Call for abstracts

We hereby invite the research community to submit abstracts to the 2024 IST conference. 

We welcome contributions that engage with the conference theme and with other relevant research issues connected to the STRN research agenda 

The deadline for abstract submissions is  February 20th 2024; 12:00 CET. 

This year, you may choose to submit an abstract to one of 20 preselected paper tracks or submit your contribution as an open submission.  

Preselected paper tracks are organized by a set of convenors and have a set of specific issues that will form the basis for the sessions. The paper tracks accept both full papers and speed talks (see details in track descriptions below of what applies to the track you are interested in).   

Open submissions are aimed at including a broad set of themes that meet the whole STRN community’s interest as well as new and emerging perspectives. The conference organisers will arrange these sessions thematically. The open track accepts all types of contributions (full papers, speed talks and posters). 


Submit abstract 

Download call 

Download conference theme

Important dates:

The deadline for abstract submissions is  February 20th 2024; 12:00 CET 

Notification of decisions will be shared with authors by 15th March 2024. 

Conference registration opens April 1st and closes June 1st.   

The presenting author for each submission will need to have registered for the conference and have uploaded a final submission by May 15th 2024, 23:59 CET.  

Full papers must be submitted by June 1st 23:59 CET.

Accelerating sustainability transitions: Unpacking challenges and causal mechanisms 


Track convenors:  Karoline S. Rogge (University of Sussex, UK & Fraunhofer ISI), Kejia Yang, (TIK Centre, University of Oslo), Allan Dahl Andersen (University of Copenhagen & University of Oslo), Jochen Markard (Zurich University of Applied Sciences & ETH),  Frank W. Geels (University of Manchester), Florian Kern (Institute for Ecological Economy Research, IÖW), Matthew Lockwood (University of Sussex), Qi Song (University of Sussex), Daniel Rosenbloom (Environment & Climate Change Canada), Benjamin K. Sovacool (Boston University & University of Sussex), Aline Scherrer (Fraunhofer ISI), Cameron Roberts (University of Wisconsin-Madison).  

Corresponding convenor: Karoline Rogge ( 

Types of contributions: Speed talks and full papers 

While the need for accelerating sustainability transitions is paramount, the required transformative changes are not only highly complex but also deeply contested, calling for greater attention to the challenges and politics of deliberate acceleration (Markard et al., 2020; Roberts et al., 2020). Yet, our conceptual understanding of acceleration and its underlying causal mechanisms is underdeveloped, calling for more research to consolidate and advance our insights into acceleration mechanisms, as well as further unpack the challenges specific to the acceleration phase of transitions (Markard et al., 2020). These include resistance associated with decline (Turnheim and Koretsky, 2023), the need for complementary technologies and infrastructures (Andersen et al., 2023), greater coordination across multiple systems and governance levels (Andersen and Geels, 2023), difficulties in changing demand and user practises (Duetschke et al., 2022), contestations around the new rules of the game (Rogge and Goedeking, 2023), international dynamics arising from global competition and complementarities (Kern and Rogge, 2016), and justice considerations (van Bommel and Höffken, 2023). Consequently, this paper track welcomes contributions that further unpack acceleration, thereby enabling insights for decision makers: 

  • Theoretical Advancements: Conceptual clarifications, interdisciplinary bridging, and theoretical refinements of causal mechanisms, processes, trade-offs and new lock-ins. 
  • Acceleration Challenges: Investigations into the challenges that emerge during the acceleration phase of sustainability transitions and how to address them. 
  • Politics of Acceleration: Explorations of tensions, conflicts, power struggles, contestations and coalition building inherent in elite and mass politics of acceleration.  
  • Policy, Institutions and Governance: Investigations into the role of policies, policy mixes, institutions, governance arrangements and actors’ capacities in accelerating transitions. 
  • Industry and firms: Research into business strategies and drivers of accelerating change (e.g. investor confidence, innovation races, learning-by-doing, scale economies, cost decreases) 
  • Temporal and Spatial Dynamics: Studies of temporal dynamics of acceleration (e.g. feedbacks) and local, regional, national and global interplay, including comparative analyses. 
  • Innovative Methodologies: Papers proposing and applying novel methodologies to study the acceleration of unfolding transitions. 



Andersen, A. D., et al. (2023). “Architectural change in accelerating transitions: Actor preferences, system architectures, and flexibility technologies in the German energy transition.” Energy Research & Social Science, 97: 102945. 

Andersen, A. D., and Geels, F. W. (2023). “Multi-system dynamics and the speed of net-zero transitions: Identifying causal processes related to technologies, actors, and institutions”. Energy Research and Social Science, 102(February), 103178.  

Dütschke, E., Engel, L., Theis, A., and Hanss, D. (2022). “Car driving, air travel or more sustainable transport? Socio-psychological factors in everyday mobility and long-distance leisure travel.” Travel Behaviour and Society, 28, 115–127.  

Kern, F. and Rogge, K. S. (2016). “The pace of governed energy transitions: Agency, international dynamics and the global Paris agreement accelerating decarbonisation processes?” Energy Research & Social Science 22: 13-17. 

Markard, J., Geels, F. W. and Raven, R. (2020). “Challenges in the acceleration of sustainability transitions.” Environmental Research Letters, 15(8). 

Roberts, C., Geels, F. W., Lockwood, M., Newell, P., Schmitz, H., Turnheim, B., & Jordan, A. (2018). “The politics of accelerating low-carbon transitions: Towards a new research agenda.” Energy Research and Social Science, 44(June), 304–311. 

Rogge, K.S. and Goedeking, N. (2023): “Challenges in accelerating net-zero transitions: Insights from transport electrification in Germany and California”. 

Turnheim, B.,  and Koretsky, Z. (2023). “Destabilisation, decline and phase-out in transitions research”. London: Routledge. 

van Bommel, N., and Höffken, J. I. (2023). „The urgency of climate action and the aim for justice in energy transitions – dynamics and complexity.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 48. 

Tipping points and sustainability transitions 


Track convenors: Philip Johnstone (University of Sussex), Kejia Yang (University of Oslo), Steve Smith (University of Exeter), Tom Powell (University of Exeter), Floor Alkemade (Eindhoven University of Technology), Robert Wade (Eindhoven University of Technology), Francisco Pasimeni (Eindhoven University of Technology)

Corresponding convenor: Philip Johnstone (

Types of tracks: Full papers

Tipping points research in earth systems science address the often catastrophic consequences that may occur when certain thresholds (such as small increases in surface temperature) are breached  that accelerate feedback loops leading to runaway climatic change (Lenton et al., 2019). Recently however, tipping points research has been applied to social, technological and economic dimensions and attention has turned towards ‘positive tipping points’ (Lenton et al, 2022). Positive tipping points may enable opportunities for accelerating transitions, contributing to a core focus of the STRN research agenda (Kohler et al, 2019). Recent research highlighting that a global tipping point being reached in the diffusion of solar power offers hope for more rapid decarbonisation (Nijsse et al 2023). Tipping points has also been utilised to explore policy and political processes where certain interventions or ‘game changing’ events (such as school strikes or particular legal changes at the global level) may also accelerate positive change for sustainability (Mey and Lilliestam, 2022). More recently, the commonalities and divergencies between positive tipping points research and transitions has been discussed offering an initial exploration of ‘tipping dynamics’ (Geels & Ayoub, 2023), however many questions and fruitful lines of enquiry remain. 

This paper track welcomes full paper submissions related to the intersection of tipping points and sustainability transitions that may relate to the following questions: 

  • What indicators, both quantitative and qualitative, can be utilised to inform the identification of tipping points in sociotechnical systems? How can we develop early warning signals to assess whether we are moving towards a tipping point? 
  • How will negative tipping points in earth systems influence sociotechnical change, and how can we build resilience in anticipation of such events? 
  • How do tipping points relate to directionality? What are we tipping towards? and what kind of tipping points are required in different sustainability pathways? 
  • How can tipping points be understood and contribute towards multi-system sociotechnical change? How can tipping dynamics at different geographical and time scales lead to socio-technical transitions? 
  • Agency and tipping points: what are the different intervention points in transition pathways for influencing tipping dynamics? 


