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Bioenergy dialogue impacts on BBSRC strategy and thinking

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In January 2015, one year after the completion and publication of the reports from the BBSRC bioenergy dialogue project, BBSRC published an update on the influence of the project on their strategy and thinking. They confirmed that the dialogue had achieved the following impacts:

•    Although the dialogue did not reveal significant new insights into public views and values around bioenergy, it was "reassuring that what BBSRC already understood about public views and values on bioenergy had been supported".

•    The dialogue findings and involvement of BBSRC staff in dialogue events  increased organisational awareness of the importance of the 'triple bottom line' of economic, social and environmental impacts of research. [This relates to the findings from the dialogue that researchers should think about "the 'bigger picture' issues of benefit and fairness, impact and sustainability" (page 5 of dialogue report)]. This was now being applied to proposed research in this area where new, practical bioenergy applications are being development and applicants are being asked to fully consider the wider impacts of their research.

•    The dialogue informed BBSRC communications and engagement work around bioenergy. It revealed that the public participants had limited baselines awareness of the issues around bioenergy and wanted to learn more.

•    The most significant impacts of the project were expected to be on BBSRC's and others' practice around public engagement and dialogue: BBSRC had contributed to two EU projects relating to the future shape of public engagement in the EU (Engage 2020 and PE2020). There was learning about the model of distributed dialogue used in the project, and BBSRC would "certainly consider using a similar model again".

•    The dialogue developed understanding across a wider number of BBSRC staff as to the value and complexities of public dialogue, and "was valuable as an exercise in supporting and encouraging BBSRC-funded researchers to do public engagement". The resulting toolkit was also "well received".

See related project page: Bioenergy Distributed Dialogue