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National Resources Wales webinar

Published: 09 February 2017

In the current world it’s easy to get despondent about the use of evidence and data in decision making. But there is hope and many government organisations remain firmly committed to being evidence-based. This is why it’s vital that projects like MERP talk to policy and decision makers and that the latter understand how to use the information provided.

In an ideal world this would be a neat circular process, with people who need evidence clearly explaining what it is that they need to know, researchers providing improved understanding and suggesting ways in which thinking or decisions may need to change and policy makers / managers taking this on board, changing the world for the better and working out what they need to know next. In reality we are often too busy and “I really must phone x” and “I’ll read that paper tomorrow” are heard more frequently than they should be.

To counteract this problem, MERP and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) organised a Skype meeting between key researchers and staff in NRW and Welsh Government (WG). NRW has a wide remit in the marine environment, including advising on marine protected sites, monitoring, issuing marine licenses, flood risk and coastal erosion and incident response. Some of the things that are particularly pertinent at the moment are the proposed expansion in offshore renewable energy in Welsh waters and a shift in focus to sustainable management of natural resources throughout Wales.

MERP scientists presented their work on biodiversity data, modelling and management scenarios, top predators and ecosystem services. All of these are relevant to the work of NRW and WG and the meeting will hopefully now enable closer communication between staff in NRW and MERP researchers. A useful discussion followed, particularly in terms of future work, where there is huge potential for collaboration between MERP and NRW and WG regarding the case studies in Cardigan Bay.

From MERP's point-of-view, the webinar was an opportunity to update potential benificiaries on the programme's progress, highlighted key areas of interest to Welsh regulators and policy managers, defined the language being used by this group of stakeholders and provided the team with vital insight on preferred communication methods. The report can be accessed here.

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