Environmental society tries to bridge science, policy gap

The Israel Society for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences refocuses on connecting environmental science and policy through applied research.

The Israel Society for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences has been around for 40 years, but over the past year it has refocused on strengthening the connection between environmental science and environmental policy, the society’s new director, Hanoch Ilsar, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
He spoke on the sidelines of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel’s annual conference.
“There’s very little communication between the practitioners and the academics,” Ilsar said.
He would like to use the Society for Ecology and Environmental Quality Sciences to convince policy-makers of the importance of the scientific studies being conducted. The society has launched a new journal of practical science in hopes of providing policy-makers with an easily accessible format for reading about discoveries. The journal is in Hebrew to help policy-makers, since most of the scientists write their articles in English for international publications, Ilsar said.
In the future, Ilsar would like to create policy internships for scientists in government ministries so they understand what policy-makers need in terms of scientific studies.
“The idea is to encourage applied science, something which is stilllooked down upon in the ivory tower in Israel,” Ilsar told the Post.
Last year, the society invited an international advisory committee torecommend how to “improve the scientific basis of environmental policyand natural resources management in Israel.” The committee found thatbasic environmental science was strong in Israel, there were a plethoraof environmental NGOs, but policy-makers and academics had littlecontact with one another.
They recommended increasing policy training for scientists from thosestarting their career to mid-career professionals. The committee alsorecommended increasing the authority of ministry chief scientists,creating a national center to synthesize environmental data, and anannual “State of the Environment” report. Ilsar said he hopes to pushthe committee’s recommendations forward over the coming years.