COOPWEM directly goes back to the research needs identified during the implementation of the Marie-Curie project MTKD-CT-2004-014312 that has been implemented in CEIFA mostly under the scientific coordination of Mrs Suhita Osório-Peters. She was one of the guest researchers who joined our institution with a Marie-Curie stipend (Sept 2005 – Aug 2007). Before, she had more than 10 years full-time experience as a researcher in Germany. Her academic background is economics with a post-graduation in environmental sciences. She has excellent communication, coordination and leadership skills, and she really ‘thinks’ interdisciplinary. Our experience with her was excellent. Now, we jointly apply for a reintegration grant, in order to promote the framework conditions that ensure long-term job stability to Mrs Osório-Peters in our institution. COOPWEM is a research project with a duration of three years that addresses very topical issues and emphasizes an integrated approach of three complementary research areas: a) new instruments for the management of natural resources, b) local innovation systems and c) solidarity economy. By means of participatory approaches, it addresses the hypotheses that institutions based on cooperative arrangements are key elements of local innovation systems; still, the economic benefit of community based institutions is particularly important in the management of natural resources. It will focus on the analysis of the framework conditions that promote (or hinder) the implementation of new instruments in the field of natural resources management in Portugal. In particular, it will analyse the role of water users’ associations (WUA), as well as that of small scaled energy producers’ cooperatives, for sustainable regional development. Since CEIFA wants to enlarge its service offer into the areas of water and renewable energies management, COOPWEM perfectly links Mrs Osório-Peters own career development plan with the strategic goals of our enterprise.
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