Alice Vadrot

New institutional spaces of biodiversity knowledge production and use: the case of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

The thesis addresses the discourse on establishing an Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), with a particular emphasis on the emergence of new institutional spaces for knowledge production on biodiversity. It examines the tensions, conflicts and contradictions surrounding the process towards IPBES. The thesis is based on a discourse analysis focussing on dominant narratives and problem perceptions of policy-makers, scientists and other stakeholders linked to the science and governance of biodiversity. The aim is to better to better understand the background to the institutionalisation of the IPBES and to assess the epistemic and strategic dimensions of science-policy interaction and the role that global expert knowledge plays in defining the object to be governed. The empirical study is based on some 50 semi-structured interviews conducted with government representatives, scientists and other stakeholders participating in Conferences of the Parties of the Convention on biological diversity (CBD) and multi-stakeholder meetings to the IPBES in the period from 2008 to 2010. Interviews were transcribed and analysed with MaxQDA by drawing on the conceptual approach of discourse analysis in the tradition of Michel Foucault. First results show that the political debate on IPBES hides important conflicts related to the understanding and regulation of biodiversity, inasmuch as it contributes to the depoliticiation of biodiversity governance and the reinforcement of national trajectories of ‘growth-as-development’.


Vadrot, Alice (2011): Biodiversity and Society: why should social sciences have a say? -an editorial, Innovation-The European Journal for Social Science Research 24 (3), 211-216.

Hulme, M., Mahony, M., Beck, S., Görg, C., Hansjürgens, B., Hauck, J., Nesshöver, C., Paulsch, A., Vandewalle, M., Wittmer, H.,  Böschen, S., Bridgewater, P., Chimère Diaw, M., Fabre, P., Figueroa, A.,  Heong, K. L., Korn, H., Leemans, R., Lövbrand, E., Hamid, M. N., Monfreda, C., Pielke, Jr.R.,  Settele, J.,Winter, M., Vadrot, A. B. M., van den Hove,S., van der Sluijs, J.P. (2011): Science-Policy Interface: Beyond Assessments, Science (333) 6043, 697-698.

Vadrot, Alice B. M. (2011): Reflections on MODE 3, the coevolution of knowledge and innovation systems and how it relates to sustainable development. Conceptual framework for “Epistemic Governance”, in: International Journal for Social Ecology and Sustainable Development 1 (2), 44-53.

Vadrot, Alice (2011): Innovation- not just a technical problem-an editorial, Innovation-The European Journal for Social Science Research 24 (1), Routledge, 1-5.

Pohoryles, J. Ronald; Vadrot, Alice B. M. (2011): Nachhaltige Energieversorgung: Produktion und Import von Biomasse und biogenen Treibstoffen, Berichte aus Energie und Umweltforschung, 17a/2011; BMVIT.

Vadrot, Alice (2010): Sustainable energy and Responses to Climate Change-an editorial, Innovation-The European Journal for Social Science Research 23 (4), Routledge, 293-295.

Vadrot, Alice B. M. (2010): Multi-Level Governance, Technological Intervention and Globalization. The Case of biogenetic Fuels, in Innovation-The European Journal for Social Science Research 23 (4), Routledge, 361-387.

Vadrot, Alice, Heumesser, Christine, Ritzberger, Matthias (2010): Wissenschaft als Instrument und Akteur. Die Diskussion um ein Science-Policy Interface. In: Brand, Ulrich (Ed.): Globale Umweltpolitik und Internationalisierung des Staates. Biodiversität aus strategisch-relationaler Perspektive. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 188-231.