Geels, F.W., Ayoub, M., 2023. A socio-technical transition perspective on positive tipping points in climate change mitigation: Analysing seven interacting feedback loops in offshore wind and electric vehicles acceleration. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change 193, 122639 

Kohler et al., 2019. An agenda for sustainability transitions research. State of the art and future directions. Environmental Innovation & Societal Transitions. 31. 1-32 

Lenton, T.M., Rockström, J., Gaffney, O., Rahmstorf, S., Richardson, K., Steffen, W., Schellnhuber, H.J., 2019. Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against. Nature 575, 592–595.  

Lenton, T.M., Benson, S., Smith, T., Ewer, T., Lanel, V., Petykowski, E., Powell, T.W.R., Abrams, J.F., Blomsma, F., Sharpe, S., 2022. Operationalising positive tipping points towards global sustainability. Glob. Sustain. 5.  

M. Lenton, D.I. Armstrong McKay, S. Loriani, J.F. Abrams, S.J. Lade, J.F. Donges, M. Milkoreit, T. Powell, S.R. Smith, C. Zimm, J.E. Buxton, E. Bailey, L. Laybourn, A. Ghadiali, J.G. Dyke (eds), 2023, The Global Tipping Points Report 2023. University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

Mey, F., Lilliestam, J., 2022. 4. Tipping Points in Transitions of Socio-Economic Systems, in: Vélez-Cuartas, G., Romero-Goyeneche, O.. (Eds.), Transformative Metrics. Contributions to the Studies for Monitoring and Evaluating How Science, Technology, and Innovation Can Address Social and Environmental Challenges. University of Antioqui, Antioqui, pp. 125–158.  

Nijsse, F.M et al. 2023. The momentum of the solar energy transition. Nature. 14:  

Exploring multi-system dynamics in sustainability transitions  


Track convenors: Allan Dahl Andersen (University of Copenhagen and TIK Centre, University of Oslo), Jochen Markard (Zurich University of Applied Sciences and ETH Zurich), Tuukka Mäkitie (SINTEF Digital and TIK Center, University of Oslo), Paula Kivimaa (Finnish Environment Institute), Karoline Rogge (University of Sussex and Fraunhofer ISI), Ksenia Onufrey (Chalmers University of Technology), Sophie-Marie Ertelt (Örebro University), Frank Geels (University of Manchester), Markus Steen (SINTEF), Meike Löhr (University of Oldenburg), Hilde Nykamp (TIK Centre, University of Oslo), Ingrid Mignon (Chalmers University of Technology) and Geroge Papachristos (Eindhoven University of Technology).  

Corresponding convenor: Allan Dahl Andersen ( 

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks  

Transitions research has focused on single systems. However, since no system functions in isolation, most transitions are intertwined with other sociotechnical systems. For example, a transition from fossil fuels to hydrogen use in multiple systems will have repercussions for electricity, gas supply and the various sectors potentially using hydrogen.  

Drawing on a handful of early works (Geels, 2007; Konrad et al., 2008; Papachristos et al., 2013; Raven & Verbong, 2007), scholars have started to pay more attention to the interactions and interdependencies between multiple sociotechnical systems (Andersen, Geels, Steen, et al., 2023; Andersen & Geels, 2023; Kanger et al., 2021; Löhr & Chlebna, 2023; Mäkitie et al., 2022; Ohlendorf et al., 2023; Rosenbloom, 2020). However, we are only beginning to understand multi-system interactions (MSI) and there is a need to explore MSI and the associated phenomena more broadly including to study multiple systems transitioning in similar directions as seen in net-zero transitions (Andersen, Geels, Coenen, et al., 2023; Markard & Rosenbloom, 2022) and to investigate novel MSI-domains such as digitalization, circular economy transitions, or multi-purpose technologies (Decourt, 2019; Finstad & Dahl Andersen, 2023) 

This track is motivated by i) the growing pervasiveness of multi-system interactions in transitions, ii) a need for improving our conceptual and methodological repertoire for the study of multi-system phenomena. The track is also intended to stimulate network building of scholars around research on multi-system interactions. We invite both in-depth discussion and flagging new ideas and work in progress.  

Papers may address one or more of the following topics but can also go beyond this: 

  • New concepts and frameworks  
  • New analytical and methodological approaches  
  • In-depth empirical studies of MSI phenomena, including sector-coupling, clashing institutional logics, emergence of meta-structures, multi-sector / generic technologies, transformation of value chains, etc. 
  • Multi-system transitions or transitions of complexes of systems 
  • Emerging synergies and conflicts between different sectors (e.g., energy, agriculture, water, and transportation)  
  • Policies and politics of MSI, including new nexus governance challenges 
  • Actors and agency driving or impeding multi-system transitions 
  • Geography of MSI and multi-system dynamics 



Andersen, A. D., Geels, F., Steen, M., & Bugge, M. (2023). Building multi-system nexuses in low-carbon transitions: Conflicts and asymmetric adjustments in Norwegian ferry electrification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120, e2207746120.   

Andersen, A. D., & Geels, F. W. (2023). Multi-system dynamics and the speed of net-zero transitions: Identifying causal processes related to technologies, actors, and institutions. Energy Research & Social Science, 102, 103178. 

Andersen, A. D., Geels, F. W., Coenen, L., Hanson, J., Korsnes, M., Linnerud, K., Makitie, T., Nordholm, A., Ryghaug, M., Skjolsvold, T., Steen, M., & Wiebe, K. (2023). Faster, broader, and deeper! Suggested directions for research on net-zero transitions. Oxford Open Energy, 2.  

Decourt, B. (2019). Weaknesses and drivers for power-to-X diffusion in Europe. Insights from technological innovation system analysis. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 44(33), 17411-17430. 

Finstad, J., & Dahl Andersen, A. (2023). Multi-sector technology diffusion in urgent net-zero transitions: Niche splintering in carbon capture technology. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 194, 122696. 

Geels, F. W. (2007). Analysing the breakthrough of rock ‘n’ roll (1930–1970) Multi-regime interaction and reconfiguration in the multi-level perspective. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 74(8), 1411-1431. 

Kanger, L., Schot, J., Sovacool, B. K., van der Vleuten, E., Ghosh, B., Keller, M., Kivimaa, P., Pahker, A.-K., & Steinmueller, W. E. (2021). Research frontiers for multi-system dynamics and deep transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 41, 52-56. 

Konrad, K., Truffer, B., & Voß, J.-P. (2008). Multi-regime dynamics in the analysis of sectoral transformation potentials: Evidence from German utility sectors. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16, 1190-1202.  

Löhr, M., & Chlebna, C. (2023). Multi-system interactions in hydrogen-based sector coupling projects: System entanglers as key actors. Energy Research & Social Science, 105, 103282. 

Mäkitie, T., Hanson, J., Steen, M., Hansen, T., & Andersen, A. D. (2022). Complementarity formation mechanisms in technology value chains. Research Policy, 51(7), 104559. 

Markard, J., & Rosenbloom, D. (2022). Phases of the net-zero energy transition and strategies to achieve it. In Routledge Handbook of Energy Transitions. Routledge.  

Ohlendorf, N., Löhr, M., & Markard, J. (2023). Actors in multi-sector transitions – discourse analysis on hydrogen in Germany. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 47.  

Papachristos, G., Sofianos, A., & Adamides, E. (2013). System Interactions in Socio-technical Transitions: Extending the Multi-level Perspective. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 7, 53-69. 

Raven, R., & Verbong, G. (2007). Multi-Regime Interactions in the Dutch Energy Sector: The Case of Combined Heat and Power Technologies in the Netherlands 1970–2000. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 19, 491-507. 

Rosenbloom, D. (2020). Engaging with multi-system interactions in sustainability transitions: A comment on the transitions research agenda. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 34, 336-340. 

Innovation for Sustainability Transitions in the Global South: Towards a practice and research agenda  


Track convenors: Patience Mguni (University of Copenhagen), Wisdom Kanda (Linköping University)   

Corresponding convenor: Patience Mguni ( 

Type of contributions: Full papers and speed talks 


Innovation is essential to drive sustainability transitions, especially so in the under-considered Global South. Sustainability transitions refer to deep systemic innovations in socio-technical systems for the provision of societal functions such as food, mobility, and energy (Köhler et al., 2019). By leveraging innovation, different areas in the Global South can chart paths towards sustainable development that balance economic growth with environmental protection and social inclusion, potentially addressing the on-going impacts of underdevelopment wrought by colonialism.  

