A team led by Kit Macleod from the James Hutton Institute would like to draw on your experiences and perspectives on the why, what and how of nexus approaches for understanding linkages within and across water, energy, food and environment. This will contribute to the Systems Thinking in Environment-People Science nexus thinkpiece.
The team are addressing 3 main questions:
- Why are nexus approaches required (from the different perspectives of research, policy and practice)?
- What are the existing nexus approaches across all domains and related integrative frameworks and framings in these domains and what do they provide to nexus thinking on water, energy, food and environment?
- How do we or could we (design and) carry out nexus approaches as teams of researchers and non-research stakeholders?
To take part, please consider three questions and email your responses to Kit.Macleod@hutton.ac.uk by Friday 26 September.
More information from the Systems Thinking in Environment-People Science project team
We will be developing / producing a working paper for the Nexus Network and would like to draw on your experiences and perspectives on why, what and how of nexus approaches for understanding linkages within and across the domains of water, energy, food and environment, and more widely.
Your views will be incorporated into our review. We will acknowledge your contribution in our working paper, and if you are interested in co-authorship then please contact one of the team.
Key points from our initial workshop on the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the nexus
Why are nexus approaches required (from the different perspectives of research, policy and practice)? As members of a global community we face fundamental connected challenges. These lie within and across the domains of water (e.g. access to water, clean water), energy (e.g. supply, sustainability), food (e.g. security, access, health) and environment (e.g. biodiversity, wellbeing), and more widely e.g. employment and commerce. These challenges are complex, involving multi-level and multi-scale manifestations, and linked systems, characterized by non-linear natural and human behaviours. A nexus approach recognizes the complexity of these inextricably linked domains, and the value of taking a holistic perspective in addressing such challenges.
What are the existing nexus approaches across all domains and related integrative frameworks and framings in these domains and what do they provide to nexus thinking on water, energy, food and environment? Are nexus approaches already being used, or is the notion of a nexus innovative and helpful in improving decision making in these domains? Learning from and harnessing diverse existing approaches, best practice guidance, and decision tools, especially from soft and hard systems-based methodologies, is needed to ensure that this approach develops in a way that improves on existing performance rather than reinventing the wheel.
How do we or could we (design and) carry out nexus approaches as teams of researchers and non-research stakeholders? Taking a practical focus in developing and implementing a series of principles for a nexus approach, to include: framing the nexus issue to be addressed as a challenge rather than a problem; transcending existing dualisms, i.e. artificial distinctions, e.g. public/private; viewing an issue broadly enough to encompass the four linked domains; taking an integrative approach in researching the interdependencies and connections of the nexus; collaborating widely and producing research findings through knowledge exchange, and negotiated methodologies; selecting the team for specific expertise and team working ability that includes effective communication, and openness to different perspectives and approaches; taking time to build relationships, develop shared understanding and identify shared values; and incorporate process evaluation to assess progress of projects and our ability to work together.
The Nexus Network aims to foster debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the nexus (linked domains) of food, energy, water and the environment. The network is funded by the ESRC to bring together researchers, policy makers, business leaders, and civil society to develop collaborative projects and improve decision making on challenges in this nexus.
Thank you for your input and please do not hesitate to contact one of us for more information.
Kate Irvine (Katherine.Irvine@hutton.ac.uk); Jose Munoz-Rojas (Jose.Munoz-Rojas@hutton.ac.uk); Mags Currie (Margaret.Currie@hutton.ac.uk), Sue Morris (Sue.Morris@hutton.ac.uk), Pete Falloon (Pete.Falloon@metoffice.gov.uk) and Kit Macleod (Kit.Macleod@hutton.ac.uk).