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      Co-producing research with academics and industry to create a more resilient UK water sector

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          Abstract

          Societal, economic and environmental impact generated by academic research is a key focus of publicly funded research in the UK. Drawing on experiences from the Safe & SuRe project, a five-year research project that was co-produced with industry, this paper explores the challenges, learnings and benefits of co-producing research with academics and practitioners to create a more resilient UK water sector. Three aspects of the project are explored in detail: the use of a steering group, co-developing research intensively with a water company, and co-dissemination industry-facing events. Emerging themes include: (1) benefits of the industry steering group to develop working relationships and trust among the group; (2) increased dialogue and sharing of information between industry and academics going beyond the one-way communication more commonly reported by STEM academics; and (3) the value of co-disseminating research to maintain and engage new connections and spark new research questions.

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          Most cited references 106

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          The co-production of science and policy in integrated climate assessments

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            Moving toward the Deliberate Coproduction of Climate Science Knowledge

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              Stakeholder engagement and knowledge exchange in environmental research.

              It is commonly put forward that effective uptake of research in policy or practice must be built upon a foundation of active knowledge exchange and stakeholder engagement during the research. However, what is often lacking is a systematic appreciation of the specific practices of knowledge exchange and their relative merits. The paper reports on a 2009 survey of 21 research projects within the UK Research Councils' Rural Economy and Land Use Programme regarding the involvement and perceived impact of over a thousand stakeholders in the research. The survey reveals that most stakeholders were involved as research subjects or as event participants. Large numbers were also engaged in the research process itself, including involvement in shaping the direction of research. Stakeholder engagement is perceived as bringing significant benefits to the process of knowledge production. A close relationship is found between mechanisms and approaches to knowledge exchange and the spread of benefits for researchers and stakeholders. Mutual benefits are gained from exchange of staff or where stakeholders are members of research advisory groups. Different stakeholder sectors are also associated with different patterns of engagement, which lead to contrasting impact patterns. Any efforts to alter knowledge exchange processes and outcomes must overcome these differing engagement tendencies. Overall, much greater attention should be given to early processes of knowledge exchange and stakeholder engagement within the lifetime of research projects.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                rfa
                rfa
                Research for All
                RFA
                UCL Press (UK )
                2399-8121
                22 September 2020
                : 4
                : 2
                : 150-168
                Affiliations
                University of Exeter, UK
                University of the West of England, UK
                National Centre for Earth Observation, Leicester, UK
                Water Industry Forum, Huddersfield, UK
                Scottish Water, UK
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Email: k.baker2@ 123456exeter.ac.uk
                Article
                10.14324/RFA.04.2.02
                Copyright © 2020 Baker, Ward, Turner, Webber, Sweetapple, Drake, Thomas, Melville-Shreeve, Fu, Cherington-Rimmell, Farmani and Butler

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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                Figures: 5, References: 38, Pages: 20
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