To ensure that OPERAs engages stakeholders throughout its duration, a Userboard has been established. The Userboard is a collection of individuals who are currently involved in implementing work related to ecosystem services or natural capital. These individuals will work with OPERAs throughout its duration. The project will form an iterative relationship with the members, encouraging feedback and advice to ensure that outcomes are useful.
The first meeting of the Userboard was held 28-29 November 2013 in Brussels. This initial meeting was designed to integrate the users of ecosystem services and natural capital into the project's research process. 16 Userboard members attended the initial meeting and included representatives from civil society, government, academia and the private sector - in addition to EU level representatives. We also welcomed representatives from the project’s exemplar case studies.
The event took the form of an interactive workshop, including two days of intense discussions, which focused on the identification of both challenges faced and current requirements of the Userboard members. These were in turn matched with the ideas and plans of the OPERAs project.
The Userboard meeting was very well received by all participants. The OPERAS project team will benefit greatly from new input and ideas as well as confirmation to some already existing plans