Sea & Coastal Research

Zee & Kust Onderzoek    

ZKO - Data & Information Portal

Procect : Engaging Science in Dynamic Decision Making for the Wadden Sea

Project details

Acronym : No acronym available
Full project name : Engaging Science in Dynamic Decision Making for the Wadden Sea
Initiating organisation : Wageningen University, Department of Social Sciences
Project leader : J.P.M. Tatenhove
Supporting organisation(s)-
Financing :
Project number : 83910160
Start date : Jan 01, 2009
End date : Dec 31, 2013


Programme :ZKO - Carrying Capacity: Line 1 - National Programme Sea and Coastal Research (ZKO) - Carrying Capacity: Line 1 - Policy-relevant Research
Main project :-


Description :

The project ''Engaging Science in Dynamic Decision Making for the Wadden Sea'' aims at clarifying and improving arrangements for the co-construction of scientific knowledge, by scientists and other stakeholders, in order to meet current and upcoming challenges in the Wadden Sea area. The research focuses on two cases, which are considered to be key emerging challenges in Wadden Sea policy and management in the coming years. One is the designation and management of Natura 2000 sites in the Wadden Sea and the North Sea coastal zone - in relation to existing and emerging forms of resource use and a changing institutional, socio-economic and biophysical context. The other case is the planning, construction and management of coastal and water works in the Wadden Sea area, in relation to the potential and actual impacts of climate change on the area. These cases are of high importance, not only in themselves, but also in confrontation with one another.


To achieve this aim, the project extends and applies a conceptual framework, consisting of three interrelated components.

The first component builds on the transdisciplinary approach to research, and more specifically on the elaboration of this approach in the conceptual model of ''engaged scholarship''. In this approach, specific arrangements of cooperation between scientists and stakeholders-practitioners are designed in order to facilitate the co-construction of knowledge that is both of practical relevance and of scientific quality.

The project will specifically focus on objects at the interfaces of natural and social science, and of science and, policy & management, also called ''boundary objects''. This is the second component. Examples are ecological indicators, specific types of zones, ecological allowed activities, fishing quota and fishing directives, Natura 2000 management principles, carrying capacities, safety levels, impact indicators used in environmental impact assessments and others.

The third component is based on Hollings'' approach of adaptive management, which posits that complex ecosystems can best be managed by creating flexible arrangements of collaborative decision-making units, which can quickly learn from and respond to newly emerging patterns of social and ecological dynamics, in locally-specific and short-time decision-making cycles.


This project is a close cooperation between the Environmental Policy Group of Wageningen University, IMARES, Wageningen UR Centre for Marine Policy, DELTARES and the Construction Management and Engineering group of Twente University. These groups are specialized in policy analysis, the dynamics of different forms of governance, marine biology and ecology, maritime construction works and infrastructural works and engineering, and will closely collaborate in the project.


This project consists of two PhD projects.

The first PhD investigates science-policy interactions concerning water engineering (dredging and maintenance of waterways) and coastal defence in the Wadden Sea area, and focuses on tensions (and possible synergies) between the need of engineering and construction interventions and the protection of nature-related functions in a context of an increasingly dynamic and uncertain system due to climate change.

The second PhD project investigates science-policy interactions concerning the designation, management and use of the Natura 2000 sites in the Wadden Sea area, and explores the potential role of engaged scholarship in science-policy arrangements for the construction of management plans for the Natura 2000 sites.

In the third year of the project, an integrating (international) conference will be organized, for which cooperation will be sought with the Wadden Academy and the NWO-ZKO Wadden projects. Aim of this conference is to present the research findings and to explore the opportunities for joint transdisciplinary research and policy making in different international settings.


bron: NWO