Involving stakeholders in research is becoming more popular for a number of reasons, including the desire to build trust in science, have an impact on real-world problem solving, empower local communities as change agents, or to meet donor accountability requirements and leverage funding. However, scientists are not always prepared for the opportunities and challenges associated with facilitating dialog and learning among diverse project participants. This session features four case studies to provoke discussion around the philosophy and practice of stakeholder engagement. Contexts span multiple natural resource domains from oyster management, to public utility water planning, to agricultural farming practices and springs protection. Panelists will share insights on enhancing the design and practice of stakeholder engagement to build trust in research, offering examples of nuts-and-bolts tactics, tools and approaches. Each panelist draws on skills learned at the Florida Natural Resource Leadership Institute (NRLI). This UF-based Institute builds collaborative capacity among professionals across the state of Florida by teaching approaches for trust building, including empathic listening, stakeholder analysis, framing, power dynamics, conflict management, and facilitation.
Moderated Panel Discussion
- � Reflect on motives for building trust in science and the role of stakeholder engagement
- � Hear about tools, skills and approaches for involving stakeholders in research
- � Discuss the application of insights to your own practice
Speakers & Panelists
Research Assistant Scientist, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, NRLI Project Team. Case Description: The Floridan Aquifer Collaborative Engagement for Sustainability (FACETS) project brings together teams of bio-physical and social scientists from across the southeastern US with stakeholders representing farming, forestry, local government, and conservation in a participatory modeling process. Together, project participants develop and examine future pathways and tradeoffs associated with ensuring economically sustainable agriculture and silviculture in North Florida and South Georgia while also protecting water quantity and quality of the Floridan Aquifer. This case highlight the opportunities and challenges associated with creating, managing, an engaged group of stakeholders and scientists navigating participatory modeling.
Research Coordinator, University of Florida Water Institute
Case Description: Public water supply utilities are facing unique challenges in water supply planning and operations that are increasingly impacted by climate change and associated extreme weather events and sea level rise. Readily available climate model data however is typically at a scale and resolution that is not relevant for regional water supply and demand models. The Florida Water and Climate Alliance (WCA), facilitated by the UF Water Institute, has been bringing together climate scientists and water utilities, water management districts, and local government representatives for nearly 10 years to develop useful and applicable climate science data and tools to support improved water management and planning in the face of climate change.
Science Policy Fellow, National Academies of Science, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).
Description: From oyster harvesters to seafood distributors to consumers, many people have a stake in the future of oyster reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. While some management projects on the Gulf Coast have begun to incorporate stakeholder engagement into their initiatives, a range of barriers prevent these activities from being as impactful as they could be. We facilitated a workshop with diverse stakeholders to develop a communications tool for natural resource managers that serves to increase the effectiveness of outreach around oyster management projects, with the goals of increasing stakeholder buy-in, building and repairing relationships between groups, and generating innovative ideas for oyster management.