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Engaging stakeholders in research to address water-energy-food (WEF) nexus challenges

Hoolohan, C., Larkin, A., McLachlan, C., Falconer, R., Soutar, I., Suckling, James, Varga, L., Haltas, I., Druckman, Angela, Lumbroso, D. , Scott, M., Gilmour, D., Ledbetter, R., McGrane, S., Mitchell, C. and Yu, D. (2018) Engaging stakeholders in research to address water-energy-food (WEF) nexus challenges Sustainability Science, 13 (5). pp. 1415-1426.

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The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus has become a popular, and potentially powerful, frame through which to analyse interactions and interdependencies between these three systems. Though the case for transdisciplinary research in this space has been made, the extent of stakeholder engagement in research remains limited with stakeholders most commonly incorporated in research as end-users. Yet stakeholders interact with nexus issues in a variety of ways, consequently there is much that collaboration might offer to develop nexus research and enhance its application. This paper outlines four aspects of nexus research and considers the value and potential challenges for transdisciplinary research in each. We focus on assessing and visualising nexus systems; understanding governance and capacity building; the importance of scale; and the implications of future change. The paper then proceeds to describe a novel mixed-method study that deeply integrates stakeholder knowledge with insights from multiple disciplines. We argue that mixed-method research designs – in this case orientated around a number of cases studies – are best suited to understanding and addressing real-world nexus challenges, with their inevitable complex, non-linear system characteristics. Moreover, integrating multiple forms of knowledge in the manner described in this paper enables research to assess the potential for, and processes of, scaling up innovations in the nexus space, in order to contribute insights to policy and decision making.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Centre for Environmental Strategy
Authors :
Hoolohan, C.
Larkin, A.
McLachlan, C.
Falconer, R.
Soutar, I.
Varga, L.
Haltas, I.
Lumbroso, D.
Scott, M.
Gilmour, D.
Ledbetter, R.
McGrane, S.
Mitchell, C.
Yu, D.
Date : September 2018
Funders : Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
DOI : 10.1007/s11625-018-0552-7
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 15 Mar 2018 14:24
Last Modified : 11 Jun 2019 15:10

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