Interview Sarah Wright, project manager REACHOUT ‘We’re building something special here!’

The REACHOUT series of interviews aim at collecting more personal views from colleagues developing and applying climate services for urban adaptation and resilient development, get more insight on the state of knowledge, the main ongoing discourse, and get a more concrete view of what their work encompasses. A sneak peek, so to say, behind the jargon and throbbing sentences used in policy documents and research proposals. Throughout the project, team members will complete a round of interviews. One colleague will interview another, and the interviewed colleague then conducts the following interview of the next team member and so on. As each member interviews and gets interviewed in this manner, all topics will be covered over the duration of this project. Read our latest interview with our partner Thijs Endendijk, PhD candidate at the Institute for Environmental Studies at VU Amsterdam interviewing Sara Wright, working with Deltares and project manager REACHOUT.

‘We’re building something special here, and I can really feel the trust and support within our team.’

We are almost 2.5 years into the REACHOUT project, what is your main lesson learnt during this period? I think my biggest takeaway so far is how much great work can be accomplished by a consortium that is as cohesive as ours. Both the project structure and our amazing partners have made it clear to see how much everyone contributes and how it all connects to the work of the others. We’re building something special here, and I can really feel the trust and support within our team.’

You work as the project manager, can you tell more about your experiences in managing such a large consortium? ‘It’s never the same thing day-to-day! It’s really nice cultivating relationships with each of the partners, understanding what they need to be successful and trying to remove barriers as much as possible. I really like this role as well because it requires me to have a bird’s eye view of everything happening across all the work packages. I really get to see the synergies as we build this greater story about tools for adaptation in our cities. I’ve also loved working with my counterpoint at CAS (Climate Adaptation Services), Marit, keeping track of all the loose ends and sharing a lot of laughs.’

You also work on the delivery of climate services, how is it to combine these two roles in the project and what tools are you working on? ‘I have had the pleasure to work on the tools themselves as well. While this is no longer my primary role in REACHOUT, I worked previously with two Deltares tools: FloodAdapt and the Climate Resilient Cities Toolbox. Now I still have the pleasure of working with FloodAdapt in other projects, including one where Tecnalia is also a partner – love the familiar faces! Exposure to the tools themselves has definitely helped my work as project manager. I have a much better sense of what’s going on content-wise than I would otherwise.’

What are your hopes and dreams for REACHOUT in the last phase of the project? ‘This is a big question. I think the main thing is keeping everyone engaged and excited through the end, ensuring we finish the project with usable tools for our cities and key learnings identified for all of the different roles. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the demonstrators, showing off all we’ve accomplished together. I think above all, I hope (and believe) that we will deliver something we’re proud of.’

And last but not least, who would you like to hear from next? ‘I would like to hear from Denise Mc Gullagh, our REACHOUT partner from UCC (University College Cork).’

Not available yet

The climate story of Gdynia​

Short summary: A story about Jan and Maria during extreme precipitation.

Theme: Flooding

End user: Citizens

Link to the story: under construction