and pretested in the cases in an early stage. Those early applications helped to design sound knowledge brokering experiments. Based on these experiences, reports on preparation of knowledge brokering experiments on each policy level, including plans for implementing knowledge brokering instruments, have been produced. Each report became an evolving document as project partners were adapting to the needs of policy makers in the case studies. The prototypes of knowledge brokering instruments are documented in the report. The prototypes have been designed flexibly to be able to adapt to the changing situations in the case studies.
Six case studies have been performed: three on the regional level, two on the national level and one on the EU-level. At the regional level case studies were performed in Poland, in the Netherlands and in Germany. The initial cases in Germany and the Netherlands were abandoned during the course of the project and were replaced by two new case studies in the same countries. The abandoned case studies were evaluated and helped to understand the dynamics of knowledge brokering processes and contributed in this way to the objectives of PSI-connect). At the national level two case studies were performed: one in Germany and one in the Netherlands. The case study on the EU-level was with the CIS-SPI ad-hoc activity, that is dealing with the science policy interface with respect to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Each case study is presented hereafter.

PSI-connect regional case study: Upper Vistula, Poland

The activities related to flood protection are highly fragmented between different stakeholders (official organisations/bodies) that usually do not cooperate or do this only at the required minimum level. In the situation of conflict they usually stick to the safe (for the organisations themselves) solutions. Institutional factors – conflicting EU and Polish regulations – add to the difficulties faced by stakeholders. Often they are helpless framing their situation as totally dependent on higher (central) levels of authorities. One of the particular problems is, that although there is an ongoing strategic flood protection planning process, it is already known that there will be very limited funds available to implement the accepted plan.

The problem to be targeted
The key issue is the effective flood protection in the region (Podkarpackie and Swietokrzyskie provinces) and especially in the city of Sandomierz. More specifically the issue became a perceived conflict between the needs of the flood protection and requirements of environmental protection (Natura 2000). The conflict was about overgrown vegetation in the area between the dikes that is perceived as one of the reasons for dikes breaches.

The stakeholders involved
The stakeholders that were involved in this case study were: Mayor and local authorities of Sandomierz Town, Regional Board of Water Management, Regional Board of Drainage and Water Appliances (Podkarpackie and Swietokrzyskie provinces), Regional Authorities for Environmental Protection (Podkarpackie and Swietokrzyskie provinces), Ecological NGOs, Local Business, and Local NGOs.

Main goal: How to combine people‘s safety (flood protection) with environmental protection (vegetation between dikes)?
Additional goals: Increase understanding of multiple reasons of flooding in the area.
Initiate and support collaborative activities between stakeholders.

Choosing and tailoring the KBI
Group Model Building has been selected as a KBI for this case study. It was a natural candidate taking into account the need to understand cause and effect relationships in a complex system. The particular method selected was the ’Concept Maps‘ that was further adapted to the needs of the target group and the problem. The adapted version allowed participants not only to articulate causes of the perceived problems and propositions of its solutions but also to express their opinions ’for‘ and ’against‘ proposed solutions. With our knowledge about group polarization that we acquired before the meeting, this ’argumentation capacity‘, that we built into the method, was the part of our plan to execute a constructive meeting.

Were the objectives achieved?
There was a significant knowledge sharing between participants.
Participants expanded their understanding of the problem and its causes.
Participants expanded their understanding of other actors‘ actions and motivations.
Unfortunately, the process was not continued.

Main key messages from the case study - lessons learnt
Windows of opportunity are extremely important.
Group Model Building works well to widen the problem understanding by stakeholders.
High pressure situations require simple KBIs. The method used for group model building has to fit to the particular situation.

PSI-connect regional case study: Water Board Rivierenland, the Netherlands

The ambition is to improve the knowledge infrastructure as well as the cooperation between technical divisions and policy divisions within Water Board Rivierenland for the next round of the WFD and the 2nd RBMP.

The problem to be targeted
The Water Board wants to improve the process of connecting science and other types of knowledge to the river basin management planning. From this aim two objectives were central in this case:
• to learn from the process of the 1st RBMP ’Rhine-West‘
• to organise a better, knowledge based coordination between the different divisions within the water board, which will be involved in preparing and writing the 2nd RBMP.

The stakeholders involved
Our main case study partners are policy representatives and technical experts from Water Board Rivierenland. During the scenario workshop other stakeholder have been involved: representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, representatives from the province of Zuid-Holland, representatives from other water authorities of the water district Rhine-West, representatives from the Dutch Association of Regional Water Authorities.

Choosing and tailoring the KBI
The KBI that was chosen in this case study was scenario planning, as the case was directed towards future situations. The main questions to be answered through the development of scenarios are:
• Which knowledge is needed for the preparation of the second RBMP and who could deliver this knowledge?
• How should this knowledge be organised?
The following outcomes from the scenarios exercise were expected:
• Gaining insight in: what do they need to know and who will deliver this knowledge?
• Better cooperation among colleagues and with external partners and regional stakeholders.
• action plan on how to organise the needed knowledge.

Were the objectives achieved?
From the developed scenarios our case study partners know how to organise the internal process for the 2nd RBMP and what knowledge they need to develop.
An action plan to implement the results of the case study process has been prepared.

Main key messages from the case study - lessons learnt
The scenario exercise was felt as complicated and quite intensive. Case study partners needed assistance to translate the outcomes of the scenario exercise into concrete actions. They had difficulties to do this on their own.
Case study partners were happy with the results as it delivered ideas for a more targeted and area specific approach and showed the importance of stakeholder involvement.
It appeared to be difficult to get connection to the management and political level, which hampered the implementation of the developed action plan.

PSI-connect regional case study: Buxtehude, Germany

Future challenges arise from the nexus of societal, economic, and climate change. These challenges are tackled in a series of four workshops with selected stakeholders. The case study region is Buxtehude, a city of 39,000 inhabitants in the greater urban area of Hamburg, Germany. Buxtehude was selected as case study region out of a number of candidates after a screening process. It showed that the city is aware of future challenges and is already tackling some of them. Buxtehude is, for example, currently discussing ways to protect from flooding in the future. In addition,
the city initiated strategies to cope with demographic change and to steer future economic development. It became an official fair-trade town in 2011. Despite these activities, preparatory interviews with the administration, citizens‘ groups, associations, and organisations revealed the wish to look at the challenges more holistically and to connect individual strategies.

