New tools to support knowledge brokers and knowledge users

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters has published new tools that help knowledge brokers find the right researchers, specify knowledge needs, and make phenomenon-based knowledge syntheses. The aim is to improve the use of research knowledge in societal decision-making.

Societal actors, such as ministries and municipalities, need reliable and high-quality research knowledge to support policy-making. Successful knowledge brokering requires expertise that takes into account the operating cultures of both scientific research and policy-making.

The new tools from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters are based on the lessons learned at the science-policy interface, and as such offer practical tools for three common challenges at the interface: finding the right expert, specifying knowledge needs, and compiling easily understandable knowledge syntheses. The tools are intended for experts and researchers working at the science-policy interface, as well as for civil servants.

The tool for finding the right researcher helps in identifying a suitable group of experts and selecting researchers, for example, a science-policy dialogue. Then again, the tool on specifying knowledge needs may help knowledge users or brokers to specify the knowledge request, including the type of knowledge needed for knowledge synthesis.

“Interaction with knowledge users is central to specifying a knowledge request. Supporting researchers in specifying the knowledge request improves the relevance of the research knowledge in policy-making processes,” emphasises Iiris Koivulehto, an expert at the Academy of Science and Letters.

The third tool focuses on how to make phenomenon-based knowledge syntheses. Knowledge syntheses that compile multidisciplinary research knowledge on broad societal issues can lower the threshold for policy-makers to utilise researched knowledge in policy-making.

“Policy-makers often need to understand the relationships between the different perspectives on a phenomenon. Focused and discipline-specific research communication may not be enough to support such knowledge needs,” reminds Linda Lammensalo, an expert at the Academy of Science and Letters.

You can find the new tools here (PDF-files):

How to find the right researcher
How to specify a knowledge request
How to make a phenomenon-based knowledge synthesis

More info:

Linda Lammensalo
p. +358 50 308 7726

Iiris Koivulehto
p. 040 564 9886 

The tools have been developed in the Phenomenon Maps project, funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.