The alliance of almost 70 EU funded projects, the European Bioeconomy Network held its annual workshop on 11 November 2020.
The recent months of the Covid-19 crisis affected our private and professional lives equally. How the changes influenced the work of the Coordination and Support Action projects was the main topic of this event. A representative of the BIOEASTsUP showed the challenges the CSA project had to face when engaging stakeholders and cope with the emerging obstacles during the times of the pandemic.
The Network supporting and promoting bioeconomy organized a mutual learning workshop in accordance with the upcoming Global Bioeconomy Summit (16-20 November). The workshop’s aim was to show how the different projects have overcome the challenges that arouse from a very unusual situation. In the row of inspirational case studies Magdalena Borzecka from BIOEASTsUP held her presentation with the title “How Covid-19 taught us to be more efficient in engaging stakeholders”.
In the first part of her presentation Miss Borzecka introduced the BIOEAST Initiative’s structure and mission to those who have not been familiar with it so far. Communication being the main topic of the workshop Miss Borzecka talked about the Communication Expert Team (CET) that had been set up for promoting the importance of bioeconomy and the opportunities that lie in it for stakeholders in order to encourage them for participation and engagement.
Among the technical problems that arose during the efficient engagement of stakeholders she mentioned the difficulties measuring the preferences of the group participants prior to the meetings and the build-up of close contacts with the speakers. Moreover, she said it had not been possible to have a direct contact with the stakeholders. As unexpected technical problems she listed the sometimes inappropriate recording of the meeting materials and the delivery of presentations to the participants after the meetings.
Miss Borzecka gave some recommendations of how the different stakeholders could be engaged. In her opinion it is of utter importance to encourage those stakeholders who are influential but not yet interested. Furthermore, one should work together with those who are both influential and interested to keep up their interest. It is also relevant to show consideration to stakeholders who are interested but do not have enough power. Special attention should be given to running projects within CEE countries but also outside the macro-region in order to explore synergies. Joint events and the exchange of views and good practices would be of benefit, too. The power balance of stakeholders who are neither influential nor interested in a given moment may change thus they should also be encouraged. This can lead to a turn in their attitude.
During the BIOEAST conferences and online meetings the following softwares were used: Webex, Zoom, Whereby. Free calls and chats were conducted mainly via Skype, free meeting scheduling happened via Doodle. Mentimeter and Slido served for interactive presentations.