Connecting Research, Policy Development and Business Perspectives

By Martijn Steenstra, Doug Lewis and Tom Raadgever

 

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Are you a researcher? Are you a policy developer, or are you interested in flood risk management from a business perspective? If so this column should interest you, as a member of the Triple Helix structure that influences current realities of flood risk governance.

STAR-FLOOD aims to provide research relevant to practitioners, leading to improvements in the way organisations deal with flood risk governance in urban areas. This is a challenging project as the six involved countries all follow their own path towards a safer future, with individual policies, milestones, and programmes based on the overarching European framework.

 Combining ideas from government institutions, universities and businesses is often the key to change. In the STAR-FLOOD consortium, research universities and the private sector are working together. As a consultancy, Grontmij sees on a daily basis, through our project work, the challenges our clients in the public sector face. Our involvement in the seventh framework programme offers us the opportunity to link and complete the Triple Helix structure. One major challenge is to make sure that the research is useful and that it is used! Therefore, we will organize throughout the project, meetings with potential users of the research results, actors in the case study areas, high-level policymakers and experts in flood risk management.

 STAR-FLOOD will provide research results and guidelines in the coming three years, which is a long period for practitioners to wait for best practice guides. In the Netherlands, for instance, the Delta Programme is currently being implemented, with major decisions regarding flood safety to be presented in 2014 and the preparations of these decisions are already having an impact on regional flood risk governance arrangements. In the UK, the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy and Partnership Funding has been introduced and lead local authorities are making progress on their local strategies.

The knowledge dissemination activities will therefore aim to create an interactive dialogue throughout the research project between the Triple Helix participants in the six countries. This process is deemed to be more fruitful than presenting research results at the end of the process. Dialogue and discussion should improve both the quality of the research and increase the impact of research outcomes.

 Interactions between participants are required on many different levels and forms. Forums such as the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (Hamburg, 29th March 2013) are ideal for discussing multi-actor governance issues, and we held an interactive practitioners discussion at this event with stakeholders, feeding the results back to the European wide research. In addition we involve a wider audience through the use of social media, as a broad range of experts are willing to contribute to the discussion, bringing their own experiences and initiatives.

 

More information:

–      Have a look at the rest of our website, including the first version of the interactive Guidebook which will be further developed throughout the project;

–      Contact our dissemination team through our website;

–      Participate in online discussions at the Linked-in groups in which we are involved, and

–      Soon to be published on our website:  the inception report: “Governance challenges for Flood Risk Management – A problem analysis and a first analysis of the responses at the EU and national level”.