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The role of innovation in advancing understanding of hydrological processes

Bracken, Louise J.; Cockshut, Ladan; Taylor, Jenny; Cotterill, Sarah

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Louise J. Bracken

Jenny Taylor

Sarah Cotterill


Innovation and understanding hydrological processes are intimately linked. Existing research has demonstrated the role of technological, societal and political drivers in shaping and delivering new understandings in hydrological processes. In this paper we pose three research questions to explore how innovation can further our understanding of hydrological processes, if working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a helpful focus, and whether specific mechanisms can be used to facilitate innovation and research into hydrological processes. First we examine key aspects of innovation and explore innovation in the context of water security. We then present a series of innovation projects to determine their effectiveness in delivering innovation in managing hydrological processes, but also their contribution to scientific understanding. Our research suggests that product and process innovation were more closely related to increasing scientific understanding of hydrological processes than other forms of innovation. The NE Water Hub demonstrated that the design of the innovation ecosystem was crucial to its success and provides a model to integrate innovation and research more widely to further scientific understanding and deliver behaviour change to address the SDGs.


Bracken, L. J., Cockshut, L., Taylor, J., & Cotterill, S. (2020). The role of innovation in advancing understanding of hydrological processes. Hydrological Processes, 34(23), 4404-4416.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 12, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 9, 2020
Publication Date Nov 15, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 25, 2020
Publicly Available Date Sep 16, 2020
Journal Hydrological Processes
Print ISSN 0885-6087
Electronic ISSN 1099-1085
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 23
Pages 4404-4416
Public URL


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (1.9 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2020 The Authors. Hydrological Processes published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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