The problem to be targeted
It is the peculiarity of this workshop series that the group of stakeholders discussed the set of problems and aims for the future of Buxtehude in an open group process. The expected economical, demographic and climate changes composed the background for the discussion. The first workshop resulted in a list of perceived problems and aims for the future that were subsequently ranked according to importance. At the second workshop stakeholders discussed the interrelation in the complex system of Buxtehude. In a group model building exercise they visualized the relations between several fields of action including traffic, economy, tourism, demography, nature protection, land use planning, and education.

The stakeholders involved
The stakeholders involved were Administration of Buxtehude, Citizens‘ groups (on flooding and on traffic), Workers Union, Local association to foster the economy, Organisation of SME in the old town district, Local NGOs, Local charitable organisations, Dyke association, Private University Buxtehude, Public transportation services Buxtehude. And Political parties (partially).

The main goal of this case study is the to identify aims for action that supplement existing strategies and approaches and will lead to an improved quality of life in the city of Buxtehude in the face of a changing future. Exchange knowledge on entry points for adaptation actions to achieve the commonly identified goals. Additionally it the following goals were also formulated:
Stimulate system thinking by showing interrelations between fields of action.
Initiate and exercise collaborative knowledge production for addressing complex problems.

Choosing and tailoring the KBI
Group Model Building has been selected as a KBI to show interrelations in a complex system. The particular method chosen was the ’Concept Map‘. The Meta-plan technique was also used in the group discussion to structure the discussion.

Were the objectives achieved?
There was significant knowledge sharing between participants. Participants expanded their understanding of interrelations between fields of action. Participants identified collaboratively aims for the future of Buxtehude and approaches to achieve them.

Main key messages from the case study – lessons learnt
Participants need time to build up trust towards each other and confidence in the process.
Group Model Building helps to structure complex problems and to exchange knowledge.
Meta-plan technique facilitates an equal discussion giving every participant a voice.
The choice of the method needs to adapted to the contents discussed, the structure of the group of stakeholders, and the available time.

PSI-connect national case study with German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) has been actively promoting various initiatives in the field of climate change adaptation over the last few years and is involved in numerous activities at all administrative levels. As follow-up to the German Adaptation Strategy, Germany has recently developed an Adaptation Action Plan, which was drawn up in collaboration with the ’Länder‘ (federal states) and other relevant stakeholders. This Action Plan was adopted in summer 2011. In the last few years a number of adaptation strategies or strategic documents have been developed in Germany in relation to water, developed by governmental bodies as much as non-governmental associations. Various management concepts already take into account regional and seasonal variability. Altogether the German water sector is well aware of climate change issues, already discussing adaptation measures and how to address the uncertainties associated with climate change. In preparation for the action plan the BMU was responsible for providing input in relation to the water sector. For this they had already initiated a dialogue with governmental as well as non-governmental experts. PSI-Connect joined this process supporting BMU in its task to promote exchange of expertise and experiences.

The problem to be targeted
The main issues addressed in this case are:
to create a platform for exchange on issues related to climate change and water management sharing and improving expertise,
to improve the coordination of different policy streams
to integrate and mainstream the various adaptation strategies in the field of water management, and in doing so accompany the development of the action plan.
From the PSI-Connect perspective the goal was to create a learning community, ideally resulting in a self-sustained Community of Practice (CoP) to foster interaction among parties that normally do not interact.

The stakeholders involved
The case study partner and workshop host was the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Division WA I 1. As part of the cooperation a core team for planning and implementing the joint process was formed. Beside the ministry representatives of the following organisations were involved Federal Environmental Agency UBA, Division II 2.1, and Saarland Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Transport, Division E/2 Water and Wastewater. Workshop participants included state ministry representatives, federal non-governmental associations: DWA, DVWG…, and researchers.

The objectives of this case study are to support the group in gaining a common understanding of the key issues and their underlying complexities, and to identify and discuss drivers and causal linkages to provide a common basis for developing scenarios. The scenario planning exercise was aimed at discussing future water management options (short-, medium-, and long term) and to identify possible no-regret strategies and measures. The sharing of expertise and experiences was aimed at strengthening the network ties, foster social learning, and lead to a self-sustained Community of Practice.

Choosing and tailoring the KBI
Based on informal phone interviews with the case study partners and discussions at a face-to-face strategy meeting with the core team it was agreed upon that the concept of Community of Practice was to serve as an overarching strategy for open exchange of expertise and experiences. To achieve this it was also agreed to take a stepwise approach in which was started with a Group Model Building exercise to get insight in causes and effects in the water system (of climate change). This was then followed by Scenario Planning workshops, to derive at the possible interventions in the system.

Were the objectives achieved?
The workshops were successfully completed and in themselves achieved their objectives. However, the overall aim of establishing a lasting network could not be met.

Main key messages from the case study - lessons learnt
Time shows to be a key factor: in relation to the timing to link up at the right moment in a process, and in terms of time that all parties involved can dedicate.
High level of authority is beneficial: those participating in such a collaborative process should have sufficient decision-making power to be able to commit themselves without constraints.
The level of abstraction at national level poses a challenge and must be taken into account.

PSI-connect national case study with Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

In the Netherlands, several research programmes to improve the second river basin planning for the Water Framework Directive have been initiated. These initiatives have different origins and objectives and fall under the responsibility of different ministries. Furthermore, the river basin districts have articulated the research questions when preparing the first River Basin Management Plan. Among all involved a need exists for exchange of (scientific) information and to match supply and demand for scientific information to improve the take-up of new scientific information in the second River Basin Management plans.

The problem to be targeted
The exchange of scientific information is hampered by several institutional boundaries. To overcome these boundaries people from several institutions were invited to discuss new scientific information for the second River Basin Management Planning process. Workshops were organised to formulate lesson from the first River Basin Management Planning process and to connect developed models and scientific information from several research initiatives to the second RBMP‘s.

