Policymakers and scientists ranks of the top 40 priorities for science to inform resource-management policy in the United States

Murray Alan Rudd, Erica Fleishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent collaboration between decisionmakers and scientists in the United States yielded 40 research questions that reflected the needs of those with jurisdiction over natural resources. We surveyed managers, policymakers and their advisers, and scientists to rank the questions with respect to their applicability to policy. The 602 respondents included 194 policymakers, 70 government scientists, and 228 academic scientists. A question on the water supply necessary to sustain human populations and ecosystem resilience was ranked as having the greatest potential, if it were answered, to increase the effectiveness of policies related to natural resource management in the United States. Research priorities differed significantly among the respondents. However, no simple science–policy divide was evident. Priorities did not differ between academics and government employees or between scientists (academic and government) and policymakers. Our results suggest that participatory exercises can establish priorities to guide funders of research and researchers who aim to inform policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Early online date5 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2014


  • Research prioritization
  • Policy-making
  • Conservation
  • Environmental management
  • United States

Cite this