The project also ran the second stakeholder event at the end of the SoLACE annual meeting to take advantage of an external meeting that was running at the same time – the Durum Days, which took place on May 16 and 17, 2018. The SolACE project managed to attract several external stakeholders, who provided some great input and feedback on the developing technological innovations. The second SoLACE stakeholder event was organized by SolACE partner CREA in collaboration with the University of Newcastle.
The stakeholder event was run in a similar format to the UK TV show ‘Dragon’s Den’. Here, the scientists have just 6 minutes each to pitch their innovation to the audience and then the audience acts as a critical evaluator to challenge, question and interrogate the scientists.
At the end of the presentation of five selected SolACE innovations, we asked the audience to fill in a short questionnaire, where they anonymously evaluated each innovation and provided further written comments. We will use this feedback to help shape and improve our work.
The stakeholder event was a fun, interactive and informative session, where we learnt a lot from the external stakeholders on what they think of the developing innovations. It was also very handy for the partners in the audience who learned in greater detail what work is being conducted. Plus it challenged the scientists to present their work in a clear, concise manner that could be readily understood by the general public.
Having a two-way communication channel between the external stakeholders and the SolACE partners is a crucial part of this the SolACE project. It not only helps the scientists improve their innovations to ensure they will be useful and applicable outside of the lab, but it also helps to build relationships between scientists and other stakeholders. This is an essential part in making sure that SolACE is participatory, collaborative and includes knowledge from multiple sources.
The proceedings of the second SolACE stakeholder event are currently compiled and will be available early summer 2018.
Next SolACE stakeholder events
We shall potentially run a third stakeholder event next year in Dundee, Scotland, where we hope to try another fun, collaborative format to gain feedback from the audience.
The final SoLACE stakeholder event will take place in 2021 in Brussels, organized by project partner ECAF. If you have any ideas for how we can run this last workshop, do get in touch!
Niki Rust, University of Newcastle, UK
Nicola Pecchioni, CREA, Foggia, Italy