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AIRNET Experiences with Science/Policy Interface and Communication Leendert Van Bree RIVM, Bilthoven ACCENT WORKSHOP Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Presentation on theme: "AIRNET Experiences with Science/Policy Interface and Communication Leendert Van Bree RIVM, Bilthoven ACCENT WORKSHOP Gothenburg, Sweden."— Presentation transcript:

1 AIRNET Experiences with Science/Policy Interface and Communication Leendert Van Bree RIVM, Bilthoven ACCENT WORKSHOP Gothenburg, Sweden October 27-28, 2004

2 AIRNET management team Bert Brunekreef – Utrecht University(co-ordinator) Leendert van Bree – RIVM Bilthoven(co-ordinator) Support crew: Nicole Janssen(exposure) Annike Totlandsdal(toxicology) Gerard Hoek(epidemiology) Eric Sanderson(health impact) Nina Fudge(science-policy) Marjan Tewis(assistent) Eef van Otterloo(webmaster)

3 AIRNET and its mission AIRNET is an EU-wide Thematic Network project on Air Pollution and Health Mission statement To help to create a widely supported basis for public health policy related to improving air quality in Europe and regulatory needs to achieve that goal AIRNET also seeks To improve interaction with stakeholders in the interpretation and use of air pollution and health information To act as a network with policy makers, industry, and NGOs from the environment and public health sectors

4 Objectives of AIRNET To develop an overarching, Europe-wide framework for air pollution and health research To collect and synthesize scientific information from individual research projects (FP4, FP5, and nationally- funded studies) To draw policy-relevant recommendations To communicate the outcome To find ways to improve the science-policy-stakeholder interaction

5 The life of AIRNET AIRNET began life in 2002 and is funded until the end of 2004 Years 1 and 2 were focused on collection, interpretation, and synthesis of air pollution and health data Year 3 focus is on dissemination and communication of information QLRT-2001-00441, Key Action 4, Environment and Health

6 AIRNETs deliverables 1. Six Work Group Reports 2. Three Annual Conferences (London, Rome, Prague) 3. AIRNET Alert (web-based information tool) 4. AIRNET Newsletters 5. Internet website ( 6. Stakeholder Survey in Europe (What info, which form?) 7. AIRNET Communication Strategy 8. National/local AIR-NETwork days across Europe (communication model) (AIRNET identified as a key project for the CAFE)

7 Causality chain translated into AIRNET disciplines

8 Who is in AIRNET ? Science JournalistsCommunication Agency

9 Contractors in AIRNET Utrecht University B. Brunekreef RIVM Bilthoven L. van Bree VITO Mol R. Torfs IOM Edinburgh F. Hurley Medical School, University of Athens K. Katsouyanni IIASA M. Amann Environmental Medicine, NIPH Oslo E. Dybing European Federation of Asthma and Allergy Associations E. Rameckers International Society of Doctors for the Environment P. van den Hazel CONCAWE Association of Oil Companies and Refining Capacity J. Urbanus

10 Science JournalistsCommunication Agency

11 Science/Policy Interface and Communication Science-policy interface and communication is sometimes confused with talk as long as you have an answer or consensus Sometimes the outcome is already defined and the interaction is considered as massage BUT... real interaction means that pay substantial attention to preparatory phase of discussion of issues agree on the various possibilities and analyses routes agree on the rational choices to be made accept, explain, and communicate the outcome Korbee & Hovelynck communication consultants

12 Is a science-policy-stakeholder interface needed in air pollution and health? Substantial investment is needed for further emission reductions to decrease exposure and health risks Interface becomes therefore more important, BUT… often functions poorly A better interface needs: communication of information to those who need it, ask for it, or have the right to know understanding of end-users needs develop views on what the interface should be (not only on content but also on process and mechanism)

13 The ideal science-policy interface Open, two-way communication of facts and figures, methods of analysis, decision principles, outcomes and values between scientists, policy makers and stakeholders Exchange of reliable information is key to effective policy Good communication is essential (What info, which form, which mechanism?) Find workable solutions for: Correct framing of complex issues Uncertainty analyses (statistical, conceptual) New philosophies to cope more sensibly with (a variety of) risks

14 SPI report on problem framing

15 SPI report on coping sensibly with risk QRA and Cost-Efficiency Risk Weighing and Acceptance Stakeholder Participation and Consensus Weighing Precaution in Policy Domain

