The KLIMAP (Klimaat Adaptatie in de Praktijk, translated as Climate Adaptation in Practice) is a top sector funded research project in the Netherlands run by Wageningen University, with a broad network of partners from within the public and private sector spheres. The aim of the project is to develop tangible ways in which to transition to climate resilient management of soil and water within agriculture and natural areas in the sandy areas of the Netherlands. One of the main foci of the KLIMAP project is to pilot with various practices that are aimed at increasing sustainability. However, there remains a gap in knowledge on how to bring these pilots to scale, as Sengers et al. (2019, p. 161) put it, “too often, sustainability-oriented experiments are isolated events that fade into oblivion”. This lack of success in bringing to scale sustainable practices that work in a specific local context is also referred to as the “‘pilot paradox’, i.e. the disconnect between experimentation and formal planning and policy processes” (Hölscher et al., 2018, p. 138; van Buuren et al., 2018).
The external goal of this PhD is to contribute to the KLIMAP project by giving insights into the issue of scaling, as the project is explicitly looking to better understand scaling processes in order to improve the impact the project can achieve. The internal goal is to research the practices around specific innovations that are being developed within KLIMAP, in order to identify conditions which either enable or disable the scaling of innovations.