However, there are knowledge gaps in the domain of innovation for sustainability transitions in the Global South (Tirado-Herreo & Fuller, 2021). For example, there is a lack of understanding of the key geographical and socio-economic and policy factors such as poverty and inadequate regulatory frameworks, critical to the emergence of sustainability transitions in the Global South (Ramos-Mejia., 2018). Where sustainability transitions are happening, there is little data tracking progress and identifying areas/directions for acceleration. Addressing these knowledge gaps can lead to greater collaboration among different stakeholders to leverage their expertise and resources towards more effective and context-specific solutions tailored to the challenges and opportunities that the Global South faces and avails.  

We are open to the topics listed below and other topics relevant to the Global South: 



  • Present different theoretical conceptualisations of what is the ‘Global South’, what is Innovation and sustainability in such contexts using different theories e.g., sustainability transitions; decoloniality, Frugal innovation, Critical innovation studies  


  • Energy, Water, Food, Socio-ecological, Healthcare and Mobility systems  
  • Communication and digital innovations 


  • Presenting the real-life stories of innovation for sustainability in practice (critical analysis of successes and failures) 


  • Governance and policy-making for innovation  
  • Innovation in the socio-environmental governance  


Selected references: 

Köhler, J., Geels, F. W., Kern, F., Markard, J., Onsongo, E., Wieczorek, A., … & Wells, P. (2019). An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions. Environmental innovation and societal transitions, 31, 1-32. 

Ramos-Mejia, M., Franco-Garcia, M-L., & Jauregui-Becker, J. M. (2018). Sustainability transitions in the developing world: Challenges of socio-technical transformations unfolding in contexts of poverty. Environmental science & policy, 84, 217-223. 

Tirado-Herrero, S & Fuller, S. (2021). De-centering transitions: Low-carbon innovation from the peripheries. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, Vol. 41, pg.113-115.  



Exploring justice in the context of sustainability transitions: Across dimensions and geographies 


Track convenors: Katharina Schiller (Fraunhofer ISI), Fulvio Castellacci (University of Oslo), Martin Binder (University Munich), Tommaso Ciarli (UNU-MERIT), Bipashyee Ghosh (SPRU, University of Sussex), Flor Avelino (Utrecht University), Kristina Bogner (Utrecht University), Julia Wittmayer (DRIFT), Minna Kaljonen (SYKE) 

Corresponding convenor: Katharina Schiller ( 

Type of contributions: Full papers and speed talks  


Justice is achieved through redistribution of resources that address inequality, as well as through fair and democratic engagements and recognising the most vulnerable in processes of societal change. The concept of “just transitions” (Swilling et al., 2016; Upham et al., 2022) encompasses all these different conceptualisations of justice, across many different types of systems and across different geographies. Just transitions scholars have also called for decolonising research on transitions. 

To further governance of just transitions, critical and reflexive research on the political contestation and practical interpretations of justice in transitions is much needed. We need a better understanding of different ways to include justice-related perspectives in governance processes, the kinds of just transition they manage to promote, and how both phase-out and build-up processes can be just. We also need to understand the role of opposition and resistance as possible reactions to transition governance that is seen as unjust, and to unpack transition tensions (Ciplet and Harrison 2020).  

In this track, we welcome contributions on all these topics and issues, but papers should be clear on their positioning in the transitions literature by connecting to sustainability transitions research agenda themes and/or practice. Papers should focus on justice in the context of sustainability transitions.   

Aiming to be inclusive, we invite contributions covering aspects of just transitions in the broadest sense. We encourage papers to address the following guiding questions:   

  • How do different dimensions of (in)justice manifest in sustainability transitions and in different sectoral (e.g., agri-food, energy, urban, other) and geographic (e.g., Global South/North) contexts?  
  • How do transitions affect distributional justice, and how is this process related to procedural and recognitional justice?  
  • What are different ways to make sense of trade-offs and contestations around just transitions in a pluriversal world?   
  • How can science, technology and innovation policies support just transitions? 
  • How does active and emancipatory governance of just transitions look like and how can this be supported?   
  • How can we decolonise processes of just transitions?  
  • How can public meaning-making and behaviour inform our understanding of perceptions of justice?    

The final session of the track will bring together learnings from all of the sessions. It will be organised in a World Cafe format. All speakers in the track will be invited to participate, and the World Cafe will be guided by the track convenors. The goal of the final session is to invite interactions between speakers and summarise take-aways and key points from the track, with a view towards future research on just transitions.     



Ciplet, D., & Harrison, J. L. (2019). Transition tensions: mapping conflicts in movements for a just and sustainable transition. Environmental Politics  

Swilling, M., Musango, J., & Wakeford, J. (2016). Developmental states and sustainability transitions: prospects of a just transition in South Africa. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 18(5), 650-672  

Upham, P., Sovacool, B. and Ghosh, B., (2022). Just transitions for industrial decarbonisation: A framework for innovation, participation, and justice. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 167, p.112699. 


Transition Intermediaries: Navigating Challenges in an Era of Systemic Change


Track convenors: Wisdom Kanda (Linköping University) Ingrid Mignon (Chalmers University) , Jaime Moreno-Serna (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), Miguel Soberón (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), Kateryna Pereverza (KTH – Royal Institute of Technology), Teresa Sánchez-Chaparro (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), Inessa Laur (Linköping University, University of South-Eastern Norway) 

Corresponding convenor: Wisdom Kanda (

Type of contributions: Full papers


The sustainability transitions literature has placed growing emphasis on intermediaries. Transition intermediaries can act as key catalysts for sustainability transitions, bridging gaps between diverse actors, reducing transaction costs, and addressing communication challenges stemming from cultural, knowledge, and interest differences (Kivimaa et al., 2019).  

While there has been significant progress in understanding the types, roles, and dynamics of intermediaries, the representation of intermediaries in the transition literature still lacks nuancing (Kanda et al. 2020). For instance, potential drawbacks, biases, or conflicts among intermediaries are seldom addressed in transition research. Such conflicts can, for example, stem from the plurality of visions and a ‘non-monotonical’ nature of pathways to achieve sustainability (Stirling et al., 2023). Moreover, intermediaries (e.g., lobby groups) with vested interests can aim to undermine the activities of transition intermediaries. Considering such strategic and complex aspects of intermediaries is crucial to understand their long-term impact on transitions, as well as what differentiates them from other transition actors. Moreover, there is a pressing need for research on how ecologies of intermediation can be supported to expedite transitions (Soberón et al., 2022) and how intermediaries can contribute to the development and implementation of policies for sustainability transitions (Mignon and Kanda, 2018). Individual and organisational capacities to intermediate deserves attention as there can be a need to intentionally facilitate the establishment of intermediaries (Soberón et al, 2023). And, as transitions accelerate, questions of justice and injustice emerge which some types of intermediaries can address based on their neutrality seeking attributes.  

We are calling for full papers addressing the research gaps discussed above but also other topics relevant to the overarching theme of intermediaries and systemic change. The full paper track session at IST 2024 will serve as a basis for a special issue planned for 2025. 



Kanda, W., Kuisma, M., Kivimaa, P., & Hjelm, O. (2020). Conceptualising the systemic activities of intermediaries in sustainability transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 36, 449-465. 

Kivimaa, P., Boon, W., Hyysalo, S., & Klerkx, L. (2019). Towards a typology of  intermediaries in sustainability transitions: A systematic review and a research agenda. Research Policy, 48(4), 1062-1075. 

Soberón, M., Sánchez-Chaparro, T., Smith, A., Moreno-Serna, J., Oquendo-Di Cosola, V.,  & Mataix, C. (2022). Exploring the possibilities for deliberately cultivating more effective ecologies of intermediation. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 44, 125-144. 

Stirling, A., Cairns, R., Johnstone, P., & Onyango, J. (2023). Transforming imaginations? Multiple dimensionalities and temporalities as vital complexities in transformations to sustainability. Global Environmental Change, 82, 102741 




The geography of sustainability transitions 


Track convenors:

Christian Binz (Eawag), Lars Coenen (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences), Koen Frenken (Utrecht University), Huiwen Gong (University of Stavanger), Teis Hansen (University of Copenhagen), Christina Hoicka (University of Victoria), Jim Murphy (Clark University), Gesa Pflitsch (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna), Johan Miörner (Lund University), Markus Steen (SINTEF), Bernhard Truffer (Eawag/Utrecht University), Xiaoshan Yap (EPFL). 

