MARIPOLDATA is an ERC Starting Grant project running from November 2018 to October 2023. We develop and apply a new interdisciplinary and multi-scale approach to study science-policy interrelations in practice. The project uses ongoing negotiations on a new international legally binding instrument under the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) to study these processes in action.

Marine biodiversity science and data play a central role: Firstly, in supporting intergovernmental efforts to identify, protect and monitor marine biodiversity. Secondly, in informing governments interested in particular aspects of marine biodiversity, including its economic use and its contribution to biosecurity. In examining how science and data is represented and used, the project creates a novel understanding of the materiality of science-policy interrelations and identifies new forms of power in global environmental politics as well as develop the methodologies to do so.

This is crucial because the capacities to develop and use data infrastructures are unequally distributed among countries and global initiatives for data sharing are significantly challenged by conflicting perceptions of who benefits from marine biodiversity research. Despite broad recognition of these challenges within natural science communities, the political aspects of marine biodiversity science and data remain understudied. Academic debates tend to neglect the role of international politics in legitimising and authorising scientific concepts, data sources and criteria and how this influences national monitoring priorities.

The central objective of MARIPOLDATA is to overcome these shortcomings by developing and applying a new multiscale methodology for grounding the analysis of science-policy interrelations in empirical research.

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