Environmental Engineering Reference
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effects clearly was of great interest to the organizations and that it was timely
introduced as the need for knowledge based tools increased along with the growing
importance of the IA procedure in the EC. Implementation of a system like
SEAMLESS would imply a major change in procedure and quality compared to the
present methods, in which answers to a greater extent are estimations based on
expert judgments or on fragmented model analysis.
Features that particularly appealed to the participants were the open construction
of the system where linkages to other models can be made, and that the outcome
can be presented with different visualization techniques. The importance of an open
design of the framework is related to the anticipation that there will be more general
and open questions asked in the future, like: What will happen if food security
becomes more important? What happens in the EU if India and China develop
into major food importers? Other reasons to keep the framework open would be to
investigate for example issue related to water resources which requires integration
of hydrological models or to incorporate models that are already operational in their
Parallel to the participants' positive interest in the promising potential that
a tool like SEAMLESS-IF would bring about, they demonstrated their role as
practitioners concerning another question of openness, but this time openness
was not seen as a benefit. From the very start the participants were concerned
about not “wasting their time” on development of a tool if the continuation of “the
product” and its administration was not secured. This is an unavoidable difference
in prime focus between researcher and practitioners. For researchers the development
of knowledge is meaningful as such. For practitioners it is meaningful only if
knowledge can be administrated and applied. Theoretically both parties understand
each others viewpoint, but it would not have become an issue in the discussion
between them if the encounter between the two had not been arranged, i.e. the
formation of a UF.
The issue raised was, “What will happen with SEAMLESS-IF after 2008,
when the research project has ended. Who will maintain the models and the
data?” The research team was of course well aware of the necessity to provide an
answer to this question but for obvious reasons it was impossible to give such
guaranties before the development process was begun. The result of this issue
being raised in the UF was that the process of finding forms for administration
of the system, which was already envisioned in the project description, got an
early start.
This was also strongly endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Board of the project
and independent peer reviewers. As a result the Board of the project developed a
business plan, of which the establishment of a SEAMLESS Association was a
cornerstone. The establishment of this association is now secured. The major aim
of the Association is to maintain, extend and disseminate the major product of the
project, i.e. SEAMLESS-IF and its models and data. New research and application
projects feedback improvements and extensions to the Association and the
Association makes latest versions of SEAMLESS-IF available.
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