Corresponding convenor: Christian Binz (

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks


Over the past ten years, debates and dialogues at the interface of human/economic geography and transition studies have grown into an epistemic community focusing on the ‘geography of sustainability transitions’ (GeoST). Transition challenges increasingly transcend conventional territorial boundaries (e.g., cities, regions, nations) as multi-scalar factors play a significant role in shaping transition dynamics and possibilities. At the same time, places differ in their structural preconditions and their capacities to engage in experiments with radical socio-technical reconfigurations. Where and how transitions unfold therefore depends on dynamics that co-evolve between (and have impacts on) places in spatially highly complex and uneven ways. The time is ripe to assess this work and discuss the most salient and promising conceptual interfaces between transition studies and geographical/spatial social sciences. Echoing the conference theme, we in particular welcome geographical perspectives on the role of nature-society relations in sustainability transitions. We invite theoretical, conceptual and empirical contributions, as well as review papers, that reflect on the state of the art and outline promising avenues for research in this highly dynamic field, on topics like:  

  • The interplay between context-specific structural conditions and agentic dynamics that shape sustainability transitions 
  • Novel conceptual frameworks and methodologies for addressing the multi-scalar interdependencies that constitute and shape innovation and socio-technical systems 
  • The role of place differentiations (e.g., capabilities, values, material, natural), place-making processes, and contested politics in producing spatially uneven sustainability transitions 
  • Rethinking/conceptualising the geographies of urban and rural sustainability transitions, especially in natural-resource dependent regions 
  • Framing critical geographical perspectives on salient transition policy approaches like smart specialisation, transition management, or mission-oriented / transformative innovation policies 
  • The spatially uneven social, economic and environmental outcomes of sustainability transitions, in particular related to ‘just transitions’ 
  • The geopolitics of sustainability transitions, e.g. related to sourcing raw materials for ‘green’ innovation or decarbonising global value chains or near-shoring strategies 

The session will be structured as a conventional conference session track, with contributions being grouped into thematically coherent paper sessions. We also envision creating a final reflection session, in which recent agenda papers on the GeoST field will be presented and more time reserved for an overarching discussion on the most salient future research themes. 

Governing transitions: Processes and capacities in navigating policy paradoxes 


Track convenors: Taran Thune (University of Oslo), Susana Borrás (Copenhagen Business School), Iris Wanzenböck (Utrecht University), Matthijs Janssen (Utrecht University), Teis Hansen (University of Copenhagen)

Corresponding convenor: Taran Thune (

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks  



Sustainability transitions scholars are increasingly interested in the role of policy and politics of transitions (Kern, Rogge & Howlett, 2019). Policy making often involves conflicting demands and may entail policy paradoxes, where effective solutions in one domain have potentially negative effects in another – but both are important and legitimate. In the sustainability transitions context, effective climate mitigation policies may negatively impact the natural environment, worsen social problems and lead to contestation.  

Manoeuvring in complex policy landscapes and coordinating diverse and conflicting demands are key governance capacities. As policy problems become more complex and public demands increase, the capacity to govern becomes stretched and requires other capabilities than those traditionally associated with ‘good’ government, including tolerance for risks, navigating paradoxes, building and sustaining networks, broadening involvement and engaging in innovative practices, and continuous learning to adapt to new situations (Ansell et al., 2022).  

As sustainability transitions are met with enormous expectations, it is important to gain a better understanding of these various processes and potential tensions, as well as the capacities at the governance, policy and public sector organizations level, that are required to deliver on them (Borrás, & Edler, 2020; Braams et al, 2022).  

We invite conceptual and empirical contributions that shed light on such issues and aim to build bridges between innovation policy studies, public administration, and sustainability transitions research. In the track we would like to explore issues such as: public sector capabilities and capacities, policy making and implementation processes, policy mixes, policy dilemmas and paradoxes and other related issues.  



Ansell, Sørensen & Torfing (2023). Public administration and politics meet turbulence: The search for robust governance responses. Public Administration, 101(1), 3-22. 

Borrás & Edler (2020). The roles of the state in the governance of socio-technical systems’ transformation. Research Policy, 49(5), 103971. 

Braams, Wesseling, Meijer & Hekkert (2022). Understanding why civil servants are reluctant to carry out transition tasks. Science and Public Policy, 49(6), 905-914. 

Kern, Rogge & Howlett (2019). Policy mixes for sustainability transitions: New approaches and insights through bridging innovation and policy studies. Research Policy, 48(10), 103832. 

Overcoming methodological challenges of sustainability transitions research 


Tracks convenors: Jonathan Köhler (Fraunhofer ISI), Anton Sentic, (ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences); Bonno Pel,( Utrecht University), Aarthi Sundaram (Delft University of Technology), George Papachristos (Eindhoven University) & Maria Tomai (UNU-MERIT, United Nations University)

Corresponding convenor: Jonathan Köhler (

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks 


Transition research is based on the assumptions of systemic complexity, encompassing issues related to path dependence and lock-in, as well as the developmental dynamics of production, consumption, self-organisation, emergence, and co-evolution (Geels et al., 2023; Grin et al., 2010). Understanding the complex interplay of various factors is crucial for fostering effective and lasting sustainability transitions. The need to accelerate transitions toward more sustainable development pathways highlights the pivotal role of exploring prospective transition pathways and scenarios, and the growing necessity to advance methodologically transition research (Köhler et al., 2019). 

Positioned as a transdisciplinary “mode-2” science (Rotmans, 2006), transitions research, particularly in transition management, involves a repertoire of intervention and action research methods for co-creating transitions knowledge. Concepts like ‘reflexive methodology’ and critical innovation studies methods aim to systematically incorporate diverse stakeholders and perspectives into scenario construction and transition management processes. These insights underscore the demand for participatory scenario building and the convergence of methods, approaches, and frameworks to facilitate informed decision-making.  

In this respect, computational models have been influential tools that have helped researchers to move away from their solely techno-economic focus toward system-oriented approaches, that also represent public values. Scholarly efforts include combining qualitative case study development with quantitative simulation modelling and linking quantitative systems modelling, socio-technical transition analysis, and initiative-based learning to analyse transitions to sustainable societies (Hof et al., 2020; Köhler et al., 2020; Papachristos, 2018; Papachristos & Adamides, 2016; Turnheim et al., 2015). 

In line with these endeavours, this paper track will solicit research on methodological advances in these areas. We welcome theoretical, empirical, data-driven modelling approaches, as well as mixed-methods approaches that study the use of models and systems thinking for managing sustainability transitions. We will also welcome methodological papers that bridge the relationship between nature and socio-technical systems into these areas. Potential questions and topics of this paper track include: 

  • Dynamic Scenario Development of complex, co-evolutionary systems, exploring advances in scenario development that account for non-linear, interconnected dynamics within and among systems, while going beyond single case study analysis to enable generalisation of insights, and develop holistic and integrated transition pathways. The investigation of how to complement or combine case studies and formal modelling. 
  • The use of ‘living labs’ in the development of transitions pathways with stakeholders as part of a transitions management process. 
  • Scenario Modelling for Policy Design, investigating the practical applications of scenario modelling in shaping adaptive and effective policies for sustainability and the use of modelling techniques to explore the dynamic relationships among stakeholders, policies, technologies, and societal norms to uncover patterns and feedback loops.
  • Transdisciplinary papers focusing on addressing complexities of just transitions through computational modelling. 
  • Other methodological advances in transitions research  



Grin, J., Rotmans, J., Schot, J. (2010). Transitions to sustainable development: new directions in the study of long term transformative change. Routledge.  

Hof, A. F., van Vuuren, D. P., Berkhout, F., Geels, F. W. (2020). Understanding transition pathways by bridging modelling, transition and practice-based studies: Editorial introduction to the special issue. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 151, 119665.  

Köhler, J., Turnheim, B., Hodson, M. (2020). Low carbon transitions pathways in mobility: Applying the MLP in a combined case study and simulation bridging analysis of passenger transport in the Netherlands. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 151, 119314.  

