Nature conservation organisations increasingly turn to new digital technologies to help deliver conservation objectives. This has led to collaborative forms of working with academia to spearhead digital innovation. Through in-depth interviews with three UK research-council-funded case studies, we show that by working with academics conservation organisations can receive positive and negative impacts, some of which cut across their operations. Positive impacts include new ways of engaging with audiences, improved data workflows, financial benefits, capacity building and the necessary digital infrastructure to help them influence policy. Negative impacts include the time and resources required to learn new skills and sustain new technologies, managing different organisational objectives and shifts in working practices as a result of the new technologies. Most importantly, collaboration with academics was shown to bring the opportunity of a profound change in perspectives on technologies with benefits to the partner organisations and individuals therein.
Bibliographical noteWe would like to thank all interviewees for
sharing their experiences of working with academics, and the guest
editor and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on
earlier versions of the work. The research in this paper is supported by
the RCUK dot.rural Digital economy Research Hub, University of
Aberdeen (Grant reference: EP/G066051/1).
- digital technologies
- impact assessment
- nature conservation
- partnership working with academia
- citizen science
- stakeholder engagement
- ecological research