Scientific Tools in Europe: Focus and Application Options

Type of practice:

Podhora, A., Helming, K., Adenäuer, L., Heckelei, T., Kautto, P., Reidsma, P. Rennings, K., Turnpenny, J., Jansen, J. (2013), Scientific Tools in Europe: Focus and Application Options, LIAISE Policy Brief No. 5.



Policy Impact Assessment (IA) has been an obligatory procedure in the legislative process within the EU since 2002. It has to identify the likely impacts on sustainable development (specifically the social, environmental and economic impacts) of all major policy strategies and instruments prior to actual implementation. The link between IA and sustainable development is rooted in the 2006 renewed Sustainable Development Strategy.

IA also provides the legal basis to feed scientific evidence into the policy process and to base policy-making on scientifically robust tools and results. In line with the recognition of the importance of IA for sound sustainable policies, the EC (DG Research and Innovation) has funded through the Framework Programmes (FP) 6 and 7 research supporting knowledge creation in this field.

This policy brief presents an analysis of tools developed in the context of FP6 and FP7 undertaken by the LIAISE project. This assessment focused on the following interests of IA practitioners as tool users:

  • Which policy area(s) do the tools address?
  • Which impact area(s) are covered by the tools?
  • Which jurisdictional level(s) can the tools be applied at?
  • How can the tools be categorized?

There exists a wide variety of tools that comprises:

  • Quantitative and qualitative tools, such as models, scenarios, multi-criteria analysis and participatory tools,
  • Tool components, such as indicators, databases and comprehensive analytic methods,
  • Evaluation frameworks, toolboxes and platforms etc. serving as a higher level system for tool selection or tool linkage.

These results are based on an analysis of 203 research projects designing tools for IA funded in FP6 and 7. The results shall contribute to addressing the science-policy interface of IA by identifying possible challenges for tool users and tool suppliers with respect to tool development and selection. 

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