Dovilė Rimkutė, Markus Haverland
How does the European Commission use scientific expertise? Results from a survey of scientific members of the Commission’s expert committees

Comparative European Politics, 2015: 13, Heft 4, S. 430–449
ISSN: 1472-4790 (print); 1740-388X (online)

Given the high levels of uncertainty and complexity of issues considered at the EU level, knowledge from sound and reliable sources of expertise is of a particular importance. To date, literature on the role of scientific knowledge and scientists in EU policy-making is relatively scarce. Furthermore, we know little about the scientists involved in EU policy-making: what attitudes do they hold regarding their contribution to policies shaped and adapted at the EU level? How do scientists perceive their role in EU policy-making? The article relies on new data from a survey of scientific members of the Commission’s expert committees to gain insights into the perceptions held by scientists on how their knowledge is used: the literature on knowledge utilisation suggests that an agent can use knowledge as an instrument to increase its problem-solving capacity (instrumental knowledge utilisation), but also for more strategic purposes such as support for predetermined policy preferences (substantiating knowledge utilisation), or as a way of promoting power and influence (legitimising knowledge utilisation). The study finds that strategic uses of knowledge are not highly prominent in the process of proposal drafting. On the contrary, we find that the instrumental mode is perceived as dominant by scientific contributors. Future research need to show whether this mode of scientific knowledge utilisation is also relevant for other stages in the EU policy-making process.