The stakeholders involved
The stakeholders who participated in the organised workshops were representatives from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, from the river basin districts, from provinces and water boards, from several knowledge institutes and research organisations.

The objective for this case study is to facilitate the exchange of scientific information between research institutes, policy institutions, and river basin managers for a better river basin management planning. The workshops are aimed at facilitation of cooperation and exchange of information, understanding the information needs of the river basin partners and the potential supply from the research partners and developing ideas for organising the knowledge for the 2nd RBMP on the national level.

Choosing and tailoring the KBI
Based on preparatory interviews the aim was to organise two workshops to facilitate knowledge exchange and to build a community for this topic. These workshops could then be followed up by a scenario planning workshop: what parties are involved in the knowledge infrastructure and what is their role; what to focus on in terms of preparation for the 2nd generation of RBMP‘s?

Were the objectives achieved?
Based on the two workshops it became clear that the scenario planning wasn‘t useful for the process of the 2nd RBMP. In the last workshop a more specific option was proposed for a Community of Practice with water managers. This is being started and given follow-up.

Main key messages from the case study - lessons learnt
It is a challenge to get a good connection to the policy trajectory of the case study holder, which takes a lot of time. The timing is very important.
To create ownership for the process with the involved stakeholders is very important for the exchange of knowledge. The fragmentation of knowledge across different parties makes it necessary to invest time in development of the process. The overload of information and initiatives makes it difficult to filter what one needs (in practice). This asks for a good structure of the information.

PSI-connect EU case study: CIS SPI ad-hoc activity

The CIS-SPI group is an ad-hoc activity on the water science - policy interface in the frame of the common implementation strategy groups for the Water Framework Directive and received a mandate for two years beginning at the start of 2010. More effective knowledge exchange is needed and a sound scientific basis is especially important in relation to the forthcoming cycles of River Basin Management Plans, related directives like the Floods Directive, and challenges associated with climate change. Implementers require scientific support to meet these challenges and comply with the legal requirements placed upon them. Consequently, efficient links between researchers, policy-makers, implementers, as well as stakeholders must be promoted for a successful WFD implementation. Based on this need for networking and improved communication, the CIS-SPI ad-hoc activity‘s goal is to create a dynamic interface through identifying research needs and enhancing usability of available (or to be produced) results in order to support the implementation of the WFD within the CIS framework.

The problem to be targeted
One of the key challenges for the CIS SPI ad-hoc activity lies in identifying ways of how to improve communication and transfer of knowledge in order to achieve the aforementioned goal. In a first step the existing knowledge base, knowledge gaps and the resulting research needs were already identified.

The stakeholders involved
The case study partners are The French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments (Onema), acting as secretariat of the CIS SPI ad-hoc activity, and DG Research.
Further stakeholders are CIS SPI ad-hoc activity members from the European member states, as well as other experts interested in Science – Policy Interactions including government representatives, researchers, and NGO representatives alike.

PSI-Connect supports the CIS-SPI ad-hoc activity in addressing the challenge of ’how to improve knowledge communication‘ following two lines of actions. As part of the activity‘s first ’Water Science meets Policy‘ event in September 2010 PSI-Connect facilitated a roundtable discussion focusing on questions of dissemination and how to achieve effective communication for improved WFD implementation. To build upon the results of that first event a workshop was planned to take these discussions further and ideally develop a guidance framework on good dissemination practices and instruments. The second line of action was to develop the ’Blue River Restoration‘ Role Playing Game. The objective of the Role Playing Game is for participants to develop an understanding of how the concept of ecosystem services can be applied within water policy and how to evaluate trade-offs in river catchment management.

Choosing and tailoring the KBI
Within the first line of action a workshop on good communication practices was organised in which no specific knowledge brokering instrument is applied. The sharing of expertise and experiences is based on discussions and is to address the question of ’How to improve knowledge transfer‘ within the context of the WFD.
The role playing game was organised as one of four parallel sessions at the 2nd ’Water Science meets Policy‘ event held in Brussels in September 2011. The event focused on the concept of ecosystem services within the context of the WFD. The role playing game was chosen as a suitable KBI to raise awareness and improve understanding of how the concept of ecosystem services can be used in river basin management. In the game participants were engaged in identifying and ’trading‘ ecosystem services within the context of river restoration. In the roles they played they experienced firsthand how trade-offs need to be negotiated and how this can help to evaluate alternative options to achieve policy goals.

Were the objectives achieved?
The workshop aimed at advancing the discussion on how to improve knowledge communication for WFD implementation was organised early 2012. In this workshop the desired guidance from the PSI-connect results was discussed. The PSI-connect briefing products are based on the outcomes from this discussion.
The Role Playing Game was successfully applied at the second Water Science meets Policy event. Participants were a small but diverse group of people with different levels of previous knowledge about ecosystem services. It met the objective of fostering better understanding of the wide range of ecosystem services and raised awareness for possible trade-offs and different perspectives on ecosystem services. The Role Playing Game is designed as a generic game and can also be applied in other situations in relation to water management and ecosystem services.

Main key messages from the case study - lessons learnt
Time and priority setting on part of the stakeholders are major constraints for the connection at this level of governance.
The different dynamics of science and policy becomes especially apparent with this activity.

The evaluation of the case studies

Each case study event generated a set of three reports and surveys; a Case Study Report prepared by the team delivering the event, a Designers‘ Questionnaire Report containing information about the design of the deployed KBI, and a Participants‘ Questionnaire which was administered to those attending the event following the day‘s activities.
The purpose of the case study document was to collect general information about each case study and to describe the overall evolution of the case study process. It focuses on understanding the case study context (i.e. socio-political setting, key stakeholders, decision-making challenge and processes), key steps for initiating, designing and implementing the case study as well as the main barriers and enablers encountered during this process. The Designer Questionnaire collected detailed information about the experience of the project team which implemented each Knowledge Brokering event in a case study. Questions focused on the objectives of and rationale for the design of the specific event as well as the quality of the interaction process, learning outcomes and policy-relevant outputs. It captured the project team‘s experiences, including the logic of their research design as well as their perceptions of the factors influencing the successful design and implementation of the various KBIs and activities. Finally, the Participant Questionnaire provided policy-makers and stakeholders taking part in the knowledge brokering exercises with an opportunity to reflect on their experiences. Mirroring the Designer Questionnaire, questions focused on participants‘ experience of the process, learning outcomes and overall benefits of the methods used.
Both the Designer and Participant Questionnaires were completed after each knowledge brokering event. By eliciting both the project team‘s and the participants‘ views, we were able to compare the benefits attributed to different KBIs (theory) with our practical experiences (practice), thus exposing any discrepancies between theory and practice and allowing us to identify and further explore relevant barriers, challenges and opportunities for designing and implementing KBIs and related processes.

