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Rapid Policy Network Mapping


This practice has developed and applied templates to visualise the relationships and dependencies between actors and instruments in Marine Policy.

Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
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Questions this practice may help answer

  • What method can I used to understand and visualise the relationships and dependencies between actors in Marine Policy?

Implementation Context

Understanding the relationships and dependencies in the development and implementation of environmental policy is essential to the effective management of the marine environment. A new method of policy network analysis called ‘Rapid Policy Network Mapping’ was developed that delivers an insight to both technical and non-technical users into the lifecycle, relationships and dependencies of policy development.

Aspects / Objectives

Understand the relationships and dependencies between actors in Marine Policy by using Rapid Policy Network Mapping


  • Two templates have been developed for this method: An actor template and a instruments template.

Actor template

Instruments template

  • The two templates have been used to understand the actor and instruments relationships in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Water Framework Directive in the UK on two levels: The MSDF on the UK level and two case studies (Anglia and Scotland) for the Water Framework Directive.

Main Outputs / Results

These studies highlight the environmental policy challenges to protect the UK’s marine coastal environment. They identify differences in the styles of policy implementation between the devolved authorities of the UK. Rapid Policy Network Mapping provides an opportunity to create a collaborative policy data environment with a relatively small investment. As a tool for civil society it should assist in their ability to understand and influence policy making and implementation.

The results on the UK MSFD Mapping, Anglia and Scottish Water Framework Directive Mapping can be found here.


The method can, with minor changes in the templates, be applied for in other countries and regions.

Responsible Entity  and Contact Person

Dr Tim O'Higgins

Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Scottish Marine Institute

Email: (Knowseas-coordination[at]sams[dot]ac[dot]uk)