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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Page | Last updated: 15 Jul 2022

About Knowledge4Policy

Knowledge4Policy (K4P) supports evidence-based policymaking: bridging the world of policymakers — who ideally develop public policy based on sound scientific evidence — and the scientists who develop that evidence in the first place.

The EU Commission's Knowledge4Policy (K4P) platform supports evidence-based policymaking: bridging the world of policymakers — who ideally develop public policy based on sound scientific evidence — and the scientists who develop that evidence in the first place.

(last update: April 2022) K4P is not limited to the Commission’s scientists and policymakers — we aim to organise scientific knowledge from across Europe, for policymakers across Europe. This is a vast mission, however, so we're taking it step by step.

After explaining the state of play by end 2021 - what you will find on K4P, how it is organised – this page therefore sets out where K4P is going next (TL:DR; help us decide).

Knowledge4Policy by end 2021 

Based on user research

A platform for evidence-based policymaking must itself be designed and built on evidence, so while we built the ‘beta version’ of K4P in 2018 we carried out our first in-depth audience research to discover what our audiences actually want and need. 

Everything we do, set out below, is guided by what we found in this and subsequent audience research, and it's all shared via our blog (e.g., Evidence-based policymaking: a story emerges from audience research (2018), Help Us Design Knowledge for PolicyMakers (2019)). That audience research will now continue here when we launch our first knowledge community in 2022 (see what's next).

At a glance 

Today you will find a single database of scientific knowledge, created specifically for policymakers by 20 different scientific teams (“knowledge services”) to help inform policy. There are two types of knowledge services (links to them are on the K4P home page):  

  • If you are a policymaker in a field covered by one or more knowledge centres, then K4P has knowledge for you.   

  • If you are looking for tools for analysing scientific knowledge to help inform policy, then one of the competence centres may have what you’re looking for. 

One database, many teams 

Knowledge Services are multidisciplinary teams led by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s in-house science and knowledge service. However, each knowledge services involves multiple commission departments ("Directorates-General", or DGs), so K4P is a cross-EC platform.  

While each knowledge service has its own "Landing page" on K4P, almost everything on K4P is in a shared database of knowledge, or “knowledgebase”. That means: 

  • you can search everything from K4P home, using filters like type of knowledge, publishing organisation, a global “Thesaurus” of keywords, etc. 

  • you can search just the content relevant to a knowledge service from its Landing Page, using the above filters plus extra filters specific to the knowledge service – i.e., you'll search a small subset of the knowledgebase, with greater granularity. 

There are many sorts of knowledge (publications, data visualisations, projects, etc.), so the search engine allows you to select what you’re looking for. All knowledge is either created or curated (published by someone else) – either way, the knowledge service’s scientists vouch for its quality and relevance. 

All knowledge is either created or curated – either way, the knowledge service’s scientists vouch for its quality and relevance

You’ll also find that each piece of knowledge automatically links to related knowledge across the platform. So we’re avoiding ‘knowledge silos’ (different teams publishing knowledge in different databases) while still providing each knowledge service’s audience with highly granular knowledge management. 

Knowledge brokerage for policymakers 

Since 2018, the number of knowledge services on the K4P platform has grown from five to 20, so the quantity and diversity of knowledge continues to grow. But there’s more than just scientific data and information on K4P. Knowledge services include both scientists and knowledge brokers – specialists in explaining scientific findings to policymakers.  

This is why each knowledge service is more than simply a search engine. Most knowledge services also feature "PolicyLayer" interfaces, structured and written solely to help policymakers quickly find policy briefings, data visualisations and other key documents. This currently consists of Topics and Tools, but we're currently exploring additional interfaces spanning multiple knowledge services.

April 2022: join the conversation on K4P's future

In late April 2022, moreover, we launched our first 'knowledge community'.

These allow users to submit knowledge to Knowledge4Policy, ask questions and comment on what they find, and even collaborate with knowledge services on transferring scientific knowledge into public policy. 

As set out in K4P Help, while each knowledge community will be linked to and managed by a knowledge service, all members will be part of a single K4P community. Each knowledge service chooses if and when they launch their community, depending on priorities and resources.

Convened by the Evidence-informed Policy Making competence centre, the first community's focus includes discussing how K4P should evolve, so please join the community and the conversation: we want to learn from evidence-based policymaking experts worldwide, apply what we learn, and generally advance the state-of-the-art (more: How should K4P evolve?).

More information

We will continue sharing our journey via the Building knowledge for policy Topic.