Knowledge management for policy impact: the case of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre

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The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) employs over 2000 scientists and seeks to maximise the value and impact of research in the EU policy process. To that end, its Knowledge management for policy (KMP) initiative synthesised the insights of a large amount of interdisciplinary work on the ‘evidence-policy interface’ to promote a new skills and training agenda. It developed this training initially for Commission staff, but many of its insights are relevant to organisations which try to combine research, policymaking, management, and communication skills to improve the value and use of research in policy. We recommend that such organisations should develop teams of researchers, policymakers, and ‘knowledge brokers’ to produce eight key practices: (1) research synthesis, to generate ‘state of the art’ knowledge on a policy problem; (2) management of expert communities, to maximise collaboration; (3) understanding policymaking, to know when and how to present evidence; (4) interpersonal skills, to focus on relationships and interaction; (5) engagement, to include citizens and stakeholders; (6) effective communication of knowledge; (7) monitoring and evaluation, to identify the impact of evidence on policy; and (8) policy advice, to know how to present knowledge effectively and ethically. No one possesses all skills relevant to all these practices. Rather, we recommend that organisations at the evidence-policy interface produce teams of people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and complementary skills.




Topp, L., Mair, D., Smillie, L., & Cairney, P. (2018). Knowledge management for policy impact: the case of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. Palgrave Communications, 4(1).

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