Collecting evidence from research-informed practices The case of Floodplain Meadows
We will report on our experiences of generating evidence of the impacts from engaged research and the import role played by 'blended professionals'. This reflects on participation in The Open University's Public Engagement with Research Catalyst, Engaging Research Seed Funding Award Scheme, based on the track record of engagement built up over a number of years through the Floodplain Meadow Partnership (FMP). FMP sit in a unique position functioning in the notion of a 'third place' between practitioners (floodplain meadow managers), policy makers (Natural England - the organization that manages the agri-environment scheme), and academic researchers (at The Open University). FMP aims for participating in the seed-funded award-scheme were to better understand the role site-specific advice played in translating the government-funded Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agriculture environment scheme for benefiting and creating new species-rich floodplain meadows. Through 16 semi-structured telephone interviews (with site managers and an interview with a national representative of Natural England), the HLS scheme was found to benefit site management and that the input of FMP was invaluable in helping to determine management and support site managers by providing excellent technical advice and support. Moreover given the 'third space' FMP occupied, this relatively light-weight evaluation was also able to inform other stakeholder conversations, having a positive impact on their understanding of the meadows; helping to galvanize management proposals into action.
A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.