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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Exploring researcher' roles in collaborative spaces supporting learning in environmental assessment in Sweden

Kagstrom, Mari; Faith-Ell, Charlotta; Longueville, Anna


Learning is fundamental to the practice and effectiveness of environmental assessment. This paper provides new empirical insights into how researchers engage in collaboration with practitioners and the learning outcomes that this provides. Furthermore, a typology of researcher roles is provided to aid researchers in having a dialogue and navigating tensions and potentials by adopting different roles.This paper builds on researchers' engagement in three cases related to Swedish environmental assessment (EA) and planning practice. The analytical frame-work is brought in from the sustainability transition literature on process-oriented researcher roles. The results show that the researchers adopted several roles to provide knowledge and solutions but also to be a critical voice and support practitioner reflection. Furthermore, the work required reflexivity. It was significant that the researchers actively intervened and moved between roles to adapt to shifting needs. The processes contributed to learning in forms of reprioritisations, new routines and solutions implemented in practice. Furthermore, the process contributed to new understandings, empowerment and increased capacity among participants, e.g. through enhanced collaboration and stronger relations across disciplinary boundaries as well as enhanced knowledge and practical experience of EA key features.


Environmental assessment; Researcher-practitioner collaboration; Researcher roles; Learning; Effectiveness

Published in

Environmental Impact Assessment Review
2023, volume: 99, article number: 106990

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Faith-Ell, Charlotta
Mid-Sweden University
Longueville, Anna
Mid-Sweden University

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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