Stakeholder mapping for POLICY ANSWERS: Relevance and Next Steps

An interview with Dijana Štrbac, Task Leader, Institute Mihajlo Pupin, Serbia

This interview is part of a series that shall inform interested readers about the concrete initiatives and outcomes of the “POLCY ANSWERS” project. Read below an interview with Dijana Štrbac, Task Leader on "Stakeholder Mapping" who is based at the Institute Mihajlo Pupin in Belgrade, Serbia.

POLICY ANSWERS: We have already seen several mapping initiatives in the Western Balkans and yet, each project needs to work on its specific stakeholder analysis and identification of the key players. Could you describe briefly, on which mapping exercises you have built the methodology used in POLICY ANSWERS and how you embedd our work in what has been done before?

Dijana: Before developing the mapping concept within the project, we have done a thorough analysis about previous mappings and explored academic literature on the methods of stakeholder analysis. This helped us in formulating our own mapping methodology that outlines the specific purpose of this task, which is in accordance with the project objectives and thematic coverage. For example, some of the mapping approaches we have taken in consideration are those developed within the projects WBC-INCO.NET, WBC-RRI.NET, NI4OS and the Actor and Policy Mapping Tool of the New Climate Institute.

Stakeholder mapping within POLICY ANSWERS is focused on a broad range of stakeholders from the areas of Research & Innovation, Education, Culture, Youth & Sports, as well as from cross-cutting areas such as Green Deal, Digitalisation, Healthy Societies, Underrepresented groups & Gender equality. The focus is on Research & Innovation stakeholders since the project activities are mainly related to this field. It is a comprehensive mapping that will include three main types of stakeholders (institutions and organisations; programmes and policies; initiatives and best practices) and different levels of governance (multilateral, regional, national, sub-national). This mapping exercise is a joint endeavour of all project partners and it is especially important that we have colleagues from all WB economies actively supporting the process.

POLICY ANSWERS: When it comes to the tools used, currently you are working with a template collecting data in an Excel database. What are your further visions for how this data can be further refined and used? What are the next steps?

Dijana: The Excel database is made only as an intermediary step until we develop a specific section on the project website dedicated to the identified stakeholders. This section will enable online availability of the data on the stakeholders and offer the possibility for the general public to search for information about the institutions, programmes, policies and initiatives in the region. In that sense, the stakeholder database will be some sort of “yellow pages” for everyone interested in current developments in the areas of R&I, education, culture, youth and sports in the Western Balkans. We are also considering different possibilities for visualisation of data collected within this mapping which will offer even higher visibility and outreach of collected information.

The stakeholder mapping is not only relevant for external actors, but also for project partners within POLICY ANSWERS since this activity is closely interlinked and sets the basis for the implementation of other work packages. In this sense, the mapping also includes categorisation and classification of the stakeholders in terms of their relevance, levels of interest and influence to the project activities. This is relevant for evaluation of the stakeholder’s potential for involving them in project activities and definition of strategies for reaching them.

POLICY ANSWERS: So, based on this current milestone of a draft database, what are your main conclusions, what surprised you?

Dijana: The launching of the mapping process was in June this year, so I am very happy that for around five months we have managed to identify and analyse more than 100 multilateral/regional institutions and organisations, more than 40 European partnerships and more than 300 stakeholders from the Western Balkans. This is a learning process for all of us since we are being acquainted with many interesting initiatives in the region and beyond relevant for our everyday activities.  

The stakeholder mapping process is a continuous activity and it will last throughout the project lifecycle. Therefore, next year we will start with mapping relevant programmes, policies, initiatives and best practices, but also work on the updating of institutions and organisations. It will be a challenging task due to the broad thematic and geographical coverage. Although the focus is on the R&I field, we still have to work on the identification of the stakeholders from other mentioned thematic areas and cross-cutting priorities.

POLICY ANSWERS: Many thanks for the interview!

Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General

Entry created by Admin on December 6, 2022
Modified on January 4, 2023