Synthesizing available knowledge

Main objective: to answer questions from decision-makers on biodiversity and ecosystem services issues that require an in-depth collection, analysis and synthesis of existing knowledge - from science and where needed other sources of knowledge.

Approach: The approach EKLIPSE will follow is based on the process developed in the KNEU project. Facilitated by a Knowledge Coordination Body (KCB) and advised by a Strategic Advisory Board (see governance framework ), requests brought forward (from policy or other decision-makers) to the mechanism will be addressed with the following steps (see figure):

  • 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

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.


Watch our short video about the process of answering a request. 

Figure: the steps of the EKLIPSE knowledge synthesis process

Some major differences to other knowledge assessment processes already available lie in 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: Three processes are currently being scoped. The Documents of Work have been agreed with the requesters, and calls for knowledge are open until 18th April 2017 - please visit our open calls page. The knowledge synthesis processes being scoped address the following questions, put by policy requesters at our last call for requests:

  • Which types of urban and peri-urban natural spaces (blue and green) and which characteristics (components) of such spaces have a significant impact on human mental health and well-being?
  • What are the effects of CAP greening measures on biodiversity and related ecosystem services?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of existing approaches that environmental regulators can use to enhance environmental sustainability and improve outcomes for biodiversity of small and medium-sized enterprises in the food and drink sector of Europe?

Finalised processes: The first synthesis process started in 2016 addressing the topic of nature-based solutions (NBS) and aims at improving its 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 at informing future NBS-related projects in Horizon2020. You can find further information on the request under 'finished 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. A form to pose requests will be available in summer 2016.

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. 

Depending on questions addressed and methods used, other knowledge holders (esp. from practice) can get involved as well.

You would gain experiences in the methods applied, improve your network on the European scale, and you would get acknowledged for your contribution.

As a stakeholder, you can get engaged e.g., in the scoping, contribute your knowledge and be active in the review process ("extended peer-review").

To learn more about how to get involved please see join the EKLIPSE expert network and look at open calls  or propose a question.