Synthesizing available knowledge
There is already a considerable amount of information available about biodiversity and ecosystem services via existing scientific studies and other sources of technical and local knowledge, which can be used to inform policy-making decisions. However, accessing and collating this information requires certain skills and resources and can be challenging, time-consuming and expensive. Also, due to the nature of the journal publishing process, not all scientific literature is freely available to the public, making access prohibitive to some societal actors.
A major objective of EKLIPSE therefore is to enable policy-makers and other societal actors to make use of existing studies by synthesising available knowledge as part of our request process. We do this by implementing a transdisciplinary approach to jointly identify key emerging issues and research priorities with scientific actors from different disciplines, actors from practice, policy and society across sectors and countries in Europe.
This way EKLIPSE can help to answer decision-makers’ questions about biodiversity and ecosystem services issues that require an in-depth collection, analysis and synthesis of existing knowledge from the scientific literature and other sources of knowledge, where needed. This process can also help decision-makers identify knowledge gaps and conceive future research projects.
EKLIPSE builds on the approach developed in the KNEU project. Facilitated by a Knowledge Coordination Body (KCB) and advised by a Strategic Advisory Board (see our governance structure), requests brought forward (from policy or other decision-makers) to the mechanism will be addressed with the following steps:
- Carry out a joint scoping by the KCB and the requester and potential experts
- Identify the knowledge needs and discuss suitable synthesis methods, costs and timeline
- A synthesis method is selected and a call for expertise is launched
- An ad-hoc working group carries out the work following an agreed protocol
- The KCB organised an extended peer-review of preliminary results
- A final report/product is developed based on the review and communicated to requesters and other stakeholders
Importantly, the requests and knowledge synthesis process can bring together stakeholders from different disciplines who may be working on similar topics, and help them to develop new collaborations or join existing networks, potentially streamlining and strengthening research and decision-making processes. Read more about our requests here.
All steps will be documented online via this website to allow for a high level of transparency (see also our ethical framework). Depending on the method chosen, this process might take between 8 and 16 months.
EKLIPSE differs significantly from other knowledge assessment processes due to the extensive involvement of stakeholders and in the flexibility of the approach to use different synthesis methods depending on the request posed and its context.
Throughout the project we will extract lessons learned via a formative evaluation and share them via capacity building activities for both researchers and policy makers.
On-going processes: Four knowledge synthesis processes are currently underway. Click on a link for a status report:
- How are European energy policies affecting biodiversity and ecosystem services in countries globally?
- Which types and components of urban and peri-urban blue/green spaces have a significant impact on human mental health and mental wellbeing?
- Understanding farmer uptake: what measures are most promising to deliver on supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services in the next round of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)?
- How can environmental regulators support businesses to improve the outcomes of their operations for biodiversity, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises in the food and beverage sector in Europe?
Finalised processes: The first synthesis process started in 2016 addressing the topic of nature-based solutions (NBS) and aims to improve the evidence-base: "Which criteria should be addressed in NBS demonstration projects to identify, detect and measure multiple benefits, disservices, trade-offs, synergies, and foreseen (but not yet demonstrated) impacts of NBS for climate resilience in urban ecosystems?". The request was put forward by DG RTD, and aimed to inform future NBS-related projects in Horizon2020. You can find further information on the request under 'past activities'.
What's in it for me:
As a policy maker (or other decision maker),you may consider using the mechanism to make a request for detailed syntheses of the available knowledge on a relevant topic of your choice - or simply access to existing synthesis. This can be done by responding to our Calls for Requests (see here for previous examples). Please read our guidance notes about the request process and see examples of requests.
Researchers from a broad set of disciplines from natural and social sciences can contribute actively to the synthesis processes by providing their thematic and/or methodological expertise. Especially for conducting specific synthesis methods (e.g., Delphi assessments, systematic reviews) teams of experts might be used (and supported) to conduct specific steps of an assessment. This can be done by responding to Calls for Knowledge or Calls for Experts (click on links for previous examples).
Depending on questions addressed and methods used, other knowledge holders (especially practitioners) can get involved as well.
You would gain experiences in the methods applied, improve your network on the European scale, and you would be acknowledged for your contribution.
As a stakeholder, you can participate in the scoping phase, contribute your knowledge and be active in the review process ("extended peer-review").
To learn more about how to get involved please read our requests page, join the EKLIPSE expert network and look at Open calls or propose a question. You can also read our guidance notes about different elements of the EKLIPSE mechanism.