Judging KBI performance fairly
At root, our interest in KBIs is driven by a desire to improve or enhance the quality of interaction between knowledge producers (typically the science base) and knowledge users. In this rather simple context, evaluation of KBI performance would appear to be a straightforward task; derive appropriate metrics for ’quality of interaction‘ and test the KBIs against them. However, such an approach would blind us to the subtleties of why KBIs are used and the wide spectrum of value which they can contribute. This is a strong argument for judging KBI performance on their avowed or stated objectives and / or merits and we reflect this in the discussions and conclusions presented below.
There is also an important distinction to be drawn between the process of KBI use and the influence of KBI use. These two aspects are clearly interlinked in the sense that experience of the process imparts an impression on participants. However, it is clearly beneficial to be able to differentiate between (i) the performance of a KBI as compared to how it should be executed as a set of actions, and (ii) the performance of a KBI as compared to what impact it is expected to have or designed to have on participants. Indeed, there is a third, more abstract and less easily scrutinized performance metric to consider here. Given the general ambition of KBIs mentioned above, we would ideally like to be able to evaluate whether KBI use has engendered better, more informed, less risky, more efficient and etc. policy. The challenges here are the length of time over which such an impact may be observable and the intangible nature of the effect. Who is to define ’better‘ or ’more effective‘ beyond the superficial? Is simply asking participants of their impressions and intentions post-workshop a robust enough basis on which to draw conclusions about KBI impact?
The two considerations described above have informed our analysis of the case study material and shaped our approach to critically assessing individual experiences of KBI use and KBI performance in the round. They also ensure that we have a robust and credible basis for judging success or value and are not drawn into (unfairly) comparing KBIs with incommensurate aims and objectives.

Observations and lessons learnt, that were extracted from the various case study reports and questionnaires and later confirmed and validated by the research group, are presented for each of the following defined phases:
- Initiation - The process to create interest and commitment.
- Design – The step to adapt the KBIs to the specific case study in question.
- Execution - The technical aspects about using the KBIs to provide a space for exchange and discussion of knowledge
- Performance for sharing and co-creating knowledge and for improving policy-making

During the initiation phase contacts with the case study partners were established, general discussions to explore collaboration took place and willingness for engagement was gauged. This phase preceeds KBI selection and tailoring and hence is assumed to be independent of the type of KBI deployed.
The initiation was found to be the most critical and challenging phase for the successful implementation of a KBI. There are lessons to learn regarding the challenges and opportunities faced by the case studies which explored a diversity of circumstances and contexts.
What are the factors of success and failure for initiating the process? How can we influence the factors? The factors crucial for the success of the initiation phase identified from the case studies‘ experiences are as follows: time constraints, problem framing, timeliness and the human dimension.

Time constraints
Time is a significant constraint. The initiation phase was found to be time demanding for both the case study partners and the PSI-connect team. The general lack of time from case study partners was an obstacle to the success of initiation.

Problem framing
Participants are more eager to learn about the insights of an exercise that supports their own processes. Framing the exercise required a significant effort and time from the PSI-connect team. Exchange of emails, phone calls and meetings (GMB, PL; Game, NL; national and regional German; CIS SPI) were the preferred methods to obtain insight and understanding into the context in which the case study partners work, their main issues and challenges and their work dynamics. The objective of the team was to stay close to the expressed needs and framings of the stakeholders, and to find common ground between them. This objective was a challenge in itself.
To facilitate the identification of the subject to be addressed and conduct preliminary discussions on the activities it is also important for the case study partners to understand the methods.

Engagement can be shaped during the process of framing the exercise but it is initially and somewhat arbitrarily dependent on the timeliness of the activity. PSI-connect did not develop its own case studies; instead, the consortium identified windows of opportunity in on-going policy making activities. Getting the timeliness of KBI support right was an outcome delivered by all those case studies that progressed further than the initiation phase.
However, timeliness is also about how the project fits in with the relevant policy trajectory. The national Dutch case study partners wanted the PSI-connect contribution to not be a stand-alone activity; they wanted the efforts to connect to their challenges in practice, which were typically on-going processes.
Both EU cases faced difficulties regarding timeliness. When PSI-connect initiated contact with the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) there were no opportunities to collaborate with the working group on Climate Change and Water because the group was in a transitional phase having completed one major task and yet not having new tasks on the way. An opportunity to collaborate with the CIS SPI working group arose at a later stage and in a timely manner for the PSI-connect project.

Human dimension
Contacts and trust are two important factors that dictate the initial credibility of the KBI delivery team and the methods which shapes the potential for engagement of the case study partners in a KBI exercise. To initiate the case studies PSI-connect found greatest value in existing contacts which emphasises the importance of trust to initiate the process.
The personality and seniority/authority of the contacts also plays an important role. Are the contacts motivated and open to try something new? The CIS-SPI case study succeeded as a result of the strong interest of the main contact point to cooperate
A good client contact can be difficult to find and requires time and persistence to nurture. Challenging further the success of the initiation phase is the fact that changes in contacts may be required. In the scope of this project, contacts of certain case studies were substituted for different reasons. In the Thuringia regional case an internal restructuring of the administration implied changed responsibilities and change of contact persons twice - the shift of responsibilities also led to a lack of ownership for cooperation. Changing contacts is time consuming for the team as it requires (i) finding a new and committed contact and (ii) building up a relationship and agreeing (again) on preliminary case study activities.

