Perfecting the 'Elevator Pitch'? Expert advice as locally-situated boundary work

James Palmer*, Susan Owens, Robert Doubleday

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
449 Downloads (Pure)


Conventional accounts of expert authority frequently over-simplify relations between science and politics, and presume the existence of a singular ‘interface’ between these domains. In contrast, this article draws on semi-structured interviews to document how the authority of UK Chief Scientific Advisers emerges from their engagement in the construction and bridging of several distinct but interrelated boundaries. Building on co-productionist accounts of science–policy interactions, the paper moreover contends that these various boundaries are themselves constituted within place-specific contexts. The locally-situated, material conditions of advice-giving, in short, fundamentally shape the hybridisation and mutual alignment of science and politics around specific governance objectives. Further analytical work on expert advisory processes and expert authority should, we contend, be more closely attuned to the roles played by discursive, social, and material factors in facilitating boundary bridging and co-production in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberscy054
Pages (from-to)244-253
Number of pages10
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number2
Early online date24 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Boundary work
  • Co-production
  • Expertise
  • Materiality
  • Science-policy 'interface'


Dive into the research topics of 'Perfecting the 'Elevator Pitch'? Expert advice as locally-situated boundary work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this