Policy learning in EU Member States
The role of science in policy-making is different on European and national levels. At the European level, in the course of one project, we have experimented with bringing together scientists and policy-makers in one room, assuming the policy-makers will have questions that the researchers will have answers to. Any policy decision requires reaching out to ministries, social partners and NGOs to secure their support and make sure the policy decision is adopted. Policy decisions thus are a result of political compromise more than scientific evidence. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the environmental policy scene was different and followed the Anglo-Saxon and Dutch tradition of using a strong scientific evidence base. The European Sustainable Development Network is an informal network of policy-makers and other experts, mainly researchers, with a focus on sustainable development strategies and policies in Europe. The source of funding for research organizations is important to policy-makers when they ask them for scientific advice.