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The role of scientific knowledge in dealing with complex policy problems under conditions of uncertainty

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This article concerns the recent shifts and tensions in the role of scientific knowledge in policymaking. Policy practitioners are striving to solve a compelling problem: how to deal with complex problems under conditions of uncertainty. This article focuses on two policy reforms in Finland that have been designed to address these issues: strategic governance reform and the take up of a culture of experimentation. It suggests that the knowledge-policy relations within these reforms are characterised by profound tensions between ‘good governance’ and ‘good knowledge’. Whereas good governance demands that knowledge is controlled, good knowledge entails uncertain and uncontrollable elements.
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Keywords: evidence-based policymaking; experimental policy; governance; innovation; knowledge; strategy; uncertainty

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: April 2020

This article was made available online on November 12, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "The role of scientific knowledge in dealing with complex policy problems under conditions of uncertainty".

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UA-1313315-21
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