Complex societal and environmental challenges motivate scholars to assume new roles that transcend the boundaries of traditional academic expertise. The present article focuses on the specialised knowledge, skills, and practices mobilised in the context of science–policy interfaces by researchers who advise policymakers on collaborative governance processes intended to address these pressing issues. By working on the backstage of collaborative arrangements, researchers support policymakers in the co-design of tailor-made strategies for involving groups of institutional and non-institutional actors in collaboration on a specific issue. The present article examines the expertise underpinning this practice, which we term process expertise. While already quite widely practiced, process expertise has not yet been comprehensively theorised. The study employs a self-reflective case narrative to illuminate its constitutive elements and investigates the advisory work of the authors’ research team, called “Co-Creation and Contemporary Policy Advice”, located at the intersection of science, policymaking, and civil society. The findings show that process expertise, when exercised by researchers and supported by an assemblage of enabling conditions inherent to the research context, goes beyond the possession of a set of skills at the individual level. Instead, process expertise in the context of science–policy interfaces unfolds in interaction with other types of knowledge and fulfils its task by generating a weakly institutionalised “in-between space”, in which researchers and policymakers interact to find more inclusive ways of tackling complex challenges. In this realm, relational work contributes to establishing a collaborative modus operandi at the very outset of the advisory process, while working at the processual level supports knowledge co-production among multiple actors. The article argues that it is the ongoing work of process experts at the intersection of relational and processual levels that helps maintain momentum in these collaborative partnerships. By formulating and discussing five constitutive elements of process expertise, this paper untangles the complex work that is required in collaborative research settings and gives a language to the invisible work performed by researchers who offer policymakers—and other invited actors—advice on the process of designing collaboration in collaboration.
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Molinengo, G., Stasiak, D., & Freeth, R. (2021). Process expertise in policy advice: Designing collaboration in collaboration. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(1): 310. doi:10.1057/s41599-021-00990-9.
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- Co-Creation and Contemporary Policy Advice