21 July 2011

The Policy Advisor's Dilemma

My latest column for Bridges is out.  In it I discuss a challenge faced by the policy advisor -- how to be close enough to a decision maker to participate in decision making, but not so close that independence is lost.

I draw on the work of my friend and colleague Eva Lövbrand who has looked in depth at the role of the EU ADAM project in relation to the needs of decision makers. I compare her analysis of ADAM's research in decision making with the role of intelligence in the decision to go to war in Iraq (an issue I discuss at length in The Honest Broker).

In my column I ask:
What is the difference between the case of WMDs, where policy analysis was provided in response to the stated needs of decision makers, and the case of ADAM in which policy analysis was similarly provided in response to the stated needs of decision makers?
For the answer, please have a look at the column, and please feel welcome to come back here with comments and critique.

Reference:  Lövbrand, E. (2011). Co-producing European climate science and policy. A cautionary note on the funding and making of useful knowledge. Science and Public Policy 38(3): 225-236.