FNP-32806 Science and Expertise in Nature and Environment


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper2
Group work5
Course coordinator(s)dr. E Turnhout
Lecturer(s)dr. E Turnhout
dr. ir. GM Verschoor
dr. H van den Belt
dr. ir. CPG Driessen
dr. TAP Metze-Burghouts
Examiner(s)dr. E Turnhout

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Introductory courses on the social and policy aspects of environmental governance, forest and nature conservation and natural resource management.


Forestry, nature conservation and natural resource management are practices in which scientific knowledge and expertise play a key role. However, these issues are also characterized by competing values and perspectives, interests and claims. Moreover, what the facts are is often contested, which means maintaining a strict separation between science and politics is difficult in practice. How are we to think of science and the claims of experts in this situation? Future practitioners need to be able to cooperate with experts and professionals with different disciplinary backgrounds, knowledge and expertise, values, interests and perspectives. They also need to understand the relation between scientific knowledge and decision making, as well as reflect on the different roles that experts can play in policies and management of nature, environment and natural resources. This course will:
- introduce state-of-the-art theories and concepts that deal with the role of science in policy and society;
- discuss the question of 'what is science' by introducing basic notions in philosophy and sociology of science;
- stimulate critical reflection on how to organize the relation between science, society and policy;
- enable students to link theories and concepts to empirical cases.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the essential characteristics of the relation between science, policy and society, including the theories and concepts discussed in the course;
- understand the main concepts and ideas in the philosophy and sociology of science;
- critically evaluate these and apply them to empirical examples.


- participating in lectures, tutorials and flipped classroom sessions;
- preparing by means of assignments and self study;
- participating in group work and writing a group report;
- writing individual essays and peer feedback.


The examination of the course is based on a portfolio of assignments in which the learning outcomes are tested. One third of the grade is based on assignment 1 (individual essay and peer feedback), One third of the grade is based on assignment 2 (group report), One third of the grade is based on assignment 3 (individual essay). Students can pass the course if they meet the course requirements (participation in mandatory course activities and meeting the course deadlines) and if they score a minimum of 5.5 for each of the assignments.


Will be made available through MyPortal.

Verplicht voor: BBNForest and Nature ConservationBSc2AF