A recent review of the use of economic valuation for decision-making also highlighted this very problem: without potential research uses being made explicit or contextualised, the tools offered to decision-makers may not match their expectations or needs (Laurance et al. 2012). The fact that questions are often not framed by science and policy jointly is in part due to the way in which funding agencies currently work.
It is unusual for research questions to be framed jointly with the potential users of that research. However, some initiatives, such as the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS), have been operating in this way. EPBRS used a range of methods to frame research priorities. The usual process has involved, as a first step, an e-conference open to all, focussing on a specific topic, usually an emerging CHIR98014 and/or pressing issue related to biodiversity. Such e-conferences included keynote contributions, see more usually from scientists, but also from a range of policy-makers and other stakeholders who could contribute their specific needs to the debate. The results of the e-conferences have then been compiled and communicated at EPBRS plenary meetings, attended by policy-makers and scientists (usually working on the
topic that was the theme of the e-conference and plenary) from each EU Member State. Discussing research and policy issues together has often led to the identification of potential points of connection, and common shared problems, such as policy “problems” that required a new approach.
The outputs of the plenary meeting have been lists of research recommendations, jointly framed by policy and science, which could then be fed into EU and national level funding mechanisms. Processes such as the EPBRS, that encourage the framing of problems or questions jointly with producers and users of research, could be used as an example for why funding agencies wanting to move beyond silos in science and policy and DNA Damage inhibitor delivering research outputs matching policy expectations and needs. Funding should be focused on cross-cutting issues and could be fostered through mechanisms that require groups that would not normally come together to do so, e.g. EU research programmes, multi-funder thematic programmes and, potentially, the research that will be triggered by the IPBES. Policy mainstreaming should also be encouraged, for example by seeking and promoting governmental mandates for various policy sectors to take biodiversity and ecosystem services into account, and also through “multi-domain” working groups that include both scientists and policy makers from various fields and sectors.