Professor Ulrika Mörth.
Professor Ulrika Mörth.

The project leader is Dr. Marlene Ågerstrand at the Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES). Science is increasingly called for as a basis for political decision-making. To ensure a systematic, transparent and objective decision-making process, it is important to understand the actual workings of the science-policy interface. In this project, the mechanisms by which science is evaluated and incorporated into decision-making processes will be researched. Theory and methods from political science will be applied to the policy arena of chemicals risk management. An in-depth study of the Scientific Committees used by the European Chemicals Agency according to the REACH legislation will be performed. The following research questions will be addressed:

1. How is science used to legitimize decisions in the European REACH-regulation’s authorization and restriction processes?

2. How are the legislation and rules of procedure for the REACH committees implemented in practice?

3. What lessons can be learned from the workings of the REACH committees that could inform the general design of Scientific Committees in the science-policy interface? 

The interdisciplinary approach, drawing on leading expertise from regulatory toxicology and political science will enable us to come up with new knowledge with direct relevance to the implementation of chemicals regulation, as well as concrete recommendations to improve the processes. This project aims at improving the understanding of how to set up the exchanges between policy and science for effective and transparent science-policy interactions.