This paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences evaluates current stakeholder involvement (SI) practices in science through a web-based survey among scholars and researchers engaged in sustainability or transition research. It substantiates previous conceptual work with evidence from practice by building on four ideal types of SI in science. The results give an interesting overview of the varied landscape of SI in sustainability science, ranging from the kinds of topics scientists work on with stakeholders, over scientific trade-offs that arise in the field, to improvements scientists wish for. Furthermore, the authors describe a discrepancy between scientists’ ideals and practices when working with stakeholders. On the conceptual level, the data reflect that the democratic type of SI is the predominant one concerning questions on the understanding of science, the main goal, the stage of involvement in the research process, and the science–policy interface. The fact that respondents expressed agreement to several types shows they are guided by multiple and partly conflicting ideals when working with stakeholders. We thus conclude that more conceptual exchange between practitioners, as well as more qualitative research on the concepts behind practices, is needed to better understand the stakeholder–scientist nexus.
Weblink to the paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/11/20/1706085114.short