Papachristos, G. (2018). A mechanism based transition research methodology: Bridging analytical approaches. Futures, 98, 57-71. 

Papachristos, G., Adamides, E. (2016). A retroductive systems-based methodology for socio-technical transitions research. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 108, 1-14. 

Rotmans, J. (2006). Tools for integrated sustainability assessment: a two-track approach. Integrated Assessment Journal, 6(4).  

Turnheim, B., Berkhout, F., Geels, F., Hof, A., McMeekin, A., Nykvist, B., van Vuuren, D. (2015). Evaluating sustainability transitions pathways: Bridging analytical approaches to address governance challenges. Global Environmental Change, 35, 239-253. 




Incumbent organisations in sustainability transitions  

Track convenors: Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti (Lappeenranta-Lahti Technical University), Gregor Kungl (University of Stuttgart)

Corresponding convenor: Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti ( 

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks 


This session explores the various roles of incumbent organisations in sustainability transitions. In the field of transition research incumbent organisations have traditionally been conceptualised as large, stable organisations which impede sustainable developments. However, the view on incumbent organisations has broadened over the years, and several contributions that expand the traditional role of incumbents have emerged (see e.g., Kungl 2024). Scholars have moved beyond initial dichotomies (conservative regime actors vs. radical new entrants) and have shown that incumbents can well play diverse roles (van Mossel et al. 2018; Apajalahti et al. 2018; Mori 2021; Magnusson and Werner 2022). 

Although, numerous case studies have been conducted in recent years, more in-depth research into the systematic analysis of the ambiguity and determinants of the heterogeneous roles of incumbents in sustainability transitions is needed. This session welcomes theoretical and empirical contributions from all fields of social science which focus on the diverse roles of incumbents in the course of sustainability transitions.  

Topics may include (and go beyond): 

  • Contributions that broaden the traditional view on incumbent organisations and consider their plural role e.g., as partners, game changers, collaborators and community maintainers 
  • The interaction of incumbents across sectoral borders (e.g., cross-sectoral collaboration, multi-regime investigations, mergers, innovations from new sectors) 
  • Atypical cases of incumbents, for example incumbent organisations that have limited power, are smaller in size or younger in age 
  • The overcoming of incumbent inertia and the dissolution of organisational path dependence 
  • The relevance of industry crises and shocks for the reorientation of incumbent firms 

Papers studying such issues and related topics are cordially invited. 



Apajalahti, Eeva-Lotta; Temmes, Armi; Lempiälä, Tea (2018): Incumbent organisations shaping emerging technological fields: cases of solar photovoltaic and electric vehicle charging. In: Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 30 (1), 44–57. 

Kungl, Gregor; Geels, Frank W. (2018): Sequence and alignment of external pressures in industry destabilisation: Understanding the downfall of incumbent utilities in the German energy transition (1998-2015). In: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 26, 78–100. 

Magnusson T, Werner V. Conceptualisations of incumbent firms in sustainability transitions: Insights from organisation theory and a systematic literature review. Business Strategy and the Environment 2022;32(2):903–19. 

Mori, Akihisa (2021): How do incumbent companies’ heterogeneous responses affect sustainability transitions? Insights from China’s major incumbent power generators. In: Environmental Innovations and Societal Transitions 39, 55–72. 

van Mossel, Allard; van Rijnsoever; Hekkert, Marko P. (2018): Navigators through the storm: A review of organization theories and the behavior of incumbent firms during transitions. In: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 26, 44–63 




Reimagining agrifood: Querying sustainability transitions through innovation, actors, mechanisms and governance  


Track convenors: Camilla Chlebna (Kiel University), Gillian Cornish (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), Simon Fielke (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), Jonathan Friedrich (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research), Petra Wagner (Austrian Institute of Technology) & Jana Zscheischler (University of Vechta, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research) 

Corresponding convenor: Camilla Chlebna (

Type of contributions: Full papers and speed talks


Agricultural activities are a major driver of global environmental change, while simultaneously being one of the most vulnerable sectors to the effects of climate change with critical consequences for global food security. The proposed track aims to deepen our understanding of shaping transformations towards more sustainable agrifood systems that serve both humans and nature(s). Within the transitions literature, agricultural sectors are relatively less explored than others (e.g. energy). There is a need to improve how we understand the roles of actors, mechanisms, proposals for change and expected outcomes, as well as debates about normative contestations and conflict, and potential unintended side-effects.  

With a focus on equity, justice, food security, and resilience in the face of environmental change (including climate change), this paper track will examine the critical role and responsibilities of different actors such as farmers, innovation actors, incumbents, intermediaries, policy actors, and (other) focal actors, in orchestrating and/or hindering sustainability transitions in agrifood systems.  

The track will further attend to the mechanisms and roles by which these actors navigate sustainability transitions within and across agrifood systems, how they work across and between research and technology development and connect with diverse governance arrangements to solve cross-societal issues. The track will actively engage with discussions on innovative research methodologies, specifically exploring pathways through interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and transformative research approaches (e.g. by attending to discussions on responsible research and innovation).  

We invite contributions from diverse geographic locations, including from the global south, to present a comprehensive understanding of how different agricultural landscapes, social dynamics and embeddings contend with agrifood system transitions, particularly on Indigenous peoples’ lands. 

Cluster I: Actors and networks 

  • actor roles and responsibilities 
  • new actor groups, coalitions and networks 
  • power and agency, (financial) resources and (social) capital  
  • normative contestations and conflict  

Cluster II: Knowledge and innovation systems 

  • diverse knowledge systems (including normative knowledge) 
  • collaboration across scientific disciplines, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research approaches 
  • new innovation systems, adjustment of existing innovation systems, just innovation approaches (e.g. RRI) 

Cluster III: Institutions and Governance 

  • role of public sector organisations and industry 
  • governance risks and opportunities  
  • role of innovation policies (e.g. mission-oriented approaches)  

Cluster IV: Geography and Context 

  • socio-technical differences between geopolitical spaces 
  • impact on rural development and local livelihoods 
  • dark sides, unintended side effects and trade-offs 

Cluster V: Tracking and assessing change and effectiveness 

  • effective tracking and assessing of the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives within agrifood systems and nature 
  • (most) relevant indicators and metrics, and their application across diverse contexts
Connections of Sustainability Transitions with Security, Geopolitics and Peace 


Track convenors: Paula Kivimaa (Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE), Kacper Szulecki (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, NUPI)

Corresponding convenor: Paula Kivimaa (

Types of contributions: Full papers   


The Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have shown the cascading effects that geopolitical and health security developments have on the progress of sustainability transitions (Kanda and Kivimaa 2020; Kuzemko et al. 2022). Historically, wars and crises have shaped today’s path dependent socio-technical systems. Currently, security considerations are gaining prominence in discussions on different fora, e.g., energy and food transitions or innovation and industrial policies. It is also evident that these concerns are not limited to the international domain. They transcend the international/domestic division, either through technology or via transnational influences, where local threats emerge as responses to external stimuli or local crises have transnational repercussions. New and heightened security tensions are evident globally, regionally, and locally, calling for research on the connections of sustainability transitions with security, geopolitics and peace. 

Transitions may also influence security. They may create new kinds of security risks, resource dependencies or local tensions. They may change the power balance of states or affect the operational conditions of militaries. Transitions can also create positive security outcomes, e.g., community empowerment, improved climate security, or contribute to peace building or societal resilience. Security and geopolitics connect to the governance of transitions. The transition scholarship should recognize security not only as a landscape factor but being intertwined in socio-technical regime structures and driving forces for niche development. 

This track calls for papers that address the following topics:  

  • Conceptual and empirical papers combining sustainability transition studies with security studies, peace studies or geopolitics. 
  • Papers exploring connections between security, geopolitics and just transitions. 
  • Papers exploring how security, geopolitics or peace building shape niche development and expansion. 
  • Papers examining the role militaries and defence forces in niche development and socio-technical regime change
  • Papers exploring the ways in which sustainability transitions are linked to societal conflicts and peace building 



Kanda, W., & Kivimaa, P. (2020). What opportunities could the COVID-19 outbreak offer for sustainability transitions research on electricity and mobility?. Energy Research & Social Science, 68, 101666. 

