Knowledge synthesis


The knowledge synthesis request process often involves several steps and various groups from within the EKLIPSE Community.

Watch our short video about the process of answering a request


Figure: the steps of the EKLIPSE knowledge synthesis process


Various aspects of the EKLIPSE mechanism and members of the EKLIPSE Community are involved in answering a request: 

  1. The request process starts with an Open Call to decision-makers and policy-makers across the EU to put forward a Call for Requests. A request can be a question like ‘what is the current knowledge on a particular issue?’ 

    Our Knowledge Coordination Body (KCB) then pre-screens and selects the potential requests supported by our Strategic Advisory Board (SAB). 
  2. The KCB liaises with the requester during a scoping phase to refine the question and identify how EKLIPSE could give added value in terms of what they need. This usually involves sending out a public Call for Knowledge (see some previous examples here) via our Open Calls, the KNOCK Forum, our Network of Networks and to wider stakeholders who have knowledge in a particular area of expertise. Knowledge holders post comments on the KNOCK Forum telling us about any existing publications, projects or reviews on the topic to avoid duplicating any existing studies. 

    The scoping phase needs to ensure the policy and societal relevance of the request at the European level while taking into account the general needs of the requester, including resources available and timeframe.
  3. If after the scoping phase the KCB agrees that EKLIPSE will progress on the request:

    a) The KCB works with the requester to develop a Description of Work (DoW). This captures the essence of the request: why the request is being put forward and what the requester wants from the process as well as highlighting the EU policy relevance of the request. 

    b) Once the DoW is agreed we put out a public Call for Experts (see previous examples here) on the requester’s topic. This Call for Experts is promoted on our KNOCK Forum, the Open Calls page and is sent out to our Network of Networks

    The KCB conducts a selection process to make sure the best people from different sectors, different disciplines and different parts of the EU can all contribute their expertise. Then we set up an Expert Working Group (EWG) which will work to all the guidelines agreed in the description of work. 

    c) The EWG develops a protocol of methods and approach which describes exactly how they will answer the request. The protocol goes through an extended peer review process which involves an open consultation with the public and all the knowledge holders of that particular topic (see a previous example here). 

    d) Next the EWG synthesises all the current knowledge and produces a final output, (e.g. a report). Then a peer-review is conducted on the knowledge synthesis to make sure the output is robust and credible.
  4. The end product is then given to the requester and finally, it is widely disseminated and made publicly available to all via our Outputs page.


Advantages of the EKLIPSE request process

  • The EKLIPSE approach responds directly to policy and other societal actors' knowledge needs through regular Calls for Requests
  • The EKLIPSE approach builds on existing knowledge and links requests for knowledge to the most relevant knowledge holders through Calls for Experts
  • The EKLIPSE approach frames questions directly with requesters to better understand what knowledge they need, for what purposes, in what timescale and with which resources
  • EKLIPSE includes a Methods Expert Group, who have identified 21 knowledge synthesis methods, and can suggest the most relevant methods to match requesters' needs


  • The EKLIPSE request process is confined to the EKLIPSE code of ethics during the whole procedure. The EKLIPSE’s codes of ethic have stablished measures and instruments to guarantee the credibility, relevance and legitimacy of the process. As an example of measures, all the members involved during the request process are selected transparently according to our guidance notes, and a Declaration of Conflict of Interest has to be signed by our EWG members. For more information on our ethical framework go here.


Assessment of effectiveness of the product/item: 
The assessments, reports and other outputs produced through the EKLIPSE approach are likely to have strong policy and societal impact as they are answering these actors' needs directly. 

EKLIPSE carries out a follow-up on each request’s products to identify how these products are being used and the impact that we are having in the policy, scientific and society spheres.


Our first request

Our first request came from the European Commission DG Research and Innovation to develop an assessment framework to evaluate the multiple benefits, disservices, trade-offs and synergies of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). The main purpose of the request was to apply this framework to H2020-funded NBS demonstration projects for increasing urban resilience to climate change.

The resulting Call for Experts (No.1/2016) closed on June 17th 2016 and was hugely successful, with 117 applications being received and 15 experts being selected to form the EKLIPSE Expert Working Group on Nature‐based Solutions to Promote Climate Resilience in Urban Areas. Read more about the selection process here.

The Expert Working Group on NBS, as it became known, developed a peer-reviewed method protocol in October 2016. The outputs from this project include a final report and a peer-reviewed article which were published in 2017, and a briefing from the European Parliamentary Research Service.  


Other activities relating to the NBS request

Social Innovation and Nature-based Solutions

In December 2016, EKLIPSE, EPBRS and BiodivERsA jointly organised a participatory foresight workshop in Brussels to discuss research needed to face future societal challenges and emerging issues. The workshop resulted in a presentationmain report with annexes, and a policy brief summarising key recommendations for science policy on NBS and social innovation.