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Scaling up co-produced climate-driven decision support tools for agriculture

Junyu Lu (), Maria Carmen Lemos, Vikram Koundinya and Linda S. Prokopy ()
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Junyu Lu: Arizona State University
Maria Carmen Lemos: University of Michigan
Vikram Koundinya: University of California
Linda S. Prokopy: Purdue University

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 3, 254-262

Abstract: Abstract There is growing belief that the co-production of knowledge between academics and non-academics is critical to address sustainability problems. Yet, little is known about what happens after co-production and whether and how co-produced knowledge scales up. This article focuses on climate-driven decision support tools co-produced by researchers, farmers and agricultural advisers in the US Midwest. Through two surveys (N = 5,393) with farmers and agricultural advisers, it examines how engagement and marketing campaigns to disseminate the tools influenced their use. Here we find that beyond the highly iterative co-production process, other forms of user interaction such as outreach engagement and marketing campaigns are critical to scale up the impact of co-produced knowledge. Positively, we also show that most surveyed farmers and advisers who were not involved in the engagement phase reported having their needs met by the co-produced tools and were using, considering using or willing to recommend the climate-driven decision support tools. Hence, while co-production alone does not guarantee dissemination, it does increase knowledge fit and use. Dissemination for mass use, however, might require a committed effort from researchers and funders to promote and evaluate use post co-production to better understand societal impact and the role of co-produced knowledge in addressing sustainability problems.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-021-00825-0

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