Kuzemko, C., Blondeel, M., Dupont, C., & Brisbois, M. C. (2022). Russia’s war on Ukraine, European energy policy responses & implications for sustainable transformations. Energy Research & Social Science, 93, 102842. 

Digitalization and Sustainability Transitions 


Track convenors: Koen Frenken (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University), Katja Hydle (Department of Informatics, University of Oslo), Tuukka Mäkitie (SINTEF Digital and TIK Centre, University of Oslo), Matthijs Mouthaan (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University), Laura Piscicelli (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University).  

Corresponding convenor: Koen Frenken (

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks 


Digitalization has been a rather neglected topic within sustainability transitions research, even if it is widely acknowledged that digitalization affects transition pathways in energy, mobility, food, housing, and healthcare (Andersen et al., 2021; Mäkitie et al., 2023) as well as in circular economy (Piscicelli, 2022). Importantly, rather than fostering sustainable innovations as an enabling technology, digitalization may equally consolidate unsustainable practices and the associated power of incumbents. What is more, there are growing concerns about the energy and rare material use of digital technologies, and the rebound effects following from its widespread use (Hilty and Asbischer, 2015). For sustainability transition scholars, a key question becomes to what extent digitalization transforms (inter)organizational practices and socio-technical-ecological systems in a direction that yields sustainability effects. 

The questions we would like to address in this paper track include, among other: 

  • What are the sustainability impacts of digitalization within and across different socio-technical-ecological systems and geographical contexts? 
  • How is digitalization leveraged in radical innovations promoting sustainable alternatives versus incremental innovation reinforcing established socio-technical-ecological regimes (Mäkitie et al., 2023)? 
  • How may digitalization affect and shape sustainability transition pathways? 
  • How can digitalization be conceived of from a ‘multi-system perspective’ (Andersen et al. 2021)?  
  • How does digitalization affect the industrial dynamics and (global) supply chains in processes of sustainability transitions? 
  • What are the (inter-)organizational dynamics accompanying digitalization processes towards sustainability, including the role of start-ups, incumbents, governments, NGOs, and citizens? 
  • How can digital technologies, platforms and smart devices support circular economy and sustainable business models? 
  • How can digital platforms enable monitoring, reporting and reducing Scope 3 emissions across value chains? 
  • What are the implications of digitalization for just transitions? 



Andersen, Allan Dahl, Frenken, Koen, Galaz, Victor, Kern, Florian, Klerkx, Laurens, Mouthaan, Matthijs, Piscicelli, Laura, Schor, Juliet B., & Vaskelainen, Taneli, 2021, On digitalization and sustainability transitions, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 41, 96-98.

Hilty, Lorenz M., & Aebischer, Bernard, 2015, ICT Innovations for Sustainability. Cham: Springer. 

Mäkitie, Tuukka, Hanson, Jens, Damman, Sigrid, & Wardeberg, Mari, 2023, Digital innovation’s contribution to sustainability transitions, Technology in Society, 73, 102255.

Piscicelli, Laura, 2023, The sustainability impact of a digital circular economy, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 61 (C), 101251. 

Reimagining nature and the arts in sustainability transitions 


Track convenors: Stephen Williams (Chalmers University of Technology), Josephine Chambers (Urban Futures Studio, Utrecht University) 

Corresponding convenor: Stephen Williams (

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks


This paper track explores the relationship between nature, art, imagination, and sustainability transitions. We encourage submissions that investigate how artistic and imaginative approaches can deepen our engagement with nature and society in sustainability transitions, through literature, visual arts, sound, music, theatre, and more. Building on the success of arts-based engagement at IST 2023, we call for submissions that allow participants to experience, create, and engage with arts-nature based approaches from sustainability scholars, practicing artists, and researchers that bridge these worlds.  

The IST 2024 theme notes the limits of “simplistic understanding of the relationships between sustainability transitions and nature”. The arts in all forms attempt to portray complex relationships and reimagine the place of the human in natural relationships. The conference theme also highlights the tensions and trade-offs between, for example, “land-use and mineral needs of global low-carbon transitions.” The arts have the potential to make these tensions more visible and reimagine future possibilities for human-nature interaction where humans live in, with, and as natural systems (Pascual et al., 2023).  

Potential topics to explore include the implications of the arts as a method, boundary object or instrument in research projects; arts as method to reimagine sustainable futures (Maggs & Robinson, 2020) the relative “value” of cognitive vs. affective experiences (Williams et al., 2023); balancing instrumental and expressive artistic works (Maggs, 2014); how choices of explanation and framing of artistic interventions affect the aesthetic experiences of audiences and connection to sustainability (Williams, 2022); evaluation of the arts in sustainability research and transitions (Vervoort et al., 2023); how the arts connect with community and identity, and how might this be useful for supporting transitions; and the role that the arts play in disruption (Vervoort et al., 2023) and social movements of resistance that can enhance the visibility of marginalized perspectives (Horne, 2019; Williams & Doyon, 2019). 



Horne, G. (2019). Jazz and justice: Racism and the political economy of the music. NYU Press 

Maggs, D. (2014). Artists of the floating world: rethinking art/sustainability relations in the late days of modernity (Thesis). University of British Columbia.  

Maggs, D. & Robinson, J. (2020). Sustainability in an Imaginary World: Art and the Question of Agency. Routledge. 

Pascual, U., Balvanera, P., Anderson, C.B. et al. Diverse values of nature for sustainability. Nature 620, 813–823 (2023).

Vervoort, J., Zamuruieva, I., Dolejšová, M., Smeenk, S., Mattelmäki, T., Wolstenholme, R., Light, A., Catlow, R., Jain, A., Vaajakallio, K., Falay, Z., Ampatzidou, C., Choi, J., van Veldhoven, M., Rutting, L., Reichelt, L., Lane, R., Moossdorff, C., Torrens, J., Mangnus, A. (2023). Nine dimensions for evaluating creative practices: what they’re for and how to use them. CreaTures. Retrieved from 

Williams, S., Chambers, J. & Vervoort, J. (2023) The role of sound and music in reimagining sustainable futures. Paper presented at International Sustainability Transitions 2023, Utrecht.   

Williams, S. (2022). Can you hear the Earth breathing? Translation and disclosure in sound art data sonification in Pauletto, S., Delle Monche, S., and Selfridge, R. 2nd Conference on the Sonification of Health and Environmental Data (SoniHED 2022, pp. 44-48). 

Williams, S. and Doyon, A. (2019). Justice in Energy Transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. Vol 31, June 2019, pp. 144-153 







Learning to transform: connecting urban experimentation and urban policy mixes better 

Track convenors: Marc Dijk (Maastircht University), Tim Schwanen (University of Oxford), Andy Karvonen (Lund University) 

Corresponding convenor: Marc Djik ( 

Types of contributions: Full papers 


This session welcomes contributions that explore the connection of urban experimentation and learning with the design and adaptation of urban policy (mixes), in order to accelerate sustainable urban transformation processes. Papers may address questions such as: How can urban experiments be better aligned to other urban policies to enable sustainability transformation? How can urban experiments more effectively lead to policy learning? How do urban policies constrain the effect of urban experiments? 

The contribution of the first generation of urban living labs (ULLs) to system-wide sustainability transformations is thus far less than expected (Scholl et al, 2022). A possible explanation for this can be found in the focus of most ULLs on local, highly contextualized knowledge, and a missing link to system-wide transformations through learning, diffusion and upscaling beyond the geographic boundaries of the lab. 

In the transitions literature, both ‘experimentation’ and ‘concerted public policy mixes’ have been proposed as key instruments for transformation towards sustainability. These approaches have hitherto been studied separately, and a challenge for future research is how to better connect the learning processes in experiments to public policy development (Kohler et al, 2019). This connection seems very relevant for the speed and direction of innovations that are critical to sustainability transitions.  

Urban transitions are not about technological or social innovations or their impacts per se, but about how multiple innovations, including those in policy and planning, shape patterns or forms of reconfiguration. Hodson et al. (2017) observed that, if they are to contribute to urban transitions, the focus of experiments must go beyond the experimental practices and also involve pre-existing infrastructures and institutions, including those at multiple levels of governance.  



HODSON, M., GEELS, F. W. & MCMEEKIN, A. 2017. Reconfiguring urban sustainability transitions, analysing multiplicity. Sustainability, 9, 299. 