16 End-users needs as a basis in AIRNET reports and activities 1. Stakeholder survey identifying end-user needs (key/FAQ questions, information needs, WHAT INFORMATION) knowing how information needs to be presented (WHICH FORM) 2. Outcome taken as the main basis for structuring and focussing various Work Group Reports developing short answers to FAQs as an effective way to communicate answers need back-up from end-report content

17 The interface in AIRNETs deliverables 1. Work Groups end-reports (focus, FAQs, help of science journalists for improved readability) 2. Annual Conferences (science-policy-stakeholder interactions) 3. AIRNET Alert (web-based tool for disseminating non- specialist summaries of research papers) 4. AIRNET Newsletters (exchange of recent findings and highlights) 5. Internet website ( 6. Stakeholder Survey in Europe (end-user needs) 7. AIRNET Communication Strategy 8. National/local AIR-NETwork days across Europe (multi- stakeholder communication/interaction model)

18 How AIRNET tried to bridge the gap between science and policy Science -> <- Policy Makers and Stakeholders Challenges, experience, and lessons ?

19 AIRNET activities Developing involvement of stakeholders Actively participating in AIRNET work groups and end- reports Presentations on What stakeholders want at the 1 st Annual Conference (London 2002) Europe-wide stakeholder/end-user survey Interactive communication form at 3 rd Annual Conference (Prague 2004) AIR-NETwork days across Europe (NL, S, H, and ESP)

20 AIRNET activities European-wide stakeholder survey Questionnaire to find out what the needs of stakeholders and end-users are i.e. what information, FAQs, which form Survey population all stakeholders within AIRNET members of CAFE steering group members of EU parliament stakeholders from APHEIS Overall response rate was ~25%

21 There is a wealth of information and sources and it is in fact a challenge to keep up with the new information (Private sector stakeholder, Belgium) It is not so much that sources are unavailable to us, it is more that time is in short supply ( National government agency, UK)

22 AIRNET activities Outcome of EU-wide stakeholder survey 1. List of FAQs and important issues (what information) 2. Preferred information format (which form) integrative, short overviews interpreted for stakeholders summaries for informed but non-specialist audience 3. Expectations of AIRNET (which mechanism) information exchange and networking identify and consider stakeholder views policy support This outcome has focussed and structured further AIRNET activities !

23 AIRNET activities Five Work Group end-reports development of disciplinary state-of-the-art reports on air pollution and health (exposure, toxicology, epidemiology, health impact, and science-policy interface) written for an informed but non-specialist audience using input from EU stakeholder survey tailored to end-user needs with answers to FAQs involvement of science journalists use of non-specialist language Draft reports now available; finalized by end of 2004 Final integrative report for additional input to CAFE

24 AIRNET activities Developing a communication plan Hiring a communication agency Hiring science journalists Various communication-oriented activities

25 AIRNET activities AIRNET Alert - online database of non-specialist summaries of key scientific papers

26 AIRNET activities AIRNET NEWS - bi-annual newsletter

27 AIRNETs final activities Organisation of four national AIR-NETwork days, spring/summer 2004 Multi-stakeholder communication model now tested in four countries 3 rd AIRNET Annual Conference, Prague, October 2004 …aimed at model for communicating results and needs with stakeholders at (inter)national and local levels bringing together scientists, stakeholders, and policy-makers responsibility for interactive dialogue and communication transfer of knowledge and exchange of needs developing long-term relationships

28 AIR-NETwork days – communication model

29 AIRNET - lessons learned Organisation of an interface network... requires a lot of planning currently no recipe available on how to optimally run a interface network knowing WHAT you wish to achieve is not sufficient, you should also know HOW you wish to achieve it difficult to get all players actively involved (defining a task for each player may help, in AIRNET only the scientists have clear responsibilities) Interface works different at international, national, and local level

30 To what extent has AIRNET bridged the gap ? --> ?

31 AIRNET - lessons learned Science-policy-stakeholder interface... is interpreted differently by the different players is not naturally occurring does not work by itself requires lots of planning, and structure and energy (cf. AIR-NETwork days)

32 AIRNET - lessons learned Dissemination and communication of research findings in a non-specialist way... scientists found it hard to write in a concise and non- specialist way AIRNET provided guidelines and also contracted science journalists to help involvement of communication specialists is crucial (AIRNET has contracted a communication agency)

33 More information about AIRNET... htpp://

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