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The EU needs a demand-driven innovation policy for climate services

Erlend Andre Tveiten Hermansen, Jana Sillmann, Ilaria Vigo, Sam Whittlesey

Climate services have climbed high on the agenda of EU research policy, yet few contributions have reflected on the actual usability of climate services from the perspectives of the intended users, let alone the implications for future EU research and innovation policy. This commentary reflects on four key lessons learnt from engagement in climate services research projects and discusses implications for future EU research policy: i) all end-users have pre-established decision-making processes and tools for their purposes, hence all new information needs to be adapted ii) one size fits none – and tailoring takes time iii) building trust between different actors, processes and confidence in new information is key in the tailoring process – and resource-demanding iv) purveyors and in- termediaries can facilitate tailoring processes but need to finance their activities until end-users demonstrate willingness to pay and/or the climate service is readily implemented. The main argument is that more attention needs to be paid to the demand-side of climate services to help viable climate services make it through the innovation “valley of death” – that is, the twilight zone between technical invention and (commercially) suc- cessful innovation. EU Research and Innovation (R&I) funding streams and policies for establishing truly transdisciplinary learning loops driven by (actual) user needs can function as vehicles through the valley of death

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