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How do scientists’ perceive their role at the ocean science-policy interface?


Wednesday, 10th of December 2014; 13:00 to 14:00 hrs.

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville.
Murray Rudd, Environment Department, University of York, UK
Murray Rudd, Environment Department, University of York, UK

Abstract: Scientists’ ideas, beliefs, and discourses form the frames that shape their choices about which research to pursue, their approaches to collaboration and communicating results, and how they evaluate research outputs and outcomes. Using results from a survey of 2187 physical, ecological and social scientists engaged in ocean research, I quantified differences in scientists’ views on the appropriate level of engagement between scientists and policy-makers, and on the relative primacy of science versus politics in formulating ocean policy. In a latent class model, three clusters accounted for 94% of scientists surveyed. Geographic location was a particularly important predictor of frame membership. Scientists in the top three clusters showed substantial consistency in their top eight research priorities but strong differences overall in their focus on technical versus social- and governance-oriented research questions. The results from this survey demonstrated that: scientists’ beliefs, attitudes and discourse about the role of ocean science at the science-policy interface can be quantified with relatively simple survey questions; that scientists’ frames vary significantly; and that frames are useful for explaining research priorities. To achieve ocean sustainability requires engagement and collaboration between scientists and policy-makers; scientists’ willingness to engage depends on their current and evolving perspectives on the science-policy interface.

Biography: Dr. Murray Rudd is a Senior Lecturer at the University of York, where he coordinates the MSc program in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management. Murray’s formal training is in aquaculture and fisheries technology (a 2 yr technical diploma), agricultural economics (BSc, MSc from UBC), and environmental policy and economics (PhD from Wageningen); his dissertation combined institutional analysis and environmental economics to identify effective policies that supported Nassau grouper conservation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Murray worked as a senior economist (focusing primarily on aquatic species at risk) for Fisheries and Oceans Canada for 4 years prior to moving to academia, first as a Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics (Tier II) at Memorial University, and then to his current position at York. His research explores issues of when, where, and how to invest resources and craft policies to achieve ecological and socio-economic sustainability, enhance human well-being, and facilitate adaptation to environmental change. Much of his work is oriented towards the conservation of biological diversity in aquatic and marine realms. Over the last five years, he has also done substantial work on how scientific research can be prioritized and the pathways through which research has impact on conservation policy.


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