The Science-Policy Liaison Directorate (SPLD) was created to advance the IAI’s mandate for science and capacity building in aid of informed decision making by:
– strengthening the relevance, legitimacy and credibility of the IAI’s science to public and private sector, and civil society policy-makers.
– developing processes of communication and inter-institutional cooperation for two-way science policy linkages and for monitoring the relationship between research results and outcomes
Following the mandate of the tripartite agreement, the SPLD developed its activities in collaboration with its host, the Argentine Ministry for Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCYT), and other political institutions. Together with the IAI’s science and capacity building programs, the Directorate has analyzed technical reports, scientific publications, collaborative and outreach processes.
SPLD activities were developed by interns, students, and academics who developed tools for the statistical and network analysis of the IAI science program, measuring connectivities and its impacts in non-academic partner institutions on the continent. This information provides the first quantitative-qualitative assessment of the effectiveness of the science program in improving the region’s capacity to face global change. Scientific production, networking between researchers and with non-academic institutions, and information flows were assessed using articles referenced in project reports, web-based questionnaires and phone interviews. Project visits were limited to those close to the DEC&P in Uruguay and Buenos Aires Province for budget reasons.
Activities supported by MINCYT have helped the SPLD link to political and scientific processes such as the Ministry’s program for “Science, technology and innovation for sustainable development” (CITIDES).
The SPLD, with the programmatic and financial participation of the Province of Buenos Aires, organized a workshop with several of the current Collaborative Research Networks. Network results were synthesized in a dialogue between lead scientists and politicians from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The participation of the IAI Science-Policy Advisory Committee, regional universities, and officials from local and regional governments generated a broad impact and an expectation of further workshops and collaborations that can address concrete challenges such coastal and landscape management to minimize risk of environmental degradation and disasters.
Activities with UNESCO, AAAS, IPCC and UNFCCC provided opportunities to develop Science-Policy linkages for IAI projects, but also to design a conceptual framework for the implementation of Science-Policy linkages in the context of Global Change. In collaboration with the Regional Science Office of UNESCO, the SPLD analyzed topics of Global Change that were identified as important by decision-makers from national, provincial and local governments, NGOs and scientists in the region. During the preparations for a pre-COP event in Morocco with the aim to support international networks of think tanks, the SPLD reached out to IAI scientists in institutions in Chile, Brazil and Argentina. The network is now being consolidated by participating think tanks.
To measure the impact of funded science is a task that many funding agencies find difficult. The SPLD established a professional team which identified impact indicators for the science-policy outreach mandate of the Institute. It analyzed the IAI’s funded scientific networks, their scientific production and their interactions with institutions that use the knowledge in the region.
The development of regional research capacities is shown by the level of coproduction of scientific papers.
Figure 3. Ranking of publication coproduction. Elaborated by SPLD based on 1,113 publications out of a total of 1,468. Country ranking reflects the number of coproduction links in publications (by relational network analysis of the coproduction matrix). The color scale corresponds to the number of coproduced publications between authors from different countries. Intra and interregional linkage of countries was measured through the co-autorshop in indexed publications.
The coproduction in IAI networks has linked scientists across member countries, and also includes smaller non-member countries on the continent.
Figure 4. Network of links between countries establish through project researchers. Elaborated by SPLD from a database of 1,391 researchers and scholars in IAI programs: shows high impact of IAI projects on the formation of scientific networks in America, with reach to member and non-member countries.
These collaborations were built by projects conducted, and sometimes co-designed with different kinds of institutions.
Such links to non-academic institutions provide opportunities for knowledge application and decision making.
Sub-regional collaborations have assumed a particular importance since they involve local and provincial/state institutions engaged in environmental management and adaptation, which use the knowledge generated in their policy implementation.
The quantification of regional collaboration links confirms that strategic axes in and between regions have developed for an inter-institutional scientific collaboration, with relevance to governmental institutions.
These collaborations are commonly mutual and reciprocal, providing opportunities for consolidating the networks beyond the IAI funding though ongoing activities such as: counseling, training, data management, methodology development and application, policy-protocols, technology transfer, education, finance, Logistics and Bridging forums – which connects different types of people and groups without previous linkages-.