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Ocean Frontier Institute Module I Represented at the Society of Policy Scientists’ Annual Institute


By Lillian M. Saul and Evan J. Andrews, OFI Module I





Every year, the Society of Policy Scientists meets for its annual Institute. Lillian Saul (Module I graduate student) and Evan Andrews (Module I post-doctoral fellow) participated in this year’s Institute themed Policy Sciences for Complex Problem-Solving. The Society of Policy Scientists is an international academic and applied society that seeks to integrate knowledge for policy gains in service of responsible leadership, effective decision-making, and human dignity.


Complex problems exist in a range of sectors. Fisheries governance researchers can learn a lot from other domains and what’s happening in other sectors, but they too have a lot to share about the challenges and opportunities in getting governance right for fisheries and oceans. This year’s Institute included representatives from 14 different universities across North America and practitioners from the World Bank, the United States government, and a range of NGOs. Both Lillian and Evan had a lot of fun preparing for the meeting so that they could engage with researchers working in diverse problem contexts as well as share insights from what they are learning conducting fisheries and oceans work. Lillian and Evan are very thankful for the generous support of the Society of Policy Scientists’ Travel Awards that helped them attend the Institute. Further, they are grateful for funding support and the flexibility to engage and learn broadly enabled through the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) Module I.


In the OFI Module I, researchers are encouraged to embrace a transdisciplinary approach to research, which helps strengthen how the problem is framed and how the research conducted. For example, Evan has been co-authoring and co-editing a book-length manuscript led by Dr. Susan Clark of Yale University on “Integrated problem solving: Values and strategies for citizens and leaders.” The book incorporates examples from 24 policy scientists working on diverse policy problems around the world, including a case about justice in the inshore fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador. With Susan, Evan shared an update about this work, and it sparked an interesting conversation about the need for research and leadership that understands people’s values and that fosters crucial conversations about difficult topics such as equity and justice that are now in focus. Evan said that he is “so thankful for the flexibility and support to be able to zoom out like this in my own professional practice to keep engaging in transdisciplinary work.”


In Lillian’s presentation, “Accounting for Social Process: Implementing the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines in Newfoundland and Labrador,” she walked the policy scientists through her own research journey, including her standpoint as an active fisher-person, and sought audience contributions and feedback on potential directions for her analysis. Lillian explained how the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines can help address complex problems in small-scale fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador, through implementation in decision-making and social processes. Implementation, then, means proactive considerations of those values most important for fishing people. Her methodology, which includes an engaged and deliberative interview process with fishers across Newfoundland, will help her better understand these key stakeholder perspectives. Lillian is grateful for the opportunity to clarify her own goals, methodologies, and potential forms of analysis through her presentation and discussions at the Institute.



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Evan J. Andrews is an environmental policy scientist working at the intersections of governance, social change, and transdisciplinarity, largely in the context of inland and coastal fisheries. He holds a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Ocean Frontier Institute and Too Big To Ignore, and is based at Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada. He is the co-founder and -lead for SSF-CAN: A Research Network for Small-Scale Fisheries in Canada, and is currently serving an appointment as the Vice President of the Society of Policy Scientists.

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Lillian Saul is a researcher at Memorial University studying fisheries governance in Newfoundland and Labrador with a focus on inshore and small-boat fisheries. Her research explores opportunities and challenges to informing policymaking in this province with relevant principles, as outlined by the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries. She is also an active commercial fishing person! Lillian would be satisfied spending the rest of her days fishing on the water and contributing to learning about and solving complex problems in fisheries on shore. Ultimately, she hopes her work can celebrate the invaluable knowledge and vitality of fishing communities in Atlantic Canada and beyond.