Scientists as policy actors: A study of the language of biofuel research

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Theory suggests that the influence of science on policy will be greater when scientific discourse is aligned with the language and meaning of wider social concerns. Seeking to assess whether scientists may be guided by such propositions in a controversial environmental policy arena, we examine the language and content of public-facing, UK scientific research grant abstracts on biofuels for the period 2007-2011, comparing these to stakeholder position statements and newspaper articles of the same period. We find that UK scientists have indeed broadly reflected societal concerns about biofuels during this period. However we also find that both science and society have paid less attention to procedural issues. We comment on the implications of the findings for the role of science in environmental policy development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2015
Externally publishedYes