Knowledge and information needs of adaptation policy-makers: A European study

Susanne Hanger*, Stefan Pfenninger, Magali Dreyfus, Anthony Patt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Across Europe, national governments have started to strategically plan adaptation to climate change. Making adaptation decisions is difficult in the light of uncertainties and the complexity of adaptation problems. Already large amounts of research results on climate impacts and adaptive measures are available, and more are produced and need to be mediated across the boundary between science and policy. Both researchers and policy-makers have started to intensify efforts to coproduce knowledge that is valuable to both communities, particularly in the context of climate change adaptation. In this paper, we present results from a study of adaptation governance and information needs, comparing eight European countries. We identify sources and means for the retrieval of information as well as gaps and problems with the knowledge provided by scientists and analyzed whether these appear to be contingent on the point in the policy-making cycle where countries are. We find that in this early phase of adaptation planning, the quality of the definition of needs, the way uncertainty is dealt with, and the quality of science-policy interaction are indeed contingent on the stage of adaptation planning, while information needs and sources are not. We conclude that a well-developed science-policy interface is of key importance for effective decision-making for adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Boundary organization
  • Europe
  • Policy cycle
  • Public policy
  • Science-policy interface


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