Airnet experiences with science policy interface and communication
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AIRNET Experiences with Science/Policy Interface and Communication. Leendert Van Bree RIVM, Bilthoven [email protected] ACCENT WORKSHOP Gothenburg, Sweden October 27-28, 2004. AIRNET management team. Bert Brunekreef – Utrecht University(co-ordinator)

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AIRNET Experiences with Science/Policy Interface and Communication

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AIRNETExperiences with Science/PolicyInterface and Communication

Leendert Van Bree

RIVM, Bilthoven

[email protected]

ACCENT WORKSHOP

Gothenburg, Sweden

October 27-28, 2004


AIRNET management team

  • Bert Brunekreef – Utrecht University(co-ordinator)

  • Leendert van Bree – RIVM Bilthoven(co-ordinator)

  • Support crew:

    Nicole Janssen(exposure)

    Annike Totlandsdal(toxicology)

    Gerard Hoek(epidemiology)

    Eric Sanderson(health impact)

    Nina Fudge(science-policy)

    Marjan Tewis(assistent)

    Eef van Otterloo(webmaster)


AIRNET and its mission

AIRNET is an EU-wide Thematic Network project on Air Pollution and Health

Mission statement

  • To help to create a widely supported basis for public health policy related to improving air quality in Europe and regulatory needs to achieve that goal

    AIRNET also seeks

  • To improve interaction with stakeholders in the interpretation and use of air pollution and health information

  • To act as a network with policy makers, industry, and NGO’s from the environment and public health sectors


To develop an overarching, Europe-wide framework for air pollution and health research

To collect and synthesize scientific information from individual research projects (FP4, FP5, and nationally-funded studies)

To draw policy-relevant recommendations

To communicate the outcome

To find ways to improve the science-policy-stakeholder interaction

Objectives of AIRNET


The life of AIRNET

AIRNET began life in 2002 and is funded until the end of 2004

Years 1 and 2 were focused on collection,interpretation, and synthesis of air pollution and health data

Year 3 focus is on dissemination and communication of information

QLRT-2001-00441, Key Action 4, Environment and Health


AIRNET’s deliverables

  • Six Work Group Reports

  • Three Annual Conferences (London, Rome, Prague)

  • AIRNET Alert (web-based information tool)

  • AIRNET Newsletters

  • Internet website (http://airnet.iras.uu.nl)

  • Stakeholder Survey in Europe (“What info, which form?”)

  • AIRNET Communication Strategy

  • National/local AIR-NETwork days across Europe (communication model)

    (AIRNET identified as a key project for the CAFE)


Causality chaintranslated into AIRNET disciplines


Who is in AIRNET ?

Communication Agency

Science Journalists


Contractors in AIRNET

  • Utrecht University B. Brunekreef

  • RIVM Bilthoven L. van Bree

  • VITO Mol R. Torfs

  • IOM Edinburgh F. Hurley

  • Medical School, University of Athens K. Katsouyanni

  • IIASA M. Amann

  • Environmental Medicine, NIPH Oslo E. Dybing

  • European Federation of Asthma

    and Allergy Associations E. Rameckers

  • International Society of Doctors

    for the Environment P. van den Hazel

  • CONCAWE Association of Oil Companies

    and Refining Capacity J. Urbanus


Communication Agency

Science Journalists


Science/Policy Interface and Communication

  • Science-policy interface and communication is sometimes confused with “talk as long as you have an answer or consensus”

  • Sometimes the outcome is already defined and the interaction is considered as “massage”

  • BUT... real interaction means that

    • pay substantial attention to preparatory phase of discussion of issues

    • agree on the various possibilities and analyses routes

    • agree on the rational choices to be made

    • accept, explain, and communicate the outcome

      Korbee & Hovelynck communication consultants


Substantial investment is needed for further emission reductions to decrease exposure and health risks

Interface becomes therefore more important, BUT… often functions poorly

A better interface needs:

communication of information to those who need it, ask for it, or have the right to know

understanding of end-users needs

develop views on what the interface should be (not only on content but also on process and mechanism)

Is a science-policy-stakeholder interface needed in air pollution and health?


The ideal science-policy interface

  • Open, two-way communication of facts and figures, methods of analysis, decision principles, outcomes and values between scientists, policy makers and stakeholders

  • Exchange of reliable information is key to effective policy

  • Good communication is essential (What info, which form, which mechanism?)

