The Concept of our Network of Knowledge
The idea for a “Network of Nowledge” (NoK) was set up by the EPBRS (European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy) in a position paper, originating from the discussion about the need for better and more focused science-policy interfaces for biodiversity in Europe.
A Network of Knowledge should (EPBRS 2009):
- respond to requests for information from its clients, including, if required by its clients, policy-relevant information, policy options and scenarios
- provide reports on issues that its members wish to draw to the attention of its clients, including both early warnings and in some cases the need for further research on key policy-relevant issues
- design and co-ordinate multiple-scale assessments that respond to the needs of decision-makers
- help to build capacity to provide reliable, evidence-based and policy-relevant information and to undertake assessments
- interpret its findings for the clients of the network, and communicate with them, with other scientists, and where appropriate, with the public, concerning the implications of their findings, and what policy options might be available.
This is a challenging approach, given today’s situation where biodiversity knowledge is still quite scattered across disciplines, scales and different kinds and a high number of institutions and even individuals. A NoK will need to address the interest of knowledge holders to get acknowledged for their input, but also need to better communicate the need for their input into societal discussions. When providing knowledge to clients, it will need to be as explicit as possible about the knowledge sources, their quality and uncertainties, but also be as relevant as possible for the client’s needs.