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Knowledge production, communication and negotiation for coastal governance under climate change

Final Report Summary - KNOWHOW (Knowledge production, communication and negotiation for coastal governance under climate change)

KnowHow aimed to improve the capacities of participant institutions and researchers in producing, translating and effectively delivering scientific knowledge to decision makers, with an emphasis on local governments on the coastal zone as key actors in adaptation to climate change. The project involved research staff secondments between four European institutions (Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Portugal; Delft University of Technology, Netherlands; Helmholtz-Zentrum-Geesthacht, Climate Service Centre Germany; University of Bergen, Norway) and the South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The secondments took place in the framework of research initiatives and research teams at host institutions. In total, the project implemented 38 staff secondments, totalling 55.7 research months. This represented 41.5% of the total researcher months included in the original proposal. Despite the deficit in the implementation of secondments, the project made significant progress in achieving its objectives. It successfully facilitated a high number of research collaborations oriented towards informing policy and decision-making. Many of these research initiatives involved interactions with stakeholders and were directly relevant to coastal management and climate change adaptation (Objective 1). It also developed and tested a framework and methods to understand local governance for climate change adaptation, focusing on local government as key actors in adaptation. The framework provides a basis to understand the use of scientific and other types of knowledge by local governments for adaptation planning, and knowledge and capacity needs (Objective 2). The project organised a number of workshops aimed at building capacity of researchers to design, implement and communicate policy-relevant research; and provided various opportunities for engagement between researchers and stakeholders (Objective 3). The staff secondments were instrumental in strengthening networking between KnowHow participants, and between them and other institutions in South Africa. A subset of KnowHow participants submitted a collaborative proposal to the H2020-INT-INCO-2014, which was not successful. The stakeholder-oriented transdisciplinary research proposal on management of coastal zones in a changing climate did not materialise (Objective 4). However, there are various plans for future research collaborations in various areas, including Marine Spatial Planning, Integrated Coastal Management and the Ocean Economy. The potential for future research collaborations as a result of KnowHow is high and the development of a successful proposal for H2020 in the near future is extremely likely. Key successes of this project include: creating research opportunities and capacity building for a number of European and South African early career researchers; and transfer of knowledge through collaborative research, training workshops and interactions between researchers, and between researchers and decision-makers. Another key achievement was expanding and strengthening research networks between European and South African research institutions. The link with Helmholtz-Zentrum-Geesthacht’s Climate Service Centre Germany contributed to developing climate services competencies at CSIR; while the collaboration between TUDelft and the CSIR was further strengthened. Also worth highlighting was the expanded networking between CSIR and FCSH, which resulted in the identification of a number of innovative areas for future research. Overall, the project was highly beneficial for most of the institutions involved. Regrettably, there were no secondments between UiB and CSIR. UiB was unable to identify sufficiently strong common research connections with CSIR to send researchers to South Africa; while the high cost of living in Norway was a major constraint to CSIR sending researchers to Norway. A common problem experienced by all participating institutions was to second Experienced Researchers (ERs) for long periods of time owing to teaching and other obligations. Instead, ERs usually tended make short trips, no longer than two weeks. These were effective and highly successful at strengthening networking and research collaborations. Yet, they required co-funding from host institutions since the EU flat rate funding per researcher/month makes short secondments to South Africa financially unfeasible due to high travel costs.