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About the project

The research combines theories of socio-technical transitions and economic geography to identify low-carbon transition pathways with the greatest transformative potential and to investigate how countries and regions are preparing for such transformation.

CONTEXT

The project includes a multidisciplinary team with strong research experience in several areas such as economic geography, economics, innovation, technology management, public policies, computer science.

The project investigates the types of decarbonisation strategies that comply with the Paris Agreement, whose implementation requires the transformation of several sectors in addition to energy, such as mobility, construction, food and industry. This sectoral transformation raises challenges for the development of countries and regions, which have become particularly pressing as states will have to accelerate the low-carbon transition with more fragile finances and the need for economic recovery after the pandemic crisis. The research combines theories of socio-technical transitions and economic geography to identify low-carbon transition pathways with the greatest transformative potential and to investigate how countries and regions are preparing for such transformation.

 

The focus of this research is on the type of transition strategies that are most beneficial to the economy, that is, that have the capacity to generate changes in other sectors. The project studies the possible directions of the transition and its transformative capacity, assesses the extent to which the system is preparing for this mode of transition and identifies the areas that are leading or delaying change. To this end, it will develop a typology of transformational decarbonization strategies based on a systematic analysis of the literature.

 

The project will search for patterns of transformation towards sustainable production and consumption already emerging at business level, and match them with the theory-derived decarbonization strategies. The results will contribute to the discussion on the processes and modes of sustainable transitions associated with the economic characteristics of the different regions. The project will also contribute to the discussion on the influence of the context as a facilitator of or constraint on some types of decarbonization strategies, as well as will identify the strategic intervention levers under which policies can intervene in order to amplify the effect of transitions on structural transformation at national and regional level.

The research is structured
around five Work Packages (WPs)

Sus2 Trans work package structure & competences 

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WP1
Typology of sustainable transitions

This work package assesses the options for the sustainable transition that are considered in the literature, namely in terms of the changes induced in the context, technologies, actors networks and institutions.

WP2
Technology innovations with transformative capacity

The goal is to identify and characterize the disruptive technology innovations with potential to accelerate climate mitigation.

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WP3
Transformative potential of technology innovations

Assess the capacity of technology innovations to influence changes in the modes of production and consumption in different sectors, and by this mean transforming the socio-economic system.

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WP4
Emerging trends of sustainable transformation

Identify new tendencies of change in the production of new products and services that are compatible with rapid decarbonization. New business activities in existing industries can appear in reaction to opportunities opened by technology advances like digitalization (e.g. knowledge-intensive and information-driven services), demand needs or societal challenges such as climate change.

WP5
Policies and strategies
for transformative change

Identify and propose effective strategies and policy portfolios to promote sustainable transitions that are transformative of the system at different spatial scales.