Science in the regulatory setting: a challenging but incompatible mix?
Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Blvd., Rm. 3B01, MSC 7517, Bethesda, MD 20892-7517, USA.Novartis Foundation symposium 02/2007; 282:59-68; discussion 69-76, 212-8.
Regulatory decisions informed by sound science have an important role in many regulatory applications involving drugs and foods, including applications related to dietary supplements. However, science is only one of many factors that must be taken into account in the regulatory decision-making process. In many cases, the scientific input to a regulatory decision must compete with other factors (e.g. economics, legal requirements, stakeholder interests) for impact on the resultant policy decision. Therefore, timely and effective articulation of the available science to support a regulatory decision can significantly affect the relative weight given to science. However, the incorporation of science into the regulatory process for dietary supplements is often fraught with challenges. The available scientific evidence has rarely been designed for the purpose of addressing regulatory questions and is often preliminary and of widely varying scientific quality. To add to the confusion, the same scientific evidence may result in what appears to be different regulatory decisions because the context in which the science is used differs. The underlying assumption is that scientists who have a basic understanding of the interface between science and policy decisions can more effectively provide scientific input into these decisions.
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- "In short, experts need to ensure their work is 'useable' (Lindblom and Cohen, 1979). This means using accessible communication strategies that fit the context (Howlett, 2009; Jewell and Bero, 2008; Yetley, 2007). Many scholars link communication to the content of what is being communicated and, specifically, the technique used to produce that content. "
ABSTRACT: The increased salience of how to value ecosystems services has driven up the demand for policy-relevant knowledge. It is clear that advice by epistemic communities can show up in policy outcomes, yet little systematic analysis exists prescribing how this can actually be achieved. This paper draws on four decades of knowledge utilisation research to propose four types of `possible expert' who might be influential on ecosystems services. Broad findings of a literature review on knowledge use in public policy are reported, and the four-fold conceptualisation pioneered by Carol Weiss that defines the literature is outlined. The field is then systematised by placing these four modes of knowledge use within an explanatory typology of policy learning. With how, when, and why experts and their knowledge are likely to show up in policy outcomes established, the paper then proposes the boundaries of the possible in how the ecosystems services epistemic community might navigate the challenges associated with each learning mode. Four possible experts emerge: with political antenna and epistemic humility; with the ability to speak locally and early to the hearts and minds of citizens; with a willingness to advocate policy; and, finally, with an enhanced institutional awareness and peripheral policy vision. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the utility of the analysis.
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