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A New Research Agenda for Studying the Interface Between Ocean Science and (Science) Policy

Sat, September 7, 1:00 to 2:30pm, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, Floor: Four, Oakley


International concerns on the state and governing principles of our oceans are growing. A case in point are on-going negotiations on a new regulatory framework for coping with competing interests related to the use and scientific inquiry of marine biodiversity. On one hand, oceans are considered as major sources of food, energy and technological innovation. On the other hand, changes in atmospheric conditions, overexploitation, and dramatic declines in marine biodiversity increase demands for new policy frameworks to protect ocean ecosystems. These demands also put great pressure on the field of ocean science, where research is increasingly expected to be structured along policy needs and to close existing data gaps with technological and methodological innovations.

In this paper, we propose a new research agenda for studying the transformations of ocean science and how these interact with policy and practice. We argue that the development of ocean scientific priority setting should be studied in tandem with the manifestation of epistemic selectivities in international ocean science and governance. To do that, new approaches are needed attuned to working across different scientific, policy and spatial levels. Methodologically, we address these levels by building new connections between scientometrics, social network analysis, and ethnographic methods. This enables us to study the policies, practices, networks, institutions and infrastructures in the field. Precisely now, it is crucial to analyze the interface between ocean science and (science) policy. At this interface, epistemic values, evaluative repertoires, policy priorities, and socio-technical imaginaries come together and shape (the future of) the oceans.


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