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EVOLvINC: EValuating knOwLedge INtegration Capacity in multistakeholder governance

Martin Hitziger, Section of Epidemiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Maurizio Aragrande, Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
John A. Berezowski, Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Liebefeld, Switzerland
Massimo Canali, Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Victor Del Rio Vilas, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK; The Centre on Global Health Security, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London, UK
Sabine Hoffmann, Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland
Gilberto Igrejas, Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal; Functional Genomics and Proteomics Unit, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal; Associated Laboratory for Green Chemistry (LAQV-REQUIMTE), University NOVA of Lisbon, Caparica, Portugal
Hans Keune, Belgian Biodiversity Platform - Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO); Department for Interdisciplinary and Primary Care Antwerp (ELIZA) - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Antwerp
Alexandra Lux, Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE), Frankfurt, Germany; Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Frankfurt, Germany
Mieghan Bruce, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Australia
Markus A Palenberg, Institute for Development Strategy, Munich, Germany
Christian Pohl, Transdisciplinarity Lab USYS TdLab, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich
Miroslav Radeski, Department for Animal Hygiene and Environmental Protection, Animal Welfare Center, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Skopje, University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje, Macedonia
Ina Richter, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany
Carmenza Robledo Abad, Transdisciplinarity Lab USYS TdLab, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich
Robert H Salerno, Technical Advisor, USAID - Preparedness and Response, DAI Global Health; Director, Health Security, DAI Global Health
Sara Savic, Scientific veterinary institute "Novi Sad", Novi Sad, Serbia
Janina Schirmer, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany
Barbara R. Vogler, Department of Poultry and Rabbit Diseases, Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Simon R. Rüegg, Section of Epidemiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-10935-240236

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Abstract

Research and policy processes in many fields, such as sustainability and health, are increasingly relying on transdisciplinary cooperation among a multitude of governmental, nongovernmental, and private actors from local to global levels. In the absence of hierarchical chains of command, multistakeholder governance may accommodate conflicting or diverse interests and facilitate collective action, but its effectiveness depends on its capacity to integrate systems, transformation, and target knowledge. Approaches to foster such governance are nascent and quickly evolving, and methodological standards to facilitate comparison and learning from best practice are needed. However, there is currently no evaluation approach that (i) comprehensively assesses the capacity for knowledge integration in multistakeholder governance, (ii) draws on the best available knowledge that is being developed in various fields, and (iii) combines a systematic and transferable methodological design with pragmatic feasibility.



We brought together 20 experts from institutions in nine countries, all working on evaluation approaches for collaborative science–policy initiatives. In a synthesis process that included a 2-day workshop and follow-up work among a core group of participants, we developed a tool for evaluating knowledge integration capacity in multistakeholder governance (EVOLvINC). Its 23 indicators incorporate previously defined criteria and components of transdisciplinary evaluations into a single, comprehensive framework that operationalizes the capacity for integrating systems, target, and transformation knowledge during an initiative’s (a) design and planning processes at the policy formulation stage, (b) organization and working processes at the implementation stage, and (c) sharing and learning processes at the evaluation stage of the policy cycle. EVOLvINC is (i) implemented through a questionnaire, (ii) builds on established indicators where possible, (iii) offers a consistent and transparent semiquantitative scoring and aggregation algorithm, and (iv) uses spider diagrams for visualizing results. The tool builds on experience and expertise from both the northern and southern hemispheres and was empirically validated with seven science–policy initiatives in six African and Asian countries.



As a generalized framework, EVOLvINC thus enables a structured reflection on the capacity of multistakeholder governance processes to foster knowledge integration. Its emphasis on dialog and exploration allows adaptation to contextual specificities, highlights relative strengths and weaknesses, and suggests avenues for shaping multistakeholder governance toward mutual learning, capacity building, and strengthened networks. The validation suggests that the adaptive capacity of multistakeholder governance could be best enhanced by considering systems characteristics at the policy formulation stage and fostering adaptive and generic learning at the evaluation stage of the policy cycle.

Key words

Knowledge integration; process evaluation; multistakeholder governance; policy cycle; transdisciplinarity

Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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