Use-inspired science: making science usable by and useful to decision makers

Tamara U. Wall, Elizabeth McNie, Gregg M. Garfin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


A growing body of research in translational science provides a foundation for translational ecologists to consider the practices that show the most promise, as well as the potential pitfalls of those practices. These research approaches (eg user-inspired climate science) require deliberate engagement with end users, and an understanding of the social and cultural contexts in which a research project functions. We examine the climate science translation literature (looking at how research can inform decision making) to identify key issues related to how the social sciences have helped guide researchers engaged in user-inspired research. We focus on understanding the more intangible inputs to research projects, including the social and cultural contexts; stakeholder engagement; the role of social capital; and evaluating the outputs, outcomes, and impacts of translational science projects and initiatives. Research on return-on-investment metrics for translational science is increasingly pointing to the conclusion that intentional, structured processes, such as those found in translational sciences, boost the likelihood of science being successfully incorporated into environmental decision making and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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