Social Sciences for Knowledge and Decision Making

Social science research should lead to a better understanding of current societal developments and enable policy makers to propose solutions to problems and design policies that can serve the public more effectively. Governments are increasingly aware of the need and opportunities to improve the contribution of social science knowledge to policy making and are keen to realise this potential. Can the social sciences act as an agent of societal change? How can they contribute to social practice? How can their policy relevance be increased? Can best practice in other research fields and economic sectors be a source of inspiration on new approaches to sharing knowledge? And how can the divide between the two communities - social scientists and decision makers - be narrowed? These are some of the enduring questions tackled by academics and policy makers at the Workshop on the Contribution of Social Sciences to Knowledge and Decision Making, Bruges, 26-28 June 2000.