, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 97–105 | Cite as

Researchers must be aware of their roles at the interface of ecosystem services science and policy

  • Emilie CrouzatEmail author
  • Isabelle Arpin
  • Lucas Brunet
  • Matthew J. Colloff
  • Francis Turkelboom
  • Sandra Lavorel


Scientists working on ecosystem service (ES) science are engaged in a mission-driven discipline. They can contribute to science-policy interfaces where knowledge is co-produced and used. How scientists engage with the governance arena to mobilise their knowledge remains a matter of personal choice, influenced by individual values. ES science cannot be considered neutral and a discussion of the values that shape it forms an important part of the sustainability dialogue. We propose a simple decision tree to help ES scientists identify their role and the purpose of the knowledge they produce. We characterise six idealised scientific postures spanning possible roles at the science-policy interface (pure scientist, science arbiter—guarantor, issue advocate—guardian, officer, honest broker and stealth issue advocate) and illustrate them with feedbacks from interviews. We encourage ES scientists to conduct a reflexive exploration of their attitudes regarding knowledge production and use, with the intention of progressing toward a higher recognition of the political and ethical importance of ES assessments.


Ecosystem services Mission-driven discipline Science-policy interface Scientific postures Scientific reflexivity 



This work was funded by ERAnet BiodivERsA project CONNECT, with support from the French Agence Nationale pour la Recherche, and by the project OPERAs FP7-ENV-2012-two-stage-308393.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 45 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine (LECA), UMR 5553, CNRSUniversité Grenoble AlpesGrenoble Cedex 9France
  2. 2.Université Grenoble Alpes, IrsteaGrenobleFrance
  3. 3.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.Research Group Nature & SocietyResearch Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)BrusselsBelgium

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