Actionable knowledge and the art of engagement

Katharine J. Mach, Maria Carmen Lemos, Alison M. Meadow, Carina Wyborn, Nicole Klenk, James C. Arnott, Nicole M. Ardoin, Clare Fieseler, Richard H. Moss, Leah Nichols, Missy Stults, Catherine Vaughan, Gabrielle Wong-Parodi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


What makes knowledge relevant to environmental sustainability actionable, and how can its societal impacts be evaluated? Scholars and practitioners have increasingly advocated that the traditional linear model of knowledge production, with its unidirectional flow of information from researchers to policy-makers, be replaced by a new approach in which researchers and knowledge-users meaningfully interact to co-create knowledge that is actionable in decision-making. This popular model — co-production — has advanced thinking on how to create usable knowledge. In practice, however, co-production has not been a single approach, but instead a diversity of forms of engaged research. Further, the jargon may both obfuscate governance dimensions and limit understanding of what works. Improved distinction among the different ways researchers and societal partners interact can enable attentive and effective engagement across contexts. Recognition of this diversity is necessary in advancing the processes and impacts of actionable knowledge for sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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