Policy making is an extremely complex area of politics that brings together many different considerations, contexts, institutions and personalities.   Strategies for influencing the political dynamics of decision-making (Project A3.3) of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities unpacked some of this complexity in the urban water sector and developed strategic and tactical advice for those who want greater influence in the policy process. One of our main observations is that the role science and research play in a policy area can vary significantly and partly depends on how the problems are defined and structured. Scientists need to recognise this if they are to realistically appraise possibilities for interacting with the policy dynamics of an issue.