SLU news

AgriFoSe2030 trains Swedish scientists to be more policy-relevant

Published: 20 September 2017

“Dare to simplify messages”, “start at the right end: identify policy needs first” and “finding the right communication pathways is a challenge” were some of the key take home messages from a workshop earlier this month focusing on how to translate research results into practical tools for decision-makers to create relevant and timely policies. AgriFoSe2030 programme organized the workshop and invited Swedish scientists based at SLU and engaged in the network of AgriFoSe2030.

Two experienced professionals, Ann Uustalu, formerly employee at the Swedish ministry of foreign affairs and currently science policy officer in the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation and Sif Johansson, formerly at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the European Commission, and now Head of Mistra EviEM, participated and gave talks. Their talks concerned the links between research and practical work with policy development (with special focus on low-income country contexts) and how to best communicate with actors within the policy sphere.

Translating complex research results into a political process

During the second half of the workshop the participants collaborated in teams and discussed in detail how complex research results can be translated into a political process and how we can improve research methods and formulation so that they are more effective for policies.

 –We believe this workshop is important as researchers, in general, need to improve their knowledge on how to translate science into practise to maximise the impact of their research. Through better understanding of the policy process, researchers can help in bridging the gap between researchers and politicians“, said Sofia Boqvist, organizer of the workshop and theme leader in AgriFoSe2030.

Taking research a step further

The researchers taking part in the workshop described it as crucial to start taking the research a step further after you’ve published an article and understand who you are reaching with your research. Depending on who that is, be it the private sector, the public or a decision-maker in the government, you will have to design your communication product differently.

In general, participants found the workshop beneficial for their work. One participant, Elisabeth Lindahl Rajala, explained that she will think different from now on around the impact of her research.

– I have learnt the importance of communicating your research with simplicity but also how important it is to formulate a communication strategy from the start when designing your project”, Elisabeth said.


AgriFoSe2030 is a programme directly targeting SDG 2 by building capacity and sharing experiences to support the transformation of smallholder agriculture in low-income countries. One important cornerstone is to provide training on how to translate the science to as many partners and professionals involved in the network of the programme as possible.

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Sofia Boqvist, Associate Professor

Programme Director of AgriFoSe2030
Assistant Theme leader of Theme 4 in AgriFoSe2030
Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU
PO Box 7028, SE-750 07 Uppsala
Phone: +46 18-67 23 88
Mobile: +46 72-240 34 94