Interdisciplinary research framework for identifying research needs. Case: bioenergy-biodiversity interlinkages

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Title: Interdisciplinary research framework for identifying research needs. Case: bioenergy-biodiversity interlinkages
Other contributor: Furman, Eeva
Peltola, Taru
Varjopuro, Riku
Publisher: Finnish Environment Institute
Date: 2009
Language: en
Belongs to series: The Finnish Environment 17/2009
ISBN: 978-952-11-3484-5
ISSN: 1796-1637
Abstract: A loss of biological diversity continues in spite of the existing, and in some respects, rather elaborate and heavy attempts at management and protection. It has been argued that one of the reasons for the lack of success is the unmet and challenging knowledge needs. Meeting the needs requires integration of various sciences and expertise, since attempts to manage biodiversity gives rise also to many emerging, complex and political questions. Integration of the disciplines needs practices that are able to overcome practical, institutional and cultural obstacles. ALTER-Net, a European network for research on biological diversity under the 6th framework programme, has aimed to undertake further interdisciplinary research that will feed into the addressing of societal needs. This report describes how the integration of research progressed and succeeded during the five year life span of ALTER-Net. Initially the integration between disciplines was given as an overall goal, which did result in determining concrete practices of integration between the sciences, teams and partner organisations. The analysis shows that in spite of complications an interdisciplinary research approach can evolve in large research networks, but this can happen also through unanticipated channels. A large network allows room for several parallel processes of integration. The report depicts the development of and choices leading to the development of an interdisciplinary research framework for ALTER-Net, the IDR framework. The framework presents a method to enhance interdisciplinary syntheses of emerging policy-relevant issues and to further develop the identification of relevant topics as interdisciplinary research projects. The IDR framework was tested by focusing on the interlinkages between the bioenergy question and biodiversity. The report consists of a synthesis of pressing research needs pertaining to that topic. The report presents how the IDR framework was constructed using a method that encourages dialogue between the disciplines and different expertise. The method tapped into a cost-effective way to obtain expertise from the European research network and collected a diverse set of research needs and ideas on the topic of bioenergy/biodiversity. Through the method a collection of hundreds of ideas were analysed and synthesised, distilling into four interdisciplinary research plans. The method provided to the end-users of the research findings and other stakeholders a channel for participating in planning of the research. Although the resulting IDR framework was designed to deal with European- wide biodiversity issues, it is applicable for the planning of research in other contexts and on other scales. It can be applied, for example, in designing the research strategy for long-term socio-ecological research platforms (LTSER) or planning research in multidisciplinary research organisations. The framework presented in the report creates possibilities for communication between research and decision-making. By using the framework, relevant topics for discussion are brought up, emerging research needs are reacted to for elaboration into concrete research projects, and finally research findings are conveyed to support decision-making. To achieve this requires organised and open collaboration between research organisations and other stakeholders. The collaboration can be created and enhanced by the tested method presented in this report.
Subject: luonnon monimuotoisuus

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