science support sq

In this section of FAIRWAYiS we integrate and synthesise the results from the other parts of the research programme, to identify key options for protection of drinking water resources against diffuse pollution of nitrate and pesticides from agriculture and to analyse the implications of these options for EU policies and practice. We:

  • evaluate the barriers/issues in providing integrated scientific support for EU policy;
  • evaluate the feedbacks of actors at EU level on the evidence based practice in the different FAIRWAY case studies and on the interim results of the FAIRWAY project;
  • recommend the most promising activities, policies and tools at EU level;

Note: The extensive information given here is complete scientific results of the FAIRWAY project, as presented in the project deliverables. Deliverables are being written and added to the website throughout the period of the project, until it ends in November 2021. The availablility of and access to the scientific results is indicated in the introductions to each section

 Public access 
 Restricted access  (for project partners only, to allow authors time to publish their results)
 Not available yet  (the research is still underway)



Main authors: Matjaž Glavan, Špela Železnikar, Sindre Langaas, Gerard Velthof, Susanne Wuijts, Sandra Boekhold, Susanne Klages, Claudia Heidecke, Marina Pintar
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: Glavan M.J. et al. (2019) Evaluation report on barriers and issues in providing integrated scientific support for EU policy. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 7.1 25 pp


Throughout the European Union (EU), high concentrations of nitrates and pesticides are among the major polluting components of drinking water and have potential long-term impacts on the environment and human health. Many research projects co-funded by the European Commission have been carried out, but the results often do not influence policy making and implementation to the extent that is duly justified. In this section of FAIRWAYiS we assesses several issues and barriers that weaken the role of science in EU policy making and EU policy implementation in the case of agricultural impacts on drinking water quality. We then proposes improvements and solutions to strengthen the role of science in this process.
»Research and policy context

The analysis is conceptual but supported empirically by a desk study, a workshop, and complementary individual interviews, mostly with representatives of organizations working at the EU level.
»Desk study, workshop and interviews

The results indicate that perceived barriers are mostly observed on the national or regional level and are connected with a lack of political will, scarce instruction on the legislation implementation process, and a lack of funding opportunities for science to be included in policy making and further EU policy implementation.
»Desk study results
»Workshop and interview results

In response to that, we suggest translating scientific knowledge on technological, practical or environmental changes and using dissemination techniques for specific audiences and in local languages. Further, the relationship between data, information and decision making needs to change by implementing monitoring in real-time, which will allow for the quick adaptation of strategies. In addition, we suggest project clustering (science, policy, stakeholders, and citizens) to make science and research more connected to current policy challenges and stakeholder needs along with citizen involvement with an aim of establishing sustainable long-term relationships and communication flows.
»Synthesis and recommendations


Note: The contents of this section of FAIRWAYiS have been published as a scientific article.

  • GLAVAN, Matjaž, ŽELEZNIKAR, Špela, VELTHOF, Gerard, BOEKHOLD, Sandra, LANGAAS, Sindre, PINTAR, Marina. How to enhance the role of science in European Union policy making and implementation: The case of agricultural impacts on drinking water quality. Water, ISSN 2073-4441, 2019, vol. 11, iss. 3, 22 str., ilustr.

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Main authors: Janja Rudolf, Špela Železnikar, Matjaž Glavan, Andrej Udovč, Sindre Langaas, Marina Pintar
FAIRWAYiS Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: Rudolf, J. et al. (2019) Actor's feedback on practices for improvement of water quality in FAIRWAY case studies and interim project results. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 7.2 52 pp


In this section of FAIRWAYiS we present the feedback obtained on the evidence-based practices in the different FAIRWAY case studies to improve water quality, building on the work described in »Barriers and issues in providing integrated scientific support for EU policy

We summarise and discuss feedback obtained from members of the multi-actor platforms on the evidence-based practices for water quality improvement of the different FAIRWAY case studies. The questionnaire we used aimed to evaluate possible correlations between the EU and local level on barriers and issues in providing integrated scientific support for policy regulations related to drinking water resource protection against diffuse pollution of nitrates and pesticides from agriculture.

There was general agreement among the MAPs that stronger involvement of all actors in the science-policy interface is a solution for science integration into policy. Most respondents also agree or strongly agree that it is good that member states have a voice in solving problems on local level relating agricultural pollution of drinking water resources and that MAPs are the right way to engage stakeholders in this issue closely. However, the idea of separation of pesticides and nitrates in projects and policy communications has considerably lower support in the MAPs as on EU level.
»Actors' feedback on practices for the improvement of water quality in case studies

Secondly we presented interim results from FAIRWAY's research programme to a Joint Policy Conference meeting held in Brussels on 7th December 2018 and asked the participants their opinions on the usefulness of the results to different stakeholder groups, such as researchers, local, regional and national authorities, agro-industry, SMEs, NGOs and farmers.

The respondents stressed that there is an absolute need to have the key and essential final project results presented shorter and in a language understandable to policymakers. The idea of possible long-term relationship/communication flows between research projects and political agenda, including Taskforce water intending to design project clusters seems very useful to the vast majority of respondents. The respondents agreed that the most effective ways to receive interim project results are presentations at conferences and workshops or via executive summaries of deliverables. The final results of the project can be best communicated via executive summaries of deliverables, and by conferences/workshops, articles in scientific journals and YouTube videos.
»Actors' feedback on practices for water quality improvement in interim project results


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