Policy windows for the environment: Tips for improving the uptake of scientific knowledge

David C. Rose, Nibedita Mukherjee, Benno I. Simmons, Eleanor R. Tew, Rebecca J. Robertson, Alice B.M. Vadrot, Robert Doubleday, William J. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)
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Scientific knowledge is considered to be an important factor (alongside others) in environmental policy-making. However, the opportunity for environmentalists to influence policy can often occur within short, discrete time windows. Therefore, a piece of research may have a negligible or transformative policy influence depending on when it is presented. These ‘policy windows’ are sometimes predictable, such as those dealing with conventions or legislation with a defined renewal period, but are often hard to anticipate. We describe four ways that environmentalists can respond to policy windows and increase the likelihood of knowledge uptake: 1) foresee (and create) emergent windows, 2) respond quickly to opening windows, 3) frame research in line with appropriate windows, and 4) persevere in closed windows. These categories are closely linked; efforts to enhance the incorporation of scientific knowledge into policy need to harness mechanisms within each. We illustrate the main points with reference to nature conservation, but the principles apply widely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Early online date31 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Evidence-based conservation
  • Evidence-based policy
  • Evidence-informed policy
  • Horizon scanning
  • Policy windows
  • Science-policy interface

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