Dragana Bojovic (Spain) 1; Isadora Christel (Spain) 1; Marta Terrado (Spain) 1; Paula Gonzalez (United Kingdom) 2; Erika Palin (United Kingdom) 3
1 - Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC); 2 - Department of Meteorology, University of Reading; 3 - Met Office Hadley Centre (UKMO)
Knowledge co-production between climate scientists and climate information users has become a leitmotif in the climate services discourse. Still, there is no broadly accepted understanding of what co-production means in practice. Moreover, the interface between climate service providers and users is considered the least-developed feature of climate services. Following up on WMO’s Guidance on Good Practices for Climate Services User Engagement (2018), we developed a three-step participatory framework to help establish a smooth and effective interface between scientists and stakeholders.
We trialled this participatory framework by applying it in PRIMAVERA, an EU H2020-funded project about designing and running new high-resolution global climate models. PRIMAVERA provides ground-breaking scientific findings that could potentially benefit various stakeholders and support climate risk assessment activities in Europe and beyond. Nonetheless, these results are highly specialised, with potentially large scientific uncertainty, and their added value is yet to be assessed. The communication, dissemination and user engagement component of the project thus had a challenging task to motivate potential users, which required an innovative and creative avenue. In this fashion, we applied the three-step participatory framework, including (i) engagement using various (online) communication channels, (ii) involvement through interviews, workshops and webinars, and (iii) empowering of stakeholders through focused relationships with climate data providers. This sequential participatory process gradually involved and trained more specialised users: from the broader stakeholder group identified throughawareness raising campaigns, over potential users whom we exchanged knowledge with, to a set of ñchampion usersî who co-produced the service and pioneered its use.
Alongside the evolving role of participants, the profile and role of scientists involved in the knowledge co-production has also varied. Science communicators had a lead role in the engagement process, helped by web developers. Next, social scientists designed the involvement process. Finally, impact researchers facilitated the application of the service in actual users’ decision-making processes. However, without genuine involvement of climate scientists, profound understanding between service providers and users could not be achieved. This interaction of the project’s interdisciplinary team with stakeholders, achieved by applying the three-step participatory framework, moved the project towards transdisciplinary knowledge production. We argue that transdisciplinarity is the way forward for reaching meaningful knowledge co-production in the climate services field.