KNEU - Developing a Knowledge Network for European Expertise on biodiversity and ecosystem services to inform policy making and economic sectors

Project Scheme: Coordination action, targeted towards the whole community of experts on biodiversity and ecosystem services issues in Europe

Duration: November 2010 - April 2014

Funded by: European Commission (FP7), Grant No 265299

Coordination: Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department of Conservation Biology


Knowledge about biodiversity and ecosystem services is well advanced in the European scientific community, as demonstrated by many excellent projects and their scientific impact. However, on the global as well as the European scale, there is a failure to communicate the knowledge gained into the policy-making process and society as a whole.
Such communication efforts, must ensure that all relevant knowledge is accessible and that all existing biodiversity research communities and other knowledge holders are involved in a network structure that is linked to decision making bodies.
The overall objective of the project is thus to develop a recommended design for a scientific biodiversity Network of Knowledge (NoK) to inform policy-makers and other societal actors. This network shall be open, transparent, flexible, equally accessible to all, independent, be scientifically- and evidence-based and have a robust structure. It will develop links to relevant clients to support the science-society interface in Europe and beyond.
To achieve this, the project brings together expertise from all major biodiversity research fields (in the consortium and beyond).

  • Beginning with mapping the biodiversity knowledge landscape in Europe (WP1), knowledge holders in biodiversity issues in Europe will be identified,
  • the project will develop a prototype NoK, involving a wide number of institutions and networks in biodiversity research and policy (WP2).
  • This prototype will then be used as a vehicle to carry out case studies in relevant policy fields (agriculture, biodiversity conservation, marine issues) in order to test and trial its functioning and effectiveness (WP3).
  • The experience gained will be evaluated by an additional expert group within the project (WP4),
  • in order to provide input for developing a recommended design for a potential future Network of Knowledge (WP5).
  • Additional work packages will take of dissemination and communication (WP6) and Management (WP7).

Aims of the project

The aim of the project is to develop and test a prototype Network of Knowledge to inform policy-making and economic actors in the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

To achieve this aim, the project has the following subordinate objectives:

  • Objective 1: gain a broad overview of existing knowledge holders in biodiversity issues in Europe and on potential measures to link them for the Network of Knowledge approach
  • Objective 2: develop a mechanism to identify and accesses expertise ready to answer a wide range of policy-relevant questions on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and use that mechanism to develop a flexible and appropriate network of knowledge holders
  • Objective 3: develop sets of rights, roles, rules and procedures to identify, access, assemble and synthesise information relevant to questions posed to the network
  • Objective 4: test the procedures in practical cases
  • Objective 5: implement a process of learning by doing to permit an iterative improvement of the rights, roles, rules and procedures to achieve more effective responses of the network
  • Objective 6: distil and communicate a set of lessons learned and best practice from the prototype and develop a recommended design of a Network of Knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe


KNEU is a project open for involvement of partners from all areas of expertise on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe, if you are interested to join the effort, please contact us.
The following partners of the KNEU consortium support directly the work of KNEU with their expertise and own networks:

  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany
  • Natural Environment Research Council, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, United Kingdom
  • ´Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, Belgium
  • CIIMAR - Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Portugal
  • Stichting Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Zeeonderzoek (NIOZ), Netherlands
  • Fondation française pour la recherche sur la biodivsersité, France
  • Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek, Netherlands
  • Universität Wien, Austria
  • Stiftelsen Norsk Institu´tt for Naturforskning, Norway
  • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain
  • MTA Okologial es Botanikai Kutatointezete, Hungary
  • Stichting Europees Centrum voor Natuurbescherming, Netherlands
  • Bangor University, United Kingdom
  • Eigen Vermogen van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Belgium
  • Umweltbundesamt GmbH, Austria
  • Suomen Ymparistokeskus, Finland
  • Botanical, Environmental & Conservation Consultants, Ireland
  • Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee VZW, Belgium

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