KÖHLER, J., GEELS, F. W., ET AL. 2019. An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 31, 1-32. 

SCHOLL, C., DE KRAKER, J., & DIJK, M., 2022. Enhancing the contribution of urban living labs to sustainability transformations: Towards a meta‐lab approach. Urban Transformations, 4(1), 7. 


Digitalisation, automation, and electrification in mobility transitions: conceptual reflections and empirical findings 


Track convenors: Jørgen Aarhaug (Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics), Tim Fraske (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT), Daniel Lang (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT), Marianne Ryghaug (SINTEF Community), Jens Schippl (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT), Tim Schwanen (University of Oxford), David Tyfield (Lancaster University), Timo von Wirth (Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences), Kejia Yang (University of Oslo).  

Corresponding convenor: Jørgen Aarhaug (  

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks


Currently, mobility systems are undergoing rapid changes driven by global trends such as digitalisation, automation and electrification, which together amount to an uncertain but unfolding socio-technical transition in mobility (Geels et al., 2011). Automation and digitalisation are transforming the mobility landscape, leading to advancements in autonomous vehicles, smart infrastructure, and new mobility services. Electrification has been generally regarded as a solution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels. However, it is less clear to what extent these trending changes would shape the mobility systems into more socially inclusive and sustainable directions. Sustainability challenges require new ways of knowledge production and decision-making, including community-based, interactive, or participatory research to shape future socio-technical systems (Lang et al. 2012). Living labs offer a promising research avenue at the interface of transformative, transdisciplinary, and socio-technical research. Hence, they address fundamental societal challenges and increase the ability to initiate mutual learning processes across academic fields, society, entrepreneurs, and policy makers (von Wirth et al. 2019; Ryghaug et al. 2022). 

Against this backdrop, we welcome contributions that may address but are not limited to the following themes:   

  • Governing mobility transition pathways: What are the potential pathways towards just and sustainability as mobility transitions usher in a new era? How can we navigate the governance and institutional challenges of mobility transitions to open up more plural and/or inclusive transition pathways?  
  • Social practices and behaviour changes: How do new mobility practices and/or cultures develop? To what extent can these social dynamics and behavioural changes influence future mobility transitions? 
  • Space, place, and scale: How can we evaluate geographical and/or multi-scalar dimensions of mobility transitions, such as the rural-urban divide or global value chains? 
  • Living labs and practical experimentation:  How can living labs help in understanding and initiating promising solutions in early stages of transitions?  



Geels, F., Kemp, R., Dudley, G. & Lyons, G. 2011. Automobility in transition?: A socio-technical analysis of sustainable transport, Routledge. 

Lang, D. J., Wiek, A., Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P., … & Thomas, C. J. (2012). Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges. Sustainability science, 7, 25-43. 

von Wirth, T.; Fuenfschilling, L.; Frantzeskaki, N.; Coenen, L. (2019): Impacts of urban living labs on sustainability transitions: mechanisms and strategies for systemic change through experimentation Eur. Plan. Stud., 27 (2019), pp. 229-257, 10.1080/09654313.2018.1504895 

Ryghaug, M., Haugland, B. T., Søraa, R. A., & Skjølsvold, T. M. (2022). Testing emergent technologies in the Arctic: how attention to place contributes to visions of autonomous vehicles. Science & Technology Studies, 35(4), 4-21.   

Tackling the complexities of household agency and resilience in energy transitions

Track convenors: Jani Lukkarinen (Finnish Environment Institute), Kaisa Matschoss (University of Helsinki), Outi Pitkänen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Harald Rohracher (Linköping University). 

Corresponding convenor: Kaisa Matschoss (

Types of contributions: Full papers and speed talks 


This paper track is focused on examining the energy transition from the household perspective (e.g. Raven et al. 2021; Upham et al. 2020). For households, the energy transitions are far from simple, as different pathways are often manifested through uncertainties, inequalities and tensions and it is unclear what kind of complexities the household agency involves. The past and current energy crises in Europe highlight the role of households as a source of flexibility in energy consumption (e.g. Laakso et al. 2023; Lukkarinen et al. forthcoming; Winther & Sundet 2023) and potential sources of system level resilience. However, not all households have the capacity to engage in energy saving and consumption altering activities. Paradoxically, the energy crisis, although accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels, has led to increasing inequalities in the energy transitions. 

To unpack the complexities and paradoxes of household agency, the contributions to this paper track on household agency are called from a broad perspective. They can have a more conceptual focus reflecting on theoretical understandings of agency in contexts of transformative change, or focus on e.g. various aspects of social practices and technical solutions on enabling transition agency on household scale opened up by the recent energy market shocks, or on mitigation activities, such as on energy sufficiency. We also invite papers that conceptualise household resilience or empirical examinations on what constitutes resilience from the household perspective. E.g. is time-shifting consumption a key for being resilient, and what such flexibility implies in practice? What is the role of various demand response practices and time shifting solutions in household agency? How can such solutions be made just, fair and inclusive? We wish to receive submissions that help to diversify understanding of household agency in energy transitions.  



Laakso, S., Castellazzi, E., Matschoss, K. & Rinkinen, J. (2023). Agents of change or victims of transition? Media framings on household roles during the energy crisis. Sustainability Science. 

Lukkarinen, J., Das, R. Laakso, S. & Martiskainen, M. (forthcoming). Using vulnerability framework to diversify understanding on household agency: Experiences from Canada and Finland. 

Raven R, Reynolds D, Lane R, Lindsay J, Kronsell A & Arunachalam D (2021) Households in sustainability transitions: a systematic review and new research avenues. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 40: 87-107. 

Upham P, Bögel P & Dütschke E (2020) Thinking about individual actor-level perspectives in sociotechnical transitions: A comment on the transitions research agenda. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 34: 341-343. 

Winther, T., Sundet, Ø. Flexibility for whom? Householder and stakeholder perspectives on justice regarding the introduction of dynamic grid tariffs in Norway. Energy Efficiency 16, 75 (2023). 

Issues of justice, the labour market and the distribution of costs and benefits in sustainability transitions 


Track convenors: Håkon Endresen Normann (Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, NIFU), Henrik Brynthe Lund (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU), Stuart Dawley (Newcastle University), Asbjørn Karlsen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU), Danny MacKinnon (Newcastle University) 

Corresponding convenor: Henrik Brynthe Lund (  

Type of contributions:  Full papers 


To reduce society’s impact on nature there is a need to transform existing modes of production, consumption, and behaviour across all parts of society. Such changes will create short-term winners and losers. In this track, we are interested the (re)distribution of benefits and burdens of transitions, with particular attention to issues of justice, jobs, and the spatial distribution of winners and losers.  

Despite some attention in the literature to topics such as green jobs (Consoli, Marin, Marzucchi, & Vona, 2016) and labour in sustainability transitions (Moilanen & Alasoini, 2023), our understanding of the dynamics that shape changes in and demand for skills and jobs, and furthermore the labour market, in transition processes, is underdeveloped. 

There is a need for 1) research on the implications of transition processes on jobs and competences, 2) research on how the distribution of costs and benefits from changes in demands for jobs and competences affect the conditions for the necessary transition processes, and 3) more research on the spatial impact of changing demand for competences. 

For this full paper track, we seek contributions that explore topics such as (but not limited to):  

  • Change dynamics within regions in transition. 
  • Theoretical contributions that provide better conceptualizations of the distribution of costs and benefits in transitions. 
  • Empirical studies on the interaction between transitions of industries (or regions) and skills or labour markets. 
  • The uneven (geographical) outcomes of sustainability transitions.  
  • The strategies of key actors in adapting and responding to changes in labour markets and skill challenges following sustainability transitions.  
  • Distributional effects and issues of justice, including workers and regions in sustainability transitions. 
  • Experimentation with new methods to explore notions of “green skills” and “green jobs”. 



Consoli, D., Marin, G., Marzucchi, A., & Vona, F. (2016). Do green jobs differ from non-green jobs in terms of skills and human capital? Research Policy, 45(5), 1046-1060.  

Moilanen, F., & Alasoini, T. (2023). Workers as actors at the micro-level of sustainability transitions: A systematic literature review. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 46, 100685.  


