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Workshops Conclusions: Research Demands

This section summarises the research demands in different key areas. These research demands have been identified within of the regional ICT-ENSURE workshops (see community events).

Identified Research Demand across different Workshops and Key Areas

Accessibility of data and information

It has been recognised that in most cases there is no shortage of data, but that the bottle neck consists in making primary data accessible in a standardised and harmonised way. Still, especially in research areas depending on data from remote areas, or where research is conducted in remote areas, the lack of access to the internet and to information is still an important issue.

Information exchange – communication – co-operation

Throughout all key areas, aspects of information exchange, communication and cooperation have been specifically addressed. The terms used to describe these needs, differed from workshop (and context) to workshop: A development of a data commons was addressed in the Paris workshop to not only store data electronically but to create a vibrant environment for exchange of data. The need for an inventory of best practice cases and case-studies for the application of new technologies has been expressed in the climate change context, called a “central inventory of industrial symbiosis projects” in the industrial ecology workshop. The term of “environmental observatories” has been coined concerning natural resources management for collecting and documenting stakeholder knowledge

Education

The aspect of ICT and education has been addressed in several ways across the different workshops. So has ICT as a tool for education to support awareness building on environmental issues been seen as important. On the other hand e-learning applications can be seen (at least theoretically) as a way of reducing the environmental impact by reducing the need for travel. The third connection in which education and ICT was mentioned, addressed the importance of educating people (stake-holders, local community …) in the use of ICT in order to facilitate collection of and access to data. In this respect the issue of the language barrier for the application of ICT has been mentioned.

Trans-disciplinary challenge for successful implementation of new technologies

Very often the cultural challenges have been stressed before the technological ones. Integrated approaches to include interdisciplinary aspects have been recommended throughout the different workshops. It has been stressed to take the specific needs of the involved actors and actor-groups into account, to integrate stakeholders in order to promote better understanding and to make local (qualitative) knowledge available. The requirements, social and cultural barriers of the users need to be analysed and impediments to making data freely accessible need to be addressed.

Generally the integrative approach of the workshops and of the project itself has been regarded as very positive. The involvement of different actors and actor groups in the general development of results and the discussions can be seen as an approach to addressing the cultural challenges regarding the application and acceptance of information and communication technologies.

Decision Support and Modelling

In the majority of the workshops (climate, natural resources, risk management) the issue of creating “simple” models and the use of those models for decision making has been addressed. It still has to be determined what the requirements of simple models are, in order to be used by the public, stakeholders and decision makers. The potential to create visual information, to support the decision making process, to better understand and prevent rebound effects and to make the impacts of actions visible for everyone who is interested should be further explored (action research).