  • Find workable solutions for:

    • Correct “framing” of complex issues

    • Uncertainty analyses (statistical, conceptual)

    • New philosophies to cope more sensibly with (a variety of) risks


SPI report on “problem framing


SPI report on “coping sensibly with risk”

  • QRA and Cost-Efficiency

  • Risk Weighing and Acceptance

  • Stakeholder Participation and Consensus

  • Weighing Precaution in Policy Domain


End-user’s needs as a basis in AIRNET reports and activities

  • Stakeholder survey

    • identifying end-user needs (key/FAQ questions, information needs, “WHAT INFORMATION”)

    • knowing how information needs to be presented (“WHICH FORM”)

  • Outcome taken as the main basis for

    • structuring and focussing various Work Group Reports

    • developing short answers to FAQ’s as an effective way to communicate

    • answers need back-up from end-report content


The interface in AIRNET’s deliverables

  • Work Groups end-reports (focus, FAQ’s, help of science journalists for improved readability)

  • Annual Conferences (science-policy-stakeholder interactions)

  • AIRNET Alert (web-based tool for disseminating non-specialist summaries of research papers)

  • AIRNET Newsletters (exchange of recent findings and highlights)

  • Internet website (http://airnet.iras.uu.nl)

  • Stakeholder Survey in Europe (end-user needs)

  • AIRNET Communication Strategy

  • National/local AIR-NETwork days across Europe (multi-stakeholder communication/interaction model)


How AIRNET tried to ’bridge the gap’ between science and policy

Science -> <- Policy Makers and Stakeholders

Challenges, experience, and lessons ?


AIRNET activities

Developing involvement of stakeholders

  • Actively participating in AIRNET work groups and end-reports

  • Presentations on “What stakeholders want” at the 1st Annual Conference (London 2002)

  • Europe-wide stakeholder/end-user survey

  • Interactive communication form at

    • 3rd Annual Conference (Prague 2004)

    • AIR-NETwork days across Europe (NL, S, H, and ESP)


AIRNET activities

European-wide stakeholder survey

  • Questionnaire to find out what the needs of stakeholders and end-users are

    • i.e. what information, FAQ’s, which form

  • Survey population

    • all stakeholders within AIRNET

    • members of CAFE steering group

    • members of EU parliament

    • stakeholders from APHEIS

Overall response

rate was ~25%


“It is not so much that sources are unavailable to us, it is more that time is in short supply”

(National government agency, UK)

“There is a wealth of information and sources and it is in fact a challenge to keep up with the new information”

(Private sector stakeholder, Belgium)


AIRNET activities

Outcome of EU-wide stakeholder survey

  • List of FAQ’s and important issues (“what information”)

  • Preferred information format (“which form”)

    • integrative, short overviews

    • interpreted for stakeholders

    • summaries for informed but non-specialist audience

  • Expectations of AIRNET (“which mechanism”)

    • information exchange and networking

    • identify and consider stakeholder views

    • policy support

      This outcome has focussed and structured further AIRNET activities !


AIRNET activities

Five Work Group end-reports

  • development of disciplinary ‘state-of-the-art ‘ reports on air pollution and health

    (exposure, toxicology, epidemiology, health impact, and science-policy interface)

  • written for an informed but non-specialist audience

  • using input from EU stakeholder survey

  • tailored to end-user needs

  • with answers to FAQ’s

  • involvement of science journalists

  • use of non-specialist language

    Draft reports now available; finalized by end of 2004

    Final integrative report for additional input to CAFE


AIRNET activities

Developing a communication plan

  • Hiring a communication agency

  • Hiring science journalists

    Various communication-oriented activities


AIRNET activities

AIRNET Alert - online database of non-specialist summaries of key scientific papers


AIRNET activities

AIRNET NEWS - bi-annual newsletter


AIRNET’s “final” activities

Organisation of four national AIR-NETwork days, spring/summer 2004

  • Multi-stakeholder communication model now tested in four countries

    3rd AIRNET Annual Conference, Prague, October 2004

    …aimed at

  • model for communicating results and needs with stakeholders at (inter)national and local levels

  • bringing together scientists, stakeholders, and policy-makers

  • responsibility for interactive dialogue and communication

  • transfer of knowledge and exchange of needs

  • developing long-term relationships


AIR-NETwork days – communication model


AIRNET - lessons learned

Organisation of an interface network...

  • requires a lot of planning

  • currently no “recipe” available on how to optimally run a interface network

  • knowing WHAT you wish to achieve is not sufficient, you should also know HOW you wish to achieve it

  • difficult to get all “players” actively involved

    (defining a task for each player may help, in AIRNET only the scientists have clear responsibilities)

  • Interface works different at international, national, and local level


To what extent has AIRNET “bridged the gap” ?

-->

?


AIRNET - lessons learned

Science-policy-stakeholder interface...

  • is interpreted differently by the different players

  • is not naturally occurring

  • does not work by itself

  • requires lots of planning, and structure and energy

    (cf. AIR-NETwork days)


AIRNET -lessons learned

Dissemination and communication of research findings in a non-specialist way...

  • scientists found it hard to write in a concise and non-specialist way

  • AIRNET provided guidelines and also contracted science journalists to help

  • involvement of communication specialists is crucial (AIRNET has contracted a communication agency)


More information about AIRNET...

htpp://airnet.iras.uu.nl


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