How to build something from nothing: The emerging carbon economy as an example of whole system development 


Track convenors: Julius Wesche (Norwegian University of Science of Technology, NTNU), Amber Joy Nordholm, (Norwegian University of Science of Technology, NTNU), Elisabeth Dütschke (Fraunhofer ISI).

Corresponding convenor: Julius Wesche (

Type of contributions: Full papers 


Net zero goals place economic value on the collection, abatement, storage, transport, and trading of carbon and thus put pressure on all kinds of sectors to come up with new modes of operation. As such, we are witnessing the emergence of a new carbon economy which presents new challenges and opportunities for us as transition scholars. For example, hard-to-abate sectors (e.g., steel, cement, and waste-to-energy) lack cost-efficient options for CO2 abatement, so investments into technological solutions like CCUS are increasing rapidly. CCUS, the preferred or only option for some sectors, is spurring the building of a whole new market. A market for CCUS involves interlinked and wide-reaching value chains; the development of which is presently evolving rapidly and is poorly understood. 

Where else are we seeing entirely new systems being built based on this new carbon economy? Possibilities include but are not limited to sustainable aviation, decarbonized marine traffic and shipping, and automated vehicles. 

While transition scholars often focus on new regimes replacing old ones, the creation of a carbon economy can be viewed as the establishment of an entirely new socio-technical system. This will necessitate the development of a vast array of technologies, infrastructures, and increased capital investments, along with anticipated changes in and the emergence of institutions, organizational behaviors, and practices, as well as values. Processes of whole system development are unprecedented and, as such, are not well understood in transition studies. 

This proposed session offers an opportunity to explore several current themes in transitions, such as multi-sector and multi-system interactions, technology versus nature-based solutions, contestations, and the interplay of political will and decision-making. 

Questions that will be addressed in this session can include but are not limited to:  

  • Does the traditional understanding of niches and regimes still hold when it comes to systems that are newly emerging?
  • What challenges do actors face while building up a whole new socio-technical system, and how do they attempt to shape these imminent processes?
  • What is the role of the state in such newly forming systems? Is it a broker, an intermediary, a funder, or something else?
  • What can we learn from the development of the carbon system for transition research in other areas? 


Feeling and acting transformative change: Personal dimensions of transitions in everyday life. 


Track convenors: Kristina Bogner (Utrecht University), Femke Coops (Eindhoven University of Technology), Timo von Wirth (Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences & DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam) 

Corresponding convenor: Kristina Bogner (

Type of contributions: Speed talks


Despite being researched as systemic change processes, transitions have a diversity of implications in people’s everyday private and public lives as well as in the more-than-human world. Typical examples are how transitions may affect affordances (i.e. how the mobility system in a city is shaping different abilities to travel), or how transitions affect our practices, structures, and cultures.   

One important aspect of understanding transitions in everyday life is the role of emotions. Emotions have been identified as providing meanings and imaginative potential to political and economic transformations (Yang, 2014) and being able to influence political positioning (Holmes et al., 2020) as well as environmental stewardship (Masterson et al. 2019). An emotions lens can help us to increase our engagement with ‘inner development’, to ’“better make sense of interconnected meaning-making and behaviour at different levels” (Bogner et al. 2024, p. 6) and allow us to shift our focus “towards behaviour beyond innovating, consuming, or producing, toward varieties of (dis)engagement with transitions (Bogner et al. 2024, p. 6). Emotions particularly play a role during dynamics of contestation, friction, destabilization or decline in transition processes, which are an inherent, yet still overlooked aspect as well. This is why (fears of) loss, deprivation, or termination require further attention in the study of sustainability transitions.     

In this track, we invite papers engaging with (but also going beyond) the following key questions:  

  • How do transitions manifest in the everyday lives of those shaping and being shaped by transitions?  
  • Which role do emotions play in how individuals and collectives make meaning of and act in sustainability transitions (moving focus beyond practices of production and consumption)?   
  • How can “feeling sustainability transitions” help in “acting transformative change”? For instance, how can we create / design spaces that enable us to acknowledge and explore emotions, e.g. to feel the urgency of climate change and to act on it?   
  • How do emotions in transitions relate to other upcoming concepts such as mental models, inner development, identities, rituals, a.o.?  
  • How can emotion-sensitive governance structures support sustainability transitions and help in informing interventions related to, e.g. restorative justice, regenerating human-nature relationships? 
  • What are appropriate collective ways (e.g. policy mixes, community rituals, governance instruments) of dealing with (fears of) loss, deprivation, or termination associated with sustainability transitions?  



Bogner, K., Kump, B., Beekman, M., & Wittmayer, J. (2024). Coping with transition pain: An emotions perspective on phase-outs in sustainability transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 50, 100806.   

Holmes, M., Manning, N., & Wettergren, Å. (2020). Political economies of emotion. Emotions and Society, 2(1), 3–11. 

Masterson, V. A., Enqvist, J. P., Stedman, R. C., & Tengö, M. (2019). Sense of place in social–ecological systems: From theory to empirics. Sustainability science, 14, 555-564.  

Yang, J. (2014). The political economy of affect and emotion in East Asia. Routledge.  

Wojtynia, N., van Dijk, J., Derks, M., Koerkamp, P. W. G., & Hekkert, M. P. (2023). Spheres of transformation: exploring personal, political and practical drivers of farmer agency and behaviour change in the Netherlands. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 49, 100776. 


Open submissions

In addition to the preselected paper tracks, it is possible to submit an abstract as an open submission.  

Correspondence to 

Open submissions are aimed at including a broad set of perspectives and themes that meet the whole STRN community’s interest and also explore new and emerging issues.  

We also welcome submissions that speak directly to the theme of the conference, Sustainability and Nature 

Expectations for open track submissions are similar as in predefined paper tracks. You submit an abstract (max 700 words) and you also need to select maximum two research themes from a predefined list of research topics. 

The conference organizers will organize the sessions thematically and all submissions are peer reviewed.  

The open track accepts all types of contributions (full papers, speed talks and posters).  


Types of contributions and session formats 

Full papers: Presentation and discussion of original research papers. Authors must submit a complete draft of their paper before the conference and is expected to read and comment on at least one other paper in the session where the paper is presented. In a full paper session, typically 3-4 papers are presented, with about 25 minutes allocated per paper, including feedback and discussion.  

Speed talks: Speed talks are for less mature work and can introduce new research ideas, data and analytical insights, and early-stage work to provide a basis for collective discussion. Submission of full papers is not required. Speed talks have about 5 minutes to present and 5 minutes for Q&A. 

Posters: You may also submit an abstract that will form the basis for a poster presentation. Posters will be visible throughout one full day of the conference and presenters will be expected to be available for discussion during a designated poster session. Participants are expected to bring their own posters.  

NOTE: you may indicate your preference for a session format, but the organizers may allocate submissions to an alternative session format depending on the volume of submissions. Any such reallocation will be clearly communicated in the decision letter. 


Abstract submission requirements  

Abstracts must be submitted through the online abstract submission system by February 16th, 2024, 23:59 CET.  

Abstracts should be maximum 700 words (including references) and should describe the key research questions, theory, methods, findings, and potential implications.  

If you submit to a preselected paper track, a brief description of how your contribution is relevant for the track’s theme is important.  

Abstracts must also indicate the preferred session format (full paper, speed talk or poster). Please consult the paper track descriptions for details about the formats accepted in the different tracks.  


Abstract review and feedback 

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed.  Authors will be notified of acceptance/rejection by March 15th 2024. The notification will include feedback to the author(s).  

Please note that the organizers may allocate submissions to an alternative session format or tracks. Any reallocation will be clearly communicated in the decision letter.     


Multiple submissions  

Please note that authors are expected to present no more than one submission at the conference, although an author may make more than one submission as co-author.  


Final submissions  

If your abstract is accepted, you must upload a final abstract that will be included in the digital conference program and the book of abstracts by May 15th, 2024.  

Accepted full papers also need to upload a complete version of the paper no later than June 1st.   

Full papers should be maximum 8000 words (excluding references, tables, and figures). Manuscripts should be of high quality, i.e., As if you would submit them to a peer-reviewed journal.    

Abstract and full papers will be available for registered participants.  

Conference hosts

IST 2024 is hosted by the University of Oslo, in collaboration with SINTEF,  Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the INTRANSIT and NTRANS research centers and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

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