This article discusses how aspects related to policymakers’ demands for knowledge shape preferences for science-policy models such as Mode 1 and Mode 2. It focuses on the demands that Polish policymakers make of science and how they envision their role in the knowledge production process in the field of environmental policy. The article applies a set of criteria on how policymakers define usable knowledge to better understand preference and use in practice of different science-policy models. Results show that preferences for Mode 1 or Mode 2 are in part the result of trade-off between criteria of quality, relevance, conformity, and action orientation. While science can provide truth and usable knowledge in both Mode 1 and 2, Mode 1 is attractive when policymakers have specific political demands: they may use it to avoid responsibility for negative policy outcomes or to discredit undesirable results.