The initiation phase leads to the design phase where the KBI is tailored to the case study.
Group model building
Three case studies used the GMB approach: the regional Polish and the national and regional German case studies. In these three case studies the participants were not involved in the process of designing the KBI and PSI-connect members adapted the method based on their own impressions and ambitions. Overall, the GMB was successfully adapted based on the expectations; however, from the cases the lesson learnt is that more involvement with the case study partners and participants would have been beneficial during the design phase. For instance, participants from the national German case study were not satisfied with the instructions and explanations of the reasoning behind conducting a GMB exercise and there was disagreement regarding the sources used to create the model before the workshop. The regional Polish case observed that collaboration during the design phase was challenging for the PSI-connect team due to limited time availability of the stakeholders. The experience from the regional German case study is yet contrasting; participants were not involved in the design process and this was not felt to be required, possibly due to the particular nature of this case study.
Conducting a series of workshops allowed for flexibility and minimal stakeholder involvement (although in-depth interviews with selected stakeholders were occasionally conducted to provide better insights into the case study to prepare subsequent workshops). The major drawback was the challenge to ensure cooperation throughout the process.
Selecting the relevant stakeholders to participate in a case study workshop is an important step in the design phase. This step can be carried out by the case study partners (as in the national German case) or by the PSI-connect team (as in the regional German case).

Role playing game
Two case studies used role playing games as knowledge brokering instruments: the initial Dutch regional case study and the EU-case study. In both the Dutch original regional and CIS SPI case studies the exercises were developed by the team with the help of an external expert. The design phase included testing by the team members and colleagues. A significant time and effort was invested to adapt the RPG to the needs of the case study partners. In order to develop the RPG the knowledge brokers require specific knowledge on the subject and the case study context. For instance, introducing new ideas through a RPG at the EU level of governance was considered to be fairly unique and challenging.
It is within the nature of the RPG that the rules are not known to the participants beforehand. In both case studies the participants were not directly involved in tailoring the KBI. Nevertheless, the RPG exercises were developed and adapted as much as possible to the needs of the case study partners.
In the CIS SPI case, RPG was also found to be adaptable and was developed in a way that any participant of the event could volunteer to take part in the RPG exercise. To facilitate this, materials were prepared by the team prior to the workshop equipping participants with all the information they needed to play their roles.

Scenario planning
In two case studies the scenario planning method was applied: the Dutch regional case study and the German national case study. The aim of the regional Dutch case study is to support the water board to draw an action plan for organising their knowledge for the second generation of river basin management plans. SP was chosen to expose which knowledge is needed when and who could deliver this knowledge for different future scenarios. The selected measures, both robust and dependent on the scenarios explored, were anticipated to sustain the needs of the water board.
The German national case study aimed at identifying and discussing robust measures and strategies for the German water sector for the time period up to 2050. For that purpose, qualitative scenario storylines jointly developed in the first workshop were used during the second workshop.
PSI-connect developed a proposal with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and representatives of the river basin units that consisted of two preparatory workshops followed by a SP exercise. Discussing this with the stakeholders, the SP exercise did not seem useful and the option to start a CoP was favoured, although not within the time-frame of PSI-connect project.
In both current regional Dutch and the national German case studies the partners were engaged in the preparation of the workshops, kept informed of progress and encouraged to continuously get involved. In the regional Dutch case study the participants were actively involved in discussions on the process design, defining the main research questions and planning the process. There was a strong focus to keep the method flexible and adaptable to the continuous needs expressed by the case study partners (e.g. re-define steps over time to fit their agendas) in response to the lessons learnt from the Dutch original regional case study. Commitment from higher levels was found to be very important for the successful collaboration during the design. The regional Dutch case study highlights that participating in the process involved a significant time investment, from 5 to 15 days per person.

The KBI - execution
The process phase is concerned with the technical execution of the KBIs to provide a space for exchange and discussion of knowledge. The participant‘s experiences have been captured in the Participant‘s Questionnaire. Participants of both SP and GMB workshops tend to agree that the event was well facilitated and that the exercises were easy to follow. This highlights the fact that these instruments are easy to use if supported by a team with the appropriate facilitation skills.
Moreover, the participants agree with the fact that the KBI workshops provided an atmosphere where they felt comfortable to share their views and opinions and where the others were willing to listen to their contributions. These are important conditions that permit sharing and co-creating knowledge.

Group model building
In all the cases that used GMB the atmosphere was generally positive and the participants were engaged in the discussion; some were more active than others but there were no dominant participants with the exception of the regional German case study. In the national German case an informal space was created and participants freely communicated without having to follow the formal ’communication channels‘. In the German cases no tensions were registered but the regional Polish study faced challenges posed by a minority of participants.

Role playing game
During the RPG exercises the atmosphere was open and friendly and the contributions were realistic with no dominant participants or tensions registered. At the CIS SPI, the participants were very engaged in the simulation resulting in a high level of interaction independent of the background and level of knowledge and experience on the topic. For some participants it was easier to adapt to the situation in the RPG than for others but everyone was immersed in his/her particular role after a certain time. In order to enrich the process, the majority of participants played a role different to their real-life one.

Scenario planning
Both the current regional Dutch and the national German case studies experienced open and committed discussions without any tensions. In the national German workshop two facilitators were present for 14 participants and the team believes that introducing a more experienced facilitator could have led to an improved execution phase. Facilitation techniques were also crucial for the regional Dutch case study as not all participants were familiar with the scenario planning methodology and some experienced difficulties thinking about short term strategies starting from a future situation: what should we do at this moment to reach a desired situation in the future?
Another success factor for the execution phase is the flexibility for adjustments to accommodate for discussions necessary to the process.

KBI performance – sharing and co-creating knowledge
This phase is about knowledge sharing, integration of different types of knowledge and generation and co-production of knowledge. The results from the Participant‘s Questionnaire demonstrate that the methods used in the workshops helped gaining new knowledge and insights. Generally the participants invited to the workshops presented a balanced and comprehensive mix of interest. Two major outcomes are the fact that the participants got to know each other better, and may keep the contact in the future, and that the participants shared their views and learnt with the others. Both GMB and SP KBIs were experienced as suitable tools for sharing and co-creating knowledge. The results show a significant distinction between GMB and SP. The SP workshops allowed time for sufficient in-depth discussions between the participants whereas the GMB exercises was perceived not to. The GMB-exercises involved participants generally for a single event whereas the SP consisted of several workshops, which can explain this result.

