TJ16.1 Using Stakeholder Engagement and Social Science to Generate Useful Information and Accelerate Research to Operations for Water Management, Drought Monitoring, and Wildlife Management

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 8:30 AM
North 226C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Heather Yocum, CIRES, Boulder, CO; and A. J. Ray

Stakeholder engagement and co-production are recognized best practices for developing useful and usable science information, but how does this work in practice when developing new information tools or transitioning research to operations (R2O)? This presentation discusses how stakeholder engagement informed the design of four products at different stages of the research, development, and R2O processes: the Water Resources Monitor and Outlook (WRMO), the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI), an experimental report providing spatial snow information, and a climate and weather data set targeted towards wildlife managers in the north-central US. Working on interdisciplinary and inter-agency teams, we found that there is no single way or best time to communicate with and/or engage stakeholders and end-users: different degrees of stakeholder engagement can be used to in different ways and at different stages in the research and R2O pathway to inform the development of usable products and information. However, our research demonstrates that frequent and early communication and engagement between users and producers of information can help build trust and identify measures for success that meet the needs of researchers in different fields and diverse stakeholders while working within budgetary, time, and disciplinary constraints. We also highlight the unique contributions of social science research to facilitating communication between producers and users of information, especially as it relates to the R2O process and the goal of producing usable information. Together, these four case studies demonstrate practical ways to engage and communicate with users during different stages of project design and development to reach project-specific goals.
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