Engaging Researchers Actively in Agricultural Biotechnology Policy Making

By Zuzana van der Werf Kulichova, Steven Maarten Flipse and Patricia Osseweijer.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 15, 2014 $US5.00

Policy making regarding modern biotechnology is characterized by direct participation of stakeholders such as industry, environmental organizations and consumer groups. However, public sector researchers traditionally participate only indirectly, for example through memberships in expert advisory committees. This prevents direct interaction with other policy stakeholders who often use scientific knowledge to legitimize their preferences for stricter regulations. Furthermore, it has been argued that indirect participation of researchers in policy making results in low understanding and even misrepresentation of scientific facts. In this paper, we argue for direct engagement of public sector researchers in policy making. We analyze available literature on the engagement of researchers in policy making to answer the following question: What are the requirements for facilitating direct engagement of public sector researchers in policy making? To do so, we first identify reasons for public sector researchers to become involved in policy making. Second, we discuss possible obstacles that may prevent them from doing so. Third, based on the identified reasons we recommend five requirements which may be important for facilitation of direct engagement of public sector researchers in policy making debates. We conclude with critical reflection on the proposed requirements and suggest directions for future research.

Keywords: Active Engagement, Researchers, Policy Making, Agricultural Biotechnology, Responsible Innovation

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 5, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 15, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 457.892KB)).

Zuzana van der Werf Kulichova

PhD Candidate, Department of Biotechnology, Section Biotechnology and Society, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

Steven Maarten Flipse

Assistant Professor, Deptartment of Science Education & Communication, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

Prof. Patricia Osseweijer

Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Section Biotechnology and Society, Delft University of Techology, Delft, Netherlands