Scientific Steering Committee

Independent knowledge synthesis: the basis for knowledge-based decisions in society


Report no: 2020:03

Published: 30.04.2020

Key message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) welcomes a dialogue about how we best can facilitate research in order to contribute to knowledge-based development of society.

This invitation is aimed towards knowledge institutions, authorities and other stakeholders invested in how we facilitate research and knowledge syntheses in our society.

VKM acknowledges wide agreement that governmental authorities' decisions should be knowledge-based. But how do we ensure that the knowledge base used for these decisions is objective, relevant, verifiable, and up-to-date?

Knowledge synthesis

VKM uses knowledge synthesis as a collective term for various types of structured summaries of research-based knowledge. In short, the term includes scientific studies that compile and summarise knowledge in a way which ensures that conclusions are reliable and accurate.

Risk assessments, systematic reviews, expert judgements, and meta-analysis are all examples of knowledge synthesis.

Prerequisites for an independent scientific knowledge base

VKM draws from its experience as a provider of risk assessments and other types of knowledge synthesis related to food, food production, and the environment, but emphasizes that the experience is relevant to other areas of society.

VKM points out prerequisites for producing high-quality, independent knowledge syntheses, and further, the challenges and opportunities presented from the compilation and use of knowledge syntheses.

Key factors brought to light in the report include structured compilation of available and relevant knowledge, best practices for recruiting experts, and support for openness and transparency. All these factors are important for making sound conclusions and for using knowledge.


portrett av Merethe Aasmo Finne

Merethe Aasmo Finne

Chief Scientific Coordinator Environment, PhD

T: +47 21 62 28 16
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