Contest for best policy-briefs on environmental sciences

07 March 2012 | News story

CEC member Barbara Livoreil announces an exhibition and contest of policy-briefs at ECCB2012, the third European Congress of Conservation Biology. Glasgow, Scotland, August 2012.

Effective communication of sound scientific results to decision and policy-makers is of upmost interest in a world where so many environmental challenges require fast yet reliable communication. If you have ever tried to write a “comprehensive abstract” of the findings, basic methodology and recommendations of a research paper with no jargon, all useful information for the reader and all this in less than 2 A4 pages, you may have noticed how complex it can be, and how your communication skills are challenged. This initiative aims to encourage conservation biologists to try the exercise. It also offers to display professional briefs to raise awareness of their diversity in topic, format, goals.

A Brief (at least in this event) is thus a very concise version of an already published scientific paper (including a review). A policy-brief targets readers outside the academic realm such as policy-and decision-makers (in which case it is called a Policy brief) who have little time to read and need straight-to-the-point, although precise and comprehensive information on a topic. A policy-brief must accurately reflect the science presented in the original published research paper in an extremely concise way, and in a language understandable by its target audience, and often includes recommendation to decision-makers. Similarly “Research briefs” or “Management briefs” specifically provide recommendations for future research (or methodologies) or management practises and methods. More details are available here >>

  • The exhibition and contest of briefs is a innovation and it will take place during the 3rd Congress for Conservation Biology ECCB2012, Aug 28-Sept1, 2012, with the ceremony for the award(s) on August 31st.

We have already received a lot of expressions of interest, as well as pre-registrations. You can simply exhibit a brief, or sponsor a prize and join the Jury. Running for the contest gives a chance to get feedbacks from great professionals and the publication in a scientific journal. At this date, we are seriously considering multiplying prizes. Originally one was intended for students and low-income participants, but a lot of professionals are interested and a special prize should be allocated to them.

The event will not stand by itself and already, comforted by the support of so many feedbacks, we are planning to develop more events and outcomes from this experience. The British Ecological Society is providing a strong support, Alter-NET and UNESCO have sent expressions of interest and we hope to see more join the initiative.