Challenge of Integrating Natural and Social Sciences to Better Inform Decisions: A Novel Proposal Review Process

Journal Article Resource
November 2011


Many reports have called for changes to how science funding agencies support research efforts so that more knowledge is linked with decisions. However, few of these reports have delved into the messy details of how to actualize this goal. The purpose of this chapter is to focus in on one example of a funding organization attempting to better bridge the gap between science and action. The mechanisms for making these connections are discussed in detail, as are the views of various people involved in the proposal review process: program managers, peer reviewers and panelists. Several lessons emerge from this qualitative research. Perhaps the most important lesson is that bridging activities require the same level of focus and expertise that is given to the generation of new knowledge about natural systems. This requires a change in how resources are allocated and it also requires the involvement of a class of professionals that have, to a significant degree, been excluded from many environmental research endeavors. This lesson and others have important implications for scientists seeking to solve problems as well as for research program managers and the higher echelon managers of science agencies who make decisions about how resources are allocated.

About this resource

This chapter appears in the 2011 publication Restoring Lands - Coordinating Science, Politics and Action. The purpose of the chapter is to discuss, in detail, the mechanisms for making connections between science and action, with an eye toward lessons learned.


Matso, K. E. (2012). Challenge of integrating natural and social sciences to better inform decisions: A novel proposal review process. Restoring Lands - Coordinating Science, Politics and Action: Complexities of Climate and Governance9789400725, 129–160.