Our approach

The scientific community has a key role to play in addressing contemporary global challenges. Not only can scientists help better diagnose complex problems and address existing knowledge gaps; they also provide rigorous methodologies, tools and even technologies to support evidence-based policy formulation and implementation.

Science for Global Impact, Geneva Science Policy Interface

Engaging the scientific community in producing evidence and supporting decisions at the pace and scale where change needs to happen is critical, but not straightforward. Funding schemes and operational timeframes; concepts and approaches; mindsets and behaviours; methods and perspectives from the policy, implementation and scientific communities do not automatically align unless specific engagement mechanisms and incentives are put in place.

In that context, science-policy interfaces and boundary organisations have become legitimate models of engagement that can be engineered to cultivate a more dynamic relationship between science and policy.

International Geneva is a key location to test and improve collaborative models of this kind. The exceptional density of global governance stakeholders forms a unique ecosystem which enables the cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches, across a variety of fields: humanitarian action, human rights, migration, environment, sustainability, climate change, global health, peace, security, disarmament, education, and technological governance.

United Nations Organisation, Geneva Science Policy Interface

Our approach

Our main role is to create opportunities for, and support the design and implementation of impactful collaboration that contribute to evidence-based policymaking within the Geneva ecosystem. We support boundary spanners across the policy, implementation and scientific communities who strive to coalesce for specific purposes or to build sustainable and long-term partnerships.

We ground our action in the following principles :

Impact potential

We support initiatives which are important and urgent, with clear marginal value, scaling and sustainable potential, that are feasible and that are led by partners who are fit to bring about results.

Science-policy interaction excellence

We value initiatives that address policy needs in a timely manner, rely on or produce rigorous scientific knowledge and deliver actionable outputs.

Collaboration instead of one-way knowledge transfer

We promote collaborative initiatives that go beyond the linear model of science-policy interaction and contribute to the long-term cross-fertilization of science and policy actions and outcomes.

Learning value

We favor initiatives that contribute to advance the epistemic and practical understanding of science-policy interface challenges and solutions as a field of practice and study.

Science includes both natural and social sciences

We define science as the systematic investigation of reality, which applies to all phenomena, whether they are ‘natural’ or ‘social’.

Evidence-based approach to science-policy interfacing and boundary-spanning

We draw from scientific literature on science-policy collaboration dynamics to form our opinions. We focus on trialling and generating learnings through hands-on projects and activities to refine our strategy over time. We collect data to understand Geneva’s science-policy landscape better.

We seek synergies and complementarities

We work in synergies with the multiple actors, in Geneva and beyond, that carry out activities related to the field of science-policy interfacing.