SHOWCASE member discusses transparent science-policy communication in conservation ecology

28 May 2024

SHOWCASE project member Dr. Ignasi Bartomeus, representing the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), recently published a blog post in the EcoMandanga Blog - a popular Spanish outlet for ecology-related news. He explores the inherent link between science and policy, urging scientists to recognise this connection and improve their transparency in communication to ensure their research effectively impacts public debates.

Ignasi asserts that political context may influence every scientist's worldview, and that research funding often determines the choice of research hypotheses scientists choose to test. Ignasi argues that ignoring the political nature of science can lead to unconscious biases in research and misinterpretation of results by non-research actors. In his opinion, this circumstance leads to a necessity for scientists to be able to  discuss the implications of their findings in broader social and political contexts. He points out his field of study - conservation ecology - as a particular example of this idea, arguing that objectives like biodiversity preservation arise from personal and collective beliefs rather than neutral stances.

Ignasi acknowledges that recognising the political nature of science leads to certain risks, such as the possibility for scientists to start manipulating their messages and lose credibility. However, he believes that maintaining research integrity and transparency, along with clearly explaining the evidence and its implications at various levels, allows for distinguishing between scientific evidence and personal interpretation. Ignasi advocates that in the case where it is necessary for scientists to engage in social debate, using a narrative approach similar to that employed in marketing, builds bridges between researchers and non-research stakeholders, aiding them to build trust and effectively communicate their findings.

To illustrate this approach, Ignasi provides a personal example of communicating about wild bee conservation. By starting with personal motivation, sharing values, presenting unbiased data and using local success stories, he builds trust and effectively conveys the message of research results. This strategy ensures that the scientific evidence his team provides is relevant and influential in public debates, emphasising the importance of scientists actively participating in these discussions to defend their results and ensure their research has a meaningful impact.

Read Dr. Ignasi Bartomeus’ full blog post here

Image: Keywords most related to Dr. Ignasi Bartomeus’ blog post provided by EcoMandanga Blog