The interface of policy research and the policy development process: challenges posed to the forestry community

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Researchers are increasingly being forced to consider how their research findings can result in tangible impacts thereby presenting a considerable challenge to those seeking to achieve those impacts as a consequence of policy changes. The policy change process is subject to a bewildering array of social, economic and political influences, and policy decisions are taken largely independently from the actions of scientists and research institutes. The link between research and policy is often diffuse, and direct linkages between research and policychange are rare. To simply assume that conducting research on policies relating to forests and disseminating the findings will lead to changes in the policies themselves is unrealistically naive and grossly overestimates the role of knowledge acquisition in policy change processes. A role exists nevertheless. This paper examines theories and concepts that describe research's influence on policy, links these with literature and empirical findings on diffusion of innovations and technology transfer and concludes by presenting proven strategies to enhance the uptake and use of research generally and particularly inpolicyprocesses.

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