Navigating or steering Living Labs? The critical role of researchers in knowledge co-production for climate change adaptation
The project aims to understand the changing role of the researcher involved in transdisciplinary action research, by identifying the different instruments and mechanisms (s)he uses to influence the contexts and the process of knowledge co-production. The project is funded within the ULB-Action Blanche programme.
The participation of different stakeholders in collaborative climate change adaptation actions are currently receiving widespread attention in the scientific literature and policy-making. In a growing number of European cities, Living Labs emerged involving citizens, civil society organisations, researchers and public authorities in the implementation of place-based local solutions (e.g. blue and green infrastructure) to create more robust and resilient built environments. In this context, the role of researchers broadens from observers of a phenomenon, to engaged participants that trigger and sustain change. Even though this new research environment requires different skills and capacities from researchers, we still have a reduced understanding of what these changes entail in research practice. The project aims to explore the role and practices of researchers in Living Labs for climate change adaptation, specifically through analysing:
- what mechanisms researchers use to navigate transdisciplinary action research and to facilitate knowledge co-production;
- how researchers’ roles change in time, what they entail and how researchers navigate this process;
- how researchers, through their actions, can influence the contexts and the process of knowledge co-production (e.g. better understanding of the conditions causing actors’ contextual vulnerabilities, integrate perspectives of most vulnerable actors, create space for learning and empowerment).
The project adopts a methodological approach grounded on desk-based and case-study research based on cross-case analysis of a selection of exemplary case studies in Europe and outside Europe and participatory observations and conversations in local networks working in Living Labs in 2 case studies: Brussels (Belgium) and Zwolle (Netherlands).