The general public, fertiliser companies, farmers, municipalities etc. are all part of the social context of the Run4Life project and can make or break the success of the project. Therefore, within Run4Life, stakeholder and public attitudes are explored to understand the reactions by the media and the public in relation to the technology proposed by the project (reuse nutrients from wastewater for fertilisers).
In Run4life work package 6 (WP6) is assigned to develop the social, institutional and legal features of the Run4Life technology to gain wide acceptance among its stakeholders. Stakeholders are for instance consumers, farmers and public authorities. To reach the goal of acceptance, WP6 aims to gain a better understanding of the expectations from the stakeholders and the social aspects related to the implementation of the Run4Life technologies. Furthermore, it aims to develop an engagement platform to support the feasibility and acceptance of the Run4Life technologies. The activities of WP6 include:
- Identification of the stakeholders and the social context at each demosite and visualisation of the connections between the stakeholders with stakeholder maps
- Identification of ways to analyse social acceptance of technologies
- Set up strategies for effective engagement
- Execute engagement activities (e.g. workshops and bilateral meetings)
In project report Deliverable 6.1 the stakeholders and social and political context identification are reported and the first steps in stakeholder engagement are described.
The Run4Life stakeholders are defined as those organisations that can show interest in and/or influence the context of nutrient recovery and water reuse technologies. Especially, organisations who are involved with the technologies developed within Run4Life and/or are situated in the nearby communities of the project demosites are important stakeholders.
Based on the initial state of the demosites (e.g. technologies, location, investors) an initial identification of stakeholders was done. Through Social Network Analysis a representation of their relationships and the social structure was made, resulting in stakeholder maps. These grow throughout the lifetime of the Run4Life project as further stakeholders are identified and added to the initial maps in a snowball process. The stakeholder maps of Sneek, Vigo, Helsingborg and Ghent can be accessed online.
Social Acceptance Analysis
Social acceptance of Run4Life technologies has been identified as a key enabler for its wider application in the market. A social acceptance analysis is performed to shed light on the psychosocial factors that influence acceptance and identify factors that influence effective public engagement. The psychosocial factors that were identified in Run4Life are associated with water resources and wastewater treatments, and their impact on the acceptance of recycled wastewater, nutrient recovery practices, and bio-solids for fertilizer production. Secondly, the suitable methods of public engagement and the best ways to communicate in the context of Run4Life were identified. We are collecting data by undertaking social engagement activities in the form of interviews and focus groups at each demosite.
Social engagement activities in the form of workshops, focus groups and general population questionnaires are organised for each demosite. The focus group meetings aim to gain further input for the stakeholder maps. Further, there are two types of workshops organised; for involved stakeholders and for fertiliser companies. The workshops with involved stakeholders help them to understand the importance of the information that is generated and the messages that are sent to the general population. Furthermore, they will learn how to correctly use said information to improve the acceptance of the project. Workshops with the fertiliser companies and general population questionnaires will help to get to know their perceptions regarding the reuse of nutrients.
A video is created about innovation in Social Network Analysis to generate better understanding in water reuse and nutrient recovery: