Expert scientific knowledge is fast becoming an integral part of disaster management, and, in the process, is changing the role of science for the reduction of disaster risks at the policy level. Yet science and policy operate in different domains between which there are often competing interests and modes of valuing knowledge. Based on research done as part of the research project Enhancing Synergies for Disaster Prevention in the European Union (ESPREssO), we discuss three major issues facing European Union member states with respect to the interface between science and policy for disaster risk reduction: knowledge transfer, disaster expertise, and risk awareness. In doing so, we hone in on three gaps: an epistemological gap, an institutional gap, and a strategic gap. We argue that these gaps can help explain underlying systematic challenges for the integration between science and policy for disaster risk reduction. These gaps need to be addressed by focusing on changes at the governance level.