Interview with Peter Kuikman

Interview with Peter Kuikman

Interview with Peter Kuikman

Work Package 4 leader (Communication) from Wageningen University and Research (WUR) working on Agriculture, land use and emissions greenhouse gas


Connecting local needs, opportunities, funding and research in sequestration of organic carbon to global Climate Challenges is key, according to Peter Kuikman, WP4 leader and working at Wageningen Research.

As CIRCASA is not the first project working on Sequestration of Organic Carbon (SOC). At this moment I can see it is timely, as the urgency of Climate Change is felt by society, governments, researchers, and industry, alike. For instance, the Paris agreement & 4 pro 1000 initiative show that now is the time to combat Climate Change.

But it is not easy, as Carbon Sequestration is not a level playing field. Each soil differs from the next, and from a soil quality point of view it can be seen as local or regional commodity. Soil also plays a significant role at the global scale when we consider food production and food supply security. In many cases soil might not be recognised as such. In this field we see many stakeholders ranging from farmers, global food industry, to (inter)national governments to retail and consumers .

But how can we connect these? I see that there is a need for telling the global stories, which are specifically tailored to the local and regional environment. To tackle Climate Change we - researchers - need to look beyond the region or nation. In CIRCASA I can see we are getting closer at aligning the many different research subjects and interests to the needs of different stakeholders.

Benefits from a CIRCASA success

‘So, what are the benefits from a CIRCASA success?’ Firstly, getting the focus back on soil will profit the research community at large, as it got somewhat forgotten. Aligning project funding, which comes from institutions like the European Union in the case of CIRCASA, and from national to regional, each with its own timeline as well as agenda will help to focus research and improve closer collaboration. When researchers will know more about the different views and needs of stakeholders, such as consumers, major food industries, and others, and the impact their choices and actions have on climate change will help to connect with these stakeholders to communicate better on the research outcomes.

Work package 4 activities so far

As we get to our final year in the project, I anticipate that CIRCASA work package 4 communication and dissemination still has a lot to do. Communication and knowledge dissemination activities in EU projects, such as CIRCASA, are usually placed at the end. Following our 2nd Annual meeting are now making good progress.

The focus of WP4 activities has mainly been on the internal communications within CIRCASA and stakeholders in the periphery. We are focussing on social media, but not aggressively, sending newsletters and holding webinars. And of course the draft OCP is setup, and will be online soon.

All CIRCASA activities so far has let us to identify what to do and which direction to take. Research needs a strong vision to be able to get the message across. Both are needed to be able to have meaningful communications and attractive messages to the stakeholders, such as society.

I think we can do more, in getting the messages across to society. Taking from our webinars, we can tailor some short presentations from CIRCASA, comparable to TEDx talks, will be very beneficial to engage with the audiences. The aim is that researchers give short attractive presentations to make stakeholders aware of the specific key issues.


Towards an international consortium

The forming of an international consortium takes longer than anticipated by CIRCASA. The next step is to take stakeholders views and needs, and progress to finding answers of unknowns together in soil managements, and 4 per 1000 Soil Organic Carbon sequestration.

The hurdles to overcome is funding for research and aligning timelines and agendas, on a regional, national, and European scale. They all three are needed to progress in research and knowledge exchange. I see the International Research Consortium has to be a voluntary collaboration.

CIRCASA’s future

For the future I see working on joined hypotheses, across field and lab experiments and across nations. Also, by replicating experiments, scientific and societal disputes on outcomes will be reduced and that will make communication easier and more effective. This will on its turn lead to implement measures needed to combat Climate Change. Working together does not make own work less unique, but helps to answer wider global questions. So, joined efforts in research, whoever the funding is coming from, has a more effective outcome all around.

Modification date : 28 August 2023 | Publication date : 10 April 2020 | Redactor : CIRCASA