Democratizing environmental expertise: challenges and opportunities at the science-policy-society interface

Speaker: Esther Turnhout # Wageningen University

4th Mar 2019

15:30 - 17:00

CMB Staff Room (6th Floor)

The relation between science, society and policy is in flux with science being pulled in different directions. Calls for so-called evidence-based policy making suggest that the need for reliable scientific knowledge is greater than ever. At the same time, the authority of science is increasingly questioned in public knowledge controversies. And thirdly, there is an ongoing trend towards participatory modes of knowledge production. In this context, there is a need for institutions of environmental expertise to rethink their identity and role as well as their place in democratic societies. In this talk, I will use two examples to illustrate the various tensions that inevitably emerge at the interface between science, policy and society (whether in fundamental, applied or commissioned research). Drawing on a book manuscript that is planned for publication in March 2019 , I will use these examples to sketch out different options for making and justifying ethical choices in knowledge production and ensuring the democratic legitimacy of environmental expertise. 

Esther Turnhout is Professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.