21 October 2016

Science to policy in the Arctic Council

Options Magazine Winter 2016: As the first YSSP participant of the Arctic Futures Initiative, Malgorzata Smieszek worked on ways to bring science closer to decision making in the Arctic Council.

The Arctic is complex. Not only in terms of the environment, but also when it comes to science‑based policy making. Scientific research has been conducted on the Arctic for decades, but “translating science into practice is still a huge challenge—on all possible levels,” says Malgorzata Smieszek, YSSP’16 participant.

Smieszek’s PhD focuses on the interactions between scientists and policymakers, with the aim of enhancing evidence‑based decision making in the Arctic Council. “Scientists and policymakers have their own, very different, universes— with their own stories, goals, timelines, working methods, and standards. It is better than in the past, but still extremely difficult to make these two universes meet.”

As part of the Arctic Futures Initiative at IIASA, Smieszek mapped the structural organization of the Arctic Council, aiming to determine the effectiveness of interactions between scientists and policymakers, as well as ways to improve the flow of knowledge and information between them.

“To me, trying to bridge science and policy is a truly fascinating endeavor,” she says. “Exploring these two worlds, seeking to understand them and learning their ‘languages’ to enable bet ter communication between them is what drives me in my research. So hopefully we can learn from past mistakes and make things better this time.”

Text by Anneke Brand

Print this page

Last edited: 24 August 2017


Tanja Huber

YSSP Coordinator & Team Leader

Young Scientists Summer Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 344


The land of the midnight sun: Science to policy in the Arctic Council

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313