Group model building
All three case studies that used this KBI experienced very positive results regarding knowledge sharing and co-creation. The exercise was found to broaden the horizons of the participants. For instance, in the regional Polish case, initially one cause to the problem was of concern but during the workshop a wide range of causes was explored; false assumptions were clarified and discussions brought common understanding. The group diversity in a well facilitated workshop is an important factor for knowledge enrichment. The process of bringing together the wider stakeholder community may however not be straightforward.

Role playing game
The Dutch original regional case study promoted sharing of experiences and thoughts and creation of insights into the perspectives of different stakeholders. The need to play a different role forced discussion and negotiation from different perspectives. Greater learning experiences (e.g. problem solving, ways of working and knowledge transfer) were experienced by participants that play someone else‘s role and that are less aware of the role of others.
The RPG exercise with the CIS SPI group fostered better understanding of ecosystem services and raised awareness for different perspectives and possible trade-offs when discussing ecosystem services; information, ideas and viewpoints were shared as part of the participant‘s roles in the game but also during the debriefing and discussion following the simulation. The participants agreed they learnt about ecosystem services and it sparked interest in wanting to learn more about ecosystem services.

Scenario planning
Scenario planning is an instrument that also successfully allowed the group to share and co-create knowledge. The participants of the current regional Dutch case study had different backgrounds and worked in different teams. The group had the opportunity to share and integrate facts and figures, knowledge and their personal perspectives of the problem and possible solutions and options.
The national German case was not as successful involving cross-sectoral stakeholders. Although the storylines were new, only few participants felt that the SP instrument brought forward new insights.

KBI performance – obstacles to improved policy making
If the KBI exercise was useful and knowledge was shared in a good manner, why did it actually not contribute to improve policy making? A series of factors that prevented improving policy making have been identified from the case studies and are presented as follows.

Resistance to change
Many case studies prompted participants to rethink the policy-making process and their cooperation with internal and external stakeholders. It was acknowledged that moving current ways of working towards a participatory process would be beneficial. However, it was difficult to change common routines. After the meetings, ’business as usual‘ continued and no benefits of involving stakeholders in the discussion were seen. In water policy and management, framing of the problem is generally technical and operational without accounting for the strategic and social aspects.

Difficulties using generated results
In many case studies the participants had difficulties translating the outcomes of the KBI-exercises in concrete actions for policy making or river basin management. For instance, in the CIS-SPI case study the RPG was found to help in formulating research questions forcing those involved to think out of the ’water box‘ but did not contribute towards further improving policy making.
The regional Polish case study showed no tangible long term results. Initiatives suggested at the meeting by participants to improve the social capital have not been pursued due to external reasons such as perceived lack of governing will and limited funds available to implement the accepted plan.

This indicates that the connection to the policy (implementation) process requires more attention. Just generating new knowledge is no prerequisite for the uptake of it, even if it is generated by the involved policy makers. Obviously, the organisational context of the policy institution plays an important role (that is easily overlooked) in the uptake of new information. Committing strategic levels of the organisation is probably needed during the knowledge brokering process to secure the uptake of its results.

Important roles in a knowledge brokering process
From the case studies three important roles in the knowledge brokering process can be identified: the facilitative leader, the knowledge broker, and the facilitator.

The facilitative leader
The facilitative leader is a high level contact person in the policy organisation who helps pave the way for the knowledge brokering process and helps to embed the results of it in the organisation. He/she has a good overview of the policy issues involved and a well-developed ’sense of urgency‘ for these and is well respected in the organisation having access to decision makers. The facilitative leader helps to identify and engage appropriate contacts in the organisation, arranges meetings and is the supporter for knowledge brokering in the policy counterpart. He or she should have decision making power, for instance, on how to organise the process and whom to involve. He or she should also assist in implementing the results of the knowledge brokering process in the policy organisation and policy routines.

The knowledge broker
If the connection between science and policy is important for an organisation, it is advised that a specific individual is appointed in the role of ’knowledge broker‘. The knowledge broker is a professional with good communication skills and a broad professional background who can operate between scientific and problem domains and is proficient in the terminology and professional languages of those domains. This person would ideally have worked in both the policy and scientific communities. The knowledge broker mediates between science and policy, organises specification of the organisation‘s scientific information requirements, connects different policy domains and knows where to find the appropriate scientific information. He/she must overlook the process and have an eye for ’the whole‘. Knowledge brokers act as the “lubricant” for the knowledge brokering process. However, as their value is difficult to “measure” their position and budget are likely to be challenged regularly. When looking at the capabilities of the knowledge broker, he/ she should be positioned at quite a strategic (“high”) level in the organisation. In fact, knowledge brokering is an important strategic function for the organisation.

The facilitator
The facilitator is the independent person who designs and organises the knowledge brokering activities, facilitates meetings and keeps an eye on all process aspects. He or she should be a skilled facilitator in knowledge brokering processes, for instance, from consultancies specialised in mediation. It is highly important that this person is accepted and trusted by the involved participants and has no stake in the problem or interest in the cooperating organisations.

General conclusions from PSI-connect

Making the connection between science and policy
Making the connection between science and policy starts with building mutual trust and commitment, which is typically time consuming and requires months to develop and mature.

The resilience and quality of connections between science and policy are quite sensitive to timing. Furthermore, connections are more robust if they are driven by a need on both sides. Useful opportunities for initiating connections include where policy issues are “urgent”, where an incidents occurs, or if a well-defined policy initiative or development is forth coming.

Flexibility on the side of the researchers and facilitative leadership on the policy side are prerequisites for effective connection between the two. The facilitative leadership on the policy side is best performed by a person who has a good overview of the policy issues involved, a ’sense of urgency‘ of these issues, is well respected in the organisation, and has easy access to the decision makers in the organisation.

Different governance levels require different science policy interfacing processes
Consultation, deliberation, and decision making processes differ by governance level and require a different approach and/or timing for the connection between science and policy. The EU level, for instance, requires abstract scientific information or scientific evidence on a “framework level”. On the regional level, there is a need for more detailed scientific information, “water system information” and monitoring as at this level the regulations are being implemented.

