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Strategic Analysis of Capability and Capacity to Undertake Tree-Health-Related Research and Evidence Activity in the UK - TH0115

Group recommended that one of the actions should be to “Undertake a strategic analysis of capacity and capability to undertake tree-health-related research and evidence activity in the UK.”
The purpose of the LWEC Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative is to bring “the widest possible research capacity and capability in the UK to focus on the area of tree health and its associated plant biosecurity issues.” In doing so the Initiative recognises the need to develop innovative ways of addressing current and emerging tree health threats, and to facilitate collaboration between forest research specialists and leading scientists from the wider natural, biological, social, economic or other relevant research communities with other, broader expertise. In particular the Initiative wants to make best use of interdisciplinary and systems approaches and improve the impact and integration of social research and economics in this area. The aim of this project is to carry out an analysis of the current capacity and capabilities to undertake tree health research and evidence in the UK and then provide a mechanism through which potential new partners can be brought into the tree health research community in order to maximise the impact of the LWEC Initiative.
Strategic analysis
This project will carry out a strategic analysis of the current capacity and capability in the UK for tree health related research, combined with the development of mechanisms for extending engagement in such research amongst researchers with other expertise. The approach will be to take a broad perspective view of capacity building that will balance the development and maintenance of a critical mass of core capability in tree health research and evidence activity with an infusion of fresh thinking from engaged researchers beyond that group. Future tree health challenges should then benefit from innovative approaches drawing on a blend of core tree health expertise with expertise from other research arenas not conventionally deployed in this area.
Key steps and deliverables in this project
1. Mapping out the anticipated tree health research and evidence themes over the next ten years and the capabilities and capacities needed to deliver them.
Task 1 To create a map of the key themes for Tree Health research and evidence requirements. This will be done by drawing on the key outputs of the Science Expert Group and by interviewing key policy and funding customers (eg Forestry Commission, Defra, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Research Councils) to generate a view on the key themes and the capacity and capabilities required to deliver them. Deliverable: A map of key themes, capacity and capability requirements.
2. Assessing the current capabilities and capacities.
Task 2 Using the outputs from Task 1, to scan the current skills base, capacity and facilities and dependencies of those organizations in the UK that have received funding for tree health research and associated evidence activity in the last five years from the Forestry Commission, Defra, Research Councils and EU. This survey would also identify trends in capacity over that period and potential changes in the next ten years. This will help identify mismatches between current capabilities and capacities and those required to deliver future programme. Deliverable: A report on the assessment of current capacity and capabilities.
3. Identifying how to build new capabilities and/or capacity where required.
Task 3 Using the outputs from Tasks 1 and 2, frame key issues for the future and reach out to engage individuals (identified by the project team) well-placed in relevant fields who are not typically engaged in tree health research. This would be done through setting up three brainstorming workshops that bring together some of the key researchers in tree health research with some “new faces” so that innovative (and sometimes interdisciplinary) ideas are generated. Incentives for all concerned would be to provide some free thinking time for researchers with the potential of establishing research collaborations to pursue possible subsequent funding. Deliverable: Short reports from each workshop, including identification of potential collaborative areas and explicit reflection from participants as to effective mechanisms for broadening involvement.
Task 4 Drawing on Task 1 interviews and a session within Task 3 workshops dedicated to the participants’ own critical reflection, we will offer grounded recommendations as to effective incentives and mechanisms for broadening involvement in key issues as they arise in tree health research. Deliverable: Concise analysis of problems and opportunities, with a set of grounded recommendations to consider for bringing new partners into the tree health research community, ensuring innovation on an ongoing basis.
See project description
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : TH0115 FINAL REPORT   (893k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex F Key Research Themes   (11k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex G Trends in Capability   (11k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex H Types of Expertise   (12k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2013

Cost: £39,650
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Dr Laura R Meagher , Stephen Hunter
Plant health              
Plant Pests and Diseases