Three requirements for increasing the policy impact of ESAVs have been identified across diverse cases:
Balance the trio of credibility, legitimacy and relevance: These key principles for scientific policy advice should guide the assessment design and the process management of an ESAV. However, there are tensions among them which merit attention.
Close the loop between ESAV and policy: The assessment process needs to be linked in with public policy-making. Numbers do rarely speak for themselves, and without adequate interaction, ESAV results will likely be ignored, or - worse - misunderstood.
Tailor ESAV to its practical purpose: Many different approaches and methods are available, and technical aspects are insufficient for identifying the most appropriate study design. To be effective, ESAVs have to fit their purpose.
This report is based on a review of past assessments and builds on the authors' practical experience. It examines these requirements and explores the options for practitioners to respond to them.