The flow of scientific information between the involved levels of governance requires attention, as we have seen that these flows are not established “automatically”. For instance we have observed within the project that in the context of the Water Framework Directive, information exchange about science-policy practices was not shared between the involved levels, preventing more widespread benefit from the activities.

Keeping the connection
An established connection between science and policy can be lost when the focus or urgency of a policy issue changes, when organisational structures are shifting and when people move to new positions. In the project we experienced these different types of disruption. Only the shifting of political priorities turned out to drive a real loss of connection. In the other cases, disruption resulted in serious delay and extra time investment to re-engage the science-policy process with new people.

Involving stakeholders in the research process
Involvement of stakeholders in the research process is needed to acknowledge different perspectives on the problem and solutions. To enhance both problem focus and relevance of research, stakeholders should be invited to articulate their questions about the problem and should be continuously involved during the research process.

The knowledge broker
A knowledge broker is a professional with good communication skills, a broad background, who can operate between knowledge domains, and knows the professional and disciplinary languages of those domains.

Various people in a group can act as knowledge brokers representing their domain. However, we found that often there is no ’one person‘ that overlooks the whole system or process. This is an extra argument for a broker who is specifically responsible for the complete process and can make the connections between the parts.

Knowledge brokering instruments
The knowledge brokering instruments applied during the PSI-Connect project generally performed well. The evaluation of the case studies shows that knowledge brokering instruments foster:
the sharing of experiences and knowledge,
the integration of different types of knowledge,
and the generation of new views and knowledge

They open a wider scope of problem perceptions and interests of different actors. We note that it is not the instruments themselves which achieve this benefit, but the process which the instruments facilitate.

The effective use of knowledge brokering instruments requires the services of a dedicated and independent facilitator with in-depth knowledge and experience of such tools.

Knowledge brokering processes help to create knowledge and generate new insights. This “change character” of the processes requires extra attention and research.

Lasting results
The knowledge brokering processes that were tested during the PSI-connect project have been demonstrated to lead to changed insights and new ideas for organising knowledge. However, if these new insights are not firmly embedded in the organizational structure of participating institutions, they will not last. If we look at it from a change management perspective, we need to look for a “sponsor of change” at a high level in the organisation to ensure ongoing benefits.

Organisations which have specific strategic units that deal with the strategic role of knowledge for their organisation (the strategic intelligence function (see: Wikipedia)) are most likely better equipped to benefit from knowledge brokering activities.

Potential Impact:
The PSI-connect consortium was committed to nurturing a multi-stakeholder constituency (science, society, government) and has worked to bridge the gulf between specialists in institutions of knowledge and in institutions of policy. Three levels of intervention have been defined: awareness, intervention and action. The project involved a wider community not only in implementing the research but also in communicating, disseminating and using the results of the project.
PSI-connect has established a project website that is publicly accessible where its findings are being made available and can be downloaded, like reports, leaflets, short movies and publications, all in English language. Apart from electronic available material, PSI-connect also produced printed project leaflets and booklets that were distributed to an expanded network of contacts raising awareness and understanding.
Via conferences and workshops the project, its results and developed approaches were widely disseminated across audiences of policy makers, stakeholders, practitioners, and scientists involved in the relation between climate change and water management. This contributed to a raised understanding. The PSI-connect training workshops also provided a great opportunity for action helping participants to solve their real life problems (individual or shared amongst a group) with the aid of knowledge brokering instruments and processes. Moreover, the workshops also allowed for a two-way learning experience; for instance during the cross-level workshop, members of the advisory board and case study partners advised on efficient methods to deliver the project‘s messages in the form of policy-science briefings.
The case studies (the ’real life policy experiments‘) in this project were also crucial at the ’action‘ level of intervention. The outcomes contributed to policy developments in different ways (e.g. environment and regional policy) and on different governance levels (local/regional, national and EU), for instance assisting the implementation of the Water Framework Directive within National Water Boards.
PSI-connect aims for a self-sustaining legacy of interactions and learning communities beyond the lifetime of the project itself. It is therefore intended to keep disseminating the results to a wide network (e.g. active EC FP7 projects/networks, UNESCO, web) as well as to maintain the project‘s website alive for five more years.

PSI-connect has advanced the state-of-the-art in research on science-policy interactions through published and planned publications in scientific journals and presentations and papers for scientific conferences. With partners and collaborators from across Europe, PSI-connect represents a new benchmark in this challenging but increasingly important area of research, bridging the humanities, social and natural sciences. Some articles for scientific journals are still in production as most cases only ended by the end of last year and results of evaluations have become available since then. To reflect on the results and publish them will take some time after ending the project. Nevertheless, an impressive list of scientific publications and presentations have already been produced.
Especially, the approach that we took in PSI-connect to closely work with “real-life” policy trajectories is quite unique. This action research approach delivered a whole range of results, varying from observations of the project team members to recorded survey results from the cases. These results will still be analysed in different ways (the cases, the action research methodology, etc.) after the lifetime of the project and published in different scientific journals.

PSI-connect‘s biggest potential impact, though, is on the water policy domain. Outputs from the PSI-connect project has informed and will inform policy makers and multiple stakeholder groups about novel approaches to science-policy collaboration and communication. PSI-connect created tangible products , fact sheets, briefing products and reports, about the knowledge brokering instruments, processes and performed cases. PSI-connect created also some networks and infused the knowledge brokering ideas in existing networks and projects.

Tangible products

The PSI-connect website ( went live in Month 3 of the project and has since been regularly updated. The website was used as the main instrument for providing a large audience with information about:
the project‘s aims and objectives, structure and research team;
the four types of experimented knowledge brokering instruments;
the PSI-connect case studies;
PSI-connect public deliverables and other documents containing project‘s results as well as useful links;
upcoming events and PSI-connect outreach.
The web domain name will remain the property of the project for a period of five years after the end-of-project date in line with the objective to promote the use of the tools developed beyond the life time of the project.

