Chapter 6: Administrative roles in environmental governance research: scientists incorporating policy makers

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Policy makers and scientists play critical roles in environmental governance. Partnerships between these two groups have been identified as offering beneficial solutions to environmental management problems, yet these groups often talk past each other. This is an important issue because transdisciplinary research groups must incorporate policy actors to create greater change. This chapter looks at the intersection between complex environmental problems, policymakers, scientists and solutions. The term “policymakers” is defined and interactions between researchers and policy actors are showcased within the framework of the Clean Water Act. Barriers to effective research teamwork that includes policy makers and scientists, including professional, institutional and political barriers, are discussed to help gain an understanding of why collaborations between policy makers and scientists sometimes fail, but also how they can succeed. A key element of successful collaboration between policy makers and scientists is engagement, specifically early engagement, which can overcome organizational constraints and increase trust between group members.

Publisher's Statement

© Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Chelsea Schelly, Robert M. Handler, Erin C. Pischke and Jessie L. Knowlton 2019. Publisher's version of record:

Publication Title

A Research Agenda for Environmental Management