Knowledge is able to fill information gaps in decision-making. This may concern the nature of the problem, the development of solutions and the assessment of their effects. In BwN projects, multiple disciplines (e.g. ecology, engineering, socio-economics, public admistration) are to be integrated. It is crucial to capitalize on expert knowledge available. Note, however, that facts and knowledge can be negotiated and that uncertainty is inherent to BwN and should not be ignored. The following actions need to be undertaken:
- Create a knowledge strategy: In BwN projects such strategies are based on the assumption that knowledge is inherently related to a particular policy field and needs to be integrated across policy fields. The former is conceptualized by means of a knowledge arrangement: actors, discourse, rules and regulations and resources affect the process of knowledge structuring and vice versa. Knowledge arrangements are confronted with each other and interact in BwN projects. The knowledge strategy in BwN projects relates to this confrontation and interaction among knowledge arrangements.
- Create a strategy regarding uncertainties: Dealing with uncertainties is of major importance in BwN projects, since they are inherent to such projects. The uncertainties in a project using BwN principles can be numerous and of different types. Therefore focus on the uncertainties that can become a major concern. Start to manage these uncertainties as early as possible by stimulating participation and cooperation and offering perspectives on how to deal with them. Aim to avoid or reduce feelings of insecurity among people by giving proper attention to their concerns. The following general rules should be observed when choosing a strategy for coping with the three main types of uncertainty:
- Unpredictability: Develop a strategy to make people realise and accept that there are fundamental limits to what can be known and that unpredictability cannot be reduced by doing more research; a well-known example is the weather, which is unpredictable beyond a time horizon of about two weeks; aggregation in space and time sometimes helps to deal with uncertainty: in case of the weather, climate is an aggregated representation that can be known again;
- Incomplete knowledge: Develop a strategy to extend or improving the available knowledge. If we know more or better, this type of uncertainty can be reduced. As many natural processes have a long time horizon, however, this may take more time than available in an ongoing BwN-project;
- Multiple knowledge frames: Develop a strategy to deal with multiple knowledge frames (ambiguity); if this plays a role, more or better knowledge does not solve the problem, creating mutual understanding is the way forward here (visualisation and managing uncertainties).
- Check the Knowledge lessons learned from several BwN projects