Due to the interdisciplinary and anthropocentric nature of ecosystem services research, gaining traction in the ‘real-world’ requires effective societal engagement.
Whilst many in ESCom Scotland have undoubtedly undertaken stakeholder engagement activities as part of their research, delivering societal impact alongside academic excellence can be challenging, compounded by the lack of comprehensive frameworks to enable researchers to efficiently plan, manage and monitoring stakeholder engagement activities.
Rather than offering a prescriptive method for engaging with stakeholders, the Handbook presents a best-practice framework within which researchers can determine the most appropriate approach for engaging stakeholders in biodiversity and ecosystem services research. The Handbook offers practical advice and methods for defining ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ to engage with stakeholders and explains how to plan, review and assess engagement activities and ways of avoiding conflict.
Effective stakeholder engagement offers a multitude of benefits: improved relationships and professional networking; increased empowerment of stakeholders; greater learning through shared experience; enhanced credibility and legitimisation of the research; improved access to un-tapped resource and information; and, risk and conflict management. Most importantly for researchers, it improves the impact and societal relevance of research, leading to better outcomes for biodiversity and society.