Building an evidence base for stakeholder engagement

10 August 2018  Vol 361, Issue 6402

Building an evidence base for stakeholder engagement
James V. Lavery
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Science  10 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6402, pp. 554-556
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat8429
Science is a social enterprise. Many scientific programs interact with a wide range of communities and stakeholders to secure various types of access and permission, to seek cooperation and collaboration for scientific studies, to fulfill regulatory and ethical requirements, and to try to shape research strategies and to improve the translation of their findings into policy or practice. But these interactions are motivated disproportionately by the interests and goals of the scientific programs and less by the need to elicit and understand their implications for stakeholders. However, there is increasing recognition that substantive community and stakeholder engagement (CSE) can improve the performance, and even make or break the success, of some science programs by providing a means of navigating, and responding to, the complex social, economic, cultural, and political settings in which science programs are conducted. For CSE to become more widely accepted by funders and researchers, and to contribute more conspicuously to the success of science programs and policy, it will have to establish a more coherent and convincing body of evidence about the nature of CSE strategies and their specific contributions to the performance of science programs.