Project brochures, fact sheets, reports & briefings
The project team produced a number of print materials to support PSI-connect researchers in communicating and disseminating the project. In the first year of the project, a general project flyer was produced and disseminated amongst the partners with the primary aim of establishing contacts with potential case study partners and raising interest in the project at relevant conferences and workshops.
In order to more actively engage with researchers and practitioners working in similar fields or those interested in learning more about knowledge brokering, an e- flyer was created, emphasising the project‘s commitment to information exchange, dissemination and training.
The project team has also produced a number of fact sheets providing background information about the different knowledge brokering instruments and case studies. Each case study has been summarised using a common framework: (i) context, (ii) the problem to be targeted, (iii) the stakeholders involved, (iv) objectives, (v) choosing and tailoring the KBI and (vi) were the objectives achieved? Information about the instruments and the case studies can be downloaded from the PSI-connect website.
Consideration and integration of findings and experiences enabled us to author a series of science-policy interface briefings. Moreover, end users have been involved in the design and authoring of the briefings providing advice on the target audience, content and delivery and dissemination routes. Three types of briefings were delivered containing inter alia information on the central challenges facing a science-policy community, examples of good and best practice in collaboration and communication, points of reference for further information and guidance emanating from the findings of the case study evaluation.

A leaflet on ’Tools and processes to facilitate collaboration across policy and science – applications in the field of water management‘ to capture the interest of policy makers and scientists in knowledge brokering processes. The leaflet contains the main messages of the project and gives a quick overview of knowledge brokering, the instruments and important factors for implementing them. It invites the reader to read more about knowledge brokering and to visit the website to download the available PSI-connect products.

A booklet ’Collaborative tools and processes for connecting policy and science - Hands on Approach‘ derived from guidance and recommendations from the PSI-connect project targeted at knowledge brokers and intermediaries. This booklet contains guidance for setting up knowledge brokering processes and using the knowledge brokering instruments, based on the experiences in the project. It has been written for policy makers and/or scientists who want to make a better connection between science and policy in the field of water management. The lessons can be applied however in other policy areas as well.

A series of five short movies recorded in Venice during the final PSI-connect event based on interviews that explore the need for knowledge brokering processes and the experiences of knowledge brokers and participants in the four types of knowledge brokering instruments.

All briefings as well as public deliverables prepared by the PSI-connect team can be downloaded from the project‘s website. It is intended to make these available via networks (e.g. UNESCO website, LIAISE network‘s database) and other public networks available to the general public (e.g. We adapt – Wikipage for adaptation platform and making the film available via YouTube).


In order to achieve the aim of PSI-connect project, a consolidated effort was made to establish links with distinct but overlapping target groups and end users, including (i) policy-makers, (ii) scientists, and (iii) the wider stakeholder community. Target groups for our dissemination activities are those directly involved in the project (e.g. case study partners, workshop participants, members of the advisory board and the European Commission) and those that contribute to its success sharing similar experiences of facilitating different dissemination activities.
The PSI-connect team actively explored opportunities for collaboration with many projects, networks and institutes.

Knowledge Brokering Collectives
One of the project‘s ambitions was to promote the building of science-policy communities, the so called Knowledge Brokerage Collectives (KBC) which continue to develop and share their experiences and skills beyond the lifetime of the project. The development of KBCs was closely linked to the training events and the final conference as well as to the groups that participated in the case study projects. In some cases an existing network has been used (e.g. Sava River Basin Commission - second training event - and UNESCO‘s country representatives of the IHP - final conference and third training event) and in other cases an appropriate kernel of scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders have been identified and engaged in a knowledge brokering process likely to continue in the future (e.g. regional and national Dutch case studies).

Training workshops
The training applications created awareness of the challenges and possible opportunities for bridging the science-policy gap rather than providing in-depth training in the use of specific knowledge brokering instruments. Training activities were focused on creating and supporting Knowledge Brokering Collectives with the aim of establishing forums for exchange of information and knowledge, debate, and collaboration on science-policy interactions. This is particularly the case of the second and (partially) the third training events that targeted a specific audience using knowledge brokering instruments and processes tailored to their specific policy trajectories. To a lesser extent, the Budapest training promoted KBC as it focused in the design and deployment of specific knowledge brokering instruments for improving the policy-science connections rather than solving an issue shared by the group.

PSI-connect final conference
’The future of science-policy connections‘, the PSI-connect final conference, was held in Palazzo Zorzi, Venice with the support of UNESCO‘s Venice office. The key messages from the project (e.g. interesting cases, dilemmas and results) were presented in an interactive manner. The water management and climate change themes were explored, for instance, in breakout sessions that covered (i) barriers and opportunities for cross-level communication for the Water Framework Directive, (ii) ecosystem services as a common language and (iii) perspectives on science and policy interfacing for improved water management.

Through the PSI-connect cases, workshops, the training events, and final conference a relevant audience of policy makers and scientists was reached that can sustain the impact of the project beyond its lifetime. Especially noteworthy here is the training of the International Sava River Basin Commission that will take up the knowledge brokering processes and instruments in their river basin planning. Furthermore, a good cooperation with UNESCO was established during the project. They will take up the results and will help disseminate the briefing products to relevant audiences that can benefit from a better science policy connection beyond the lifetime of the project.

Knowledge for action

From the PSI-connect results it becomes clear that ’knowledge for action‘ will not automatically lead to ’knowledgeable action‘. The cases show that the step from new knowledge to policy action is a hard one. When problems are reframed, new knowledge and insights are acquired, and new policy approaches are developed, this will not automatically result in new ways of working or new implemented policy strategies. New knowledge and insights for policy making bump then on the boundaries of the institutional setting, the internal organizational structures and established working routines.
This means that the PSI-connect products will not automatically lead to better policies. Specific implementation activities, like seminars, coaching, and networking are still needed to cross these boundaries.
List of Websites:

Contact details beneficiaries

TNO Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research The Netherlands
Adriaan Slob

CRAN Cranfield University, Centre for Water Science United Kingdom
Paul Jeffrey

CRS Centre for Systems Solutions Poland
Piotr Magnuszewski

UOS University of Osnabrück, Institute of Environmental Systems Research Germany
Claudia Pahl-Wostl

PIK Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Germany
Valentina Krysanova

VITUKI Vituki, Environmental Protection and Water Management Research Institute Hungary
Beata Pataki

DELT Deltares The Netherlands
Jos Brils

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