Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 December 2019
The changes the polar regions face are too complex to be tackled by single scientific disciplines and in isolation from societal actors. Therefore, the call for polar research projects that engage with stakeholders outside academia increases. The ideal set-up of these projects is envisioned as an inclusive and action-oriented process that brings scientists and stakeholders together to identify pressing issues of societal and scientific relevance and to develop research projects that produce practical outcomes. However, working across disciplines and knowledge systems can be challenging. To better understand stakeholders’ motivation for engaging in polar science projects, to learn what stages of a project they are interested in and what their preferred modes of engagement are, stakeholders were surveyed as part of the EU-funded project EU-PolarNet. The results suggest that while most academic survey participants are eager to participate from problem definition to dissemination of results, most non-academic survey participants preferred interaction at the stages when results were disseminated and used for informed decision-making. The survey results have their limitations, yet they provide a basis for important future approaches to stakeholder engagement in polar research projects. They show that stakeholders prefer to engage in different stages of a research project depending on their specific needs and interests, while also acknowledging that additional support may be required to enable meaningful engagement throughout the research process.