The SURE Facilitation & Synthesis Research Project (F&SR) provides scientific and organizational support to the overall SURE funding priority and its ten collaborative projects. One of the core SURE F&SR tasks is the scientific integration of the results and synthesis of the findings.
A central question of this synthesis research is “how impacts can be observed in the context of sustainable developments of urban regions”. After all, the intended impacts are embedded in the complex context of global challenges, the transdisciplinary nature of urban and spatial research, and the multi-layered funding priority of SURE. The SURE funding priority supports ten collaborative projects across different regions, topics, numerous interventions as well as actors and the F&SR project.
In order to approach this complexity, the SURE F&SR team developed the SURE Reference Picture. The whole development process can be found in detail here (HANDOUT 3).
The individual SURE Reference Pictures represent intended impacts (references) for each project as well as for the overall funding priority. All Reference Pictures are structured according to the SURE focus topics and show the intended references as well as the intended ways to reach them (achievements). The achievements were categorized in three levels: intention, program and action, meaning that is starts with the ideas and move to the development of measures, concepts or strategies to the implementation of concrete actions, such as tools or labs. In addition to the six focus topics, the Reference Picture of the overall funding priority also includes SURE’s inherent philosophy that describes essential components of SURE’s research for all references. On a meta level the picture reveals development issues, urban challenges and questions for future research.
The SURE Reference Pictures give the SURE collaborative projects the opportunity to continuously reflect on the progress made towards impact. With the support of the SURE Reference Picture, it is possible to monitor – throughout the whole project cycle – whether specific references could be achieved, have changed and may need to be adjusted. In this way, it is possible to intervene during the process in a purposeful manner and, for example, to reinforce certain activities.
Additionally, the SURE Reference Picture can help to locate the SURE funding priority on the international level. For example, the Reference Picture can be used to identify in what way and depth the UN Sustainable Development Goals are addressed.
Based on the identified references, the SURE F&SR team is currently developing tools to establish and support an individual culture of reflection, such as the SURE Toolbox, that is currently under development.