One of the research projects I have a work package leader role in is called COASTAL – and it is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. In this project, we take advantage of a unique multi-actor collaboration of coastal and rural business entrepreneurs, administrations, stakeholders, and natural and social science experts in our networks, and we developed a proposal where one of the aims was to formulate and evaluate business solutions and policy recommendations that had as its aim to improve coastal-rural synergies that could in turn foster rural and coastal development while still preserving the environment.
My role in this project is to lead the work on the six different case areas – located in Belgium, Greece, Sweden, France, Romania and Spain. Mostly this has entailed ensuring that we have methodological coherence – that all use the same methods in the same way so that it is possible to compare and contrast results afterwards.
In this meeting in Brussels, we had our 18 month review meeting where we reported on what has been happening in terms of results for the project the first year and a half of the four years we have at disposal. For my part, the work on workshops (six in each case area – 36 total) and multi-actor labs (mixes of these workshops from all six sectors in one larger workshop in each case area) were all finished, and reported on, and the work had been turned in.
The work package did get a lot of attention during the meeting – perhaps on account of being the first work package that was presented. I was fortunate that all the case area leaders also were in attendance and were able to ask the more in depth questions of their respective case areas when these came.
One of the concrete and valuable feedbacks that we did get was that the reviewers in general wanted more information about the methodology and preferably have a publication about this as well in time – so stay tuned for said publication which is getting ready for submission within the first half of 2020.
This is a really great group to work with as well – the project is lead by VITO in Belgium, who we also worked with during the Ocean Certain project and with whom we have great collaborations.