Spruijt, Pita, Anne B. Knol, Arthur C. Petersen, & Erik Lebret (2018, in press). Expert views on their role as policy advisor: Pilot study for the cases of electromagnetic fields, particulate matter, and antimicrobial resistance. Risk Analysis. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1111/risa.13224)

Abstract: This perspective presents empirical data to demonstrate the existence of different expert views on scientific policy advice on complex environmental health issues. These views are partly research-field specific. According to scientific literature, experts differ in the way they provide policy advice on complex issues such as electromagnetic fields (EMF), particulate matter (PM), and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Where some experts feel their primary task is to carry out fundamental research, others actively engage in the policy dialogue. Although the literature provides ideas about expert roles, there exists little empirical underpinning. Our aim is to gather empirical evidence about expert roles. The results of an international study indicated that experts on EMF, PM, and AMR differ in the way they view their role in the policy dialogue. For example, experts differed in their views on the need for precaution and their motivation to initiate stakeholder cooperation. Besides, most experts thought that their views on the risks of EMF/PM/AMR did not differ from those of colleagues. Great dissensus was found in views on the best ways of managing risks and uncertainties. In conclusion, the theoretical ideal–typical roles from the literature can be identified to a certain extent.

Pita Spruijt <pita.spruijt@rivm.nl> is in the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands, and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bithoven, The Netherlands.

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