Information in itself, however relevant or salient, may not suffice. It needs processing, uptake and endorsement from practice. One way to facilitate uptake and promote knowledge-in-use is to build communities of practice. Brix and Schierup (1989) outlined a ‘bridging organisation’, a group dedicated to establishing and maintaining a communication link between individual scientists working with scientific and technical aspects of using macrophytes for water pollution control and resource recovery. This group, they argued, would contribute to the coordination of research and development in the field, and promote exchange of results and thus reduce or prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts and expense.
Describing the long-term outcomes and impact of their 1989 article (Folke and Kautsky 1989) on aquaculture and the need for better governance of our oceans, Folke and Kautsky (2021) highlight the importance of filling gaps in our understanding of the role of aquatic foods in global food systems. They also reflect on the importance of science for change, and provide an example of trust-building collaborative effort with co-production of knowledge and understanding, drawing on the best science to date and combining it with competencies and skills of the transnational aquaculture and fisheries corporations to move towards common goals (Folke and Kautsky 2021). In this process, the researchers “serve as honest brokers, providing the state-of-the-art science to clarify, motivate and inspire the companies to perform towards sustainable ocean futures” (Folke and Kautsky 2021).
In their reflections on the state of the field and future challenges, Tengö and Andersson (2021) and Lang and Wiek (2021) describe the roles science and research can and will have in a broader exploration of actionable solutions. In essence, they argue, while scientific knowledge is vital for tackling the many complex and profound problems and challenges we are facing, perhaps it is rather a reframed scientific practice we should look to for finding real-world ‘solutions’? One of the most important insights from recent work on knowledge interfaces and joint learning processes is that both knowledge needs and processes for actively create and develop knowledge differ across situations and contexts. Thus, assessing and adapting to the context is critical to achieve active learning and for putting knowledge to use (Tengö and Andersson 2021). Deeper, richer and more continuous dialogues between scholars and other actors, beyond traditional education and extension work, would strengthen at least one pathway towards turning actionable knowledge into knowledge-in-use. Furthermore, this interface offers opportunities (and potentially risks) for researchers to make science more transparent and discuss the validity and application of their work. As Lang and Wiek (2021) say, more and more venues for joint learning are emerging, and experiences from these may cause research to think through just how we ask and answer questions.