Breaking barriers for a bio-based economy: Interactive reflection on monitoring water quality

Tamara Metze*, Tjerk Jan Schuitmaker, Lise Bitsch, Jacqueline Broerse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In a transition to a bio-based economy new ways of monitoring waste-streams and water quality can then contribute to sustainable production processes. As niche innovation, new ways of monitoring face systemic barriers. The present article examines how barriers to change manifest in discursive practices with differing normative attachments and implications. A frame analysis revealed two competing frames: (1) the dominant ‘norm water’ frame in which thresholds of chemical compounds are used to set policy targets; and (2) the contesting ‘living water’ frame, which entails innovative continuous monitoring tools that take into account the ecological effects of chemical compounds. We introduce the concept of interactive reflectivity, as a discursive tool, to collaboratively visualize, scrutinize and overcome discursive barriers to innovations. The stakeholder dialogue shows how systemic barriers are uttered discursively in niches – or other forms of responsible research and innovation – and may hinder change even at the niche-level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Early online date4 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Barriers
  • Monitoring water quality
  • Reflectivity
  • Stakeholder-dialogue
  • Transition theory


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