Environmental History Meets Public Policy

22 March  – 21 June 2022
A series of training webinars ending with a hybrid stakeholder debate.


Since at least the 1960s, environmental historians have been amassing evidence and gaining insights into past human interactions with climate and the ecosystems we formed part of over the course of history, from antiquity to the present day.

The environmental history community knows all too well what pandemics and climate crises are, and it is high time it contributes to the development of public policy that can help us to cope with the natural crises of our own times.

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About the series

Our learn-and-debate series is intended to facilitate and give momentum to this process. We will provide the environmental history community with the basic understanding of the ways by which science and policy interact, in particular in the European context, helping individuals and groups to engage in the policy making process.

Who should attend?

Our series is designed to offer knowledge that is necessary to step out of the academic silo and engage with stakeholders in the policy world. We therefore invite any scientists or humanists who feel this practical knowledge might be useful for their own policy outreach activities to join us and participate.


Through a series of practical workshops and roundtable discussions, participants will be introduced to different policy actors and the process of policy engagement will be demystified. Channels for engagement will be explored, and researchers will leave equipped with the tools and practical skill-set to actively bridge their research and the policy community. The climax of our series is a hybrid event in Berlin, which will feature lightning talks on possible policy lessons by invited environmental historians, and a feedback debate with policy stakeholders.


Session details

22 March 2022

Introduction to Science for Policy

Chloe Hill, Policy Officer, European Geosciences Union (tbc)

This first webinar will help the participants in understanding the basic concepts of science for policy advice and the different roles the scientists can assume in the policy-development process. It will also present the key tools and strategies for scientists to get involved in policy making. In this way, this webinar will lay the foundations on which the following webinars will build.

5 April 2022

Science for Policy Communication

Vitalba Crivello, Policy Analyst at the European Science-Media Hub, STOA/DG EPRS, European Parliament

Vitalba Crivello will talk about the experience of the European Science-Media Hub, the platform of the European Parliament communicating sound science to the public. The Hub brings together scientists and media makers to work in an open, collaborative way, notably producing evidence-based information to engage with citizens and other ‘users’ of scientific data/results/approaches. On the basis of this experience, Vitalba will offer some examples and draw some conclusions on how to successfully communicate science for policy, with a special attention to environmental topics

19 April 2022

Engaging with government: history as part of policy making

Prof Philip Murphy, History and Policy Group, UK

In 2002, a group of scholars established History & Policy, a network of academic historians dedicated to the principle that access to historical knowledge and expertise can make for better policy-making. The current director of History & Policy, Philip Murphy, explores this relationship and its implications for the ways academics interact with government.  What are the incentives for historians to engage with governments? Conversely, with a rapid turn-around in staff and the move to digital communication, the challenge for departments in preserving and accessing ‘institutional memory’ is greater than ever. Yet the pressures of contemporary policy-making leave officials with little time to absorb conventional historical outputs. How can and should these outputs be repurposed to make them more policy-relevant? And finally, what are the implications of the rise of populism and the resurgence of ‘culture wars’ for the relationship between historians, politics and the state?

3 May 2022

The key role of the European Parliament Intergroup on ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development’ (CCBSD) in bridging the science-policy nexus

Ilias Grampas, Deputy Director, European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD)

Recognizing that a sustainable world needs to ensure human well-being, nature protection and economic prosperity for present and future generations, the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” aims to look into solutions and opportunities linked with today’s and tomorrow’s environmental and socio-economic challenges, as well as to guide the development and implementation of coherent sustainable policies based on scientific evidence. Therefore, this session will focus on the mission, vision and key priorities of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, as a multi-stakeholder platform of dialogue, which brings together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all political groups and Parliamentary Committees with representatives of the European Commission, Presidency of the Council of the EU, Member States and key stakeholders, such as NGOs, private sector and industry representatives, scientists, experts, and civil society.

17 May 2022

Science for policy ecosystems in the EU and its Member States: policies, institutions, and competences

Kristian Krieger, Policy Analyst, Unit: “Knowledge for Policy: Concepts and Methods”, European Commission, Joint Research Centre

Kristian Krieger will introduce the concept of a science for policy ecosystem to capture science advisory norms, processes, structures, and practices at EU and national levels more comprehensively. On this basis, he will elaborate on the JRC’s activities to strengthen and connect such ecosystems across Europe and identify opportunities for individual researchers/research groups to connect their research to these ecosystems and policymaking processes.

31 May 2022

Mapping science-for-policy ecosystems in Europe and Germany

Irene Broer, Leibniz Institute for Media Research – Hans Bredow Institute, Germany
Nataliia Sokolovska, Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), Germany

How does scientific expertise make its way into policy decisions? In this webinar, we present and compare existing science-for-policy mechanisms in Europe, before taking a deep-dive into Germany’s multilevel ecosystem. The participants will gain insight into different types of science-for-policy mechanisms ranging from ad-hoc crisis teams to formalized and long-term advisory bodies.

14 June 2022

Closing discussion among webinar participants

Chair: Adam Izdebski, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany

An opportunity for participants to share their feedback on the series and ideas for possible future activities.