The next decade of transition studies - Emerging themes around energy

Dr. Jochen Markard will hold a talk reflecting on the emerging research topics in the field of energy transition studies.

Jochen Markard. Photo: ETH Zürich.

About the talk

Energy sectors are changing fundamentally in many places around the world. Among others, this transition is driven by the ambition to combat climate change. A key element of the ongoing energy transition is the expansion of new renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or biomass, partly substituting electricity from fossil or nuclear fuels. With an increasing decarbonization of electricity and rapid advances in battery technology, it also becomes more attractive to use electricity in transport. At the same time, information and communication technologies become ever more powerful and pervasive, thereby also affecting ongoing transitions.

Sustainability transition studies is an emerging and rapidly growing field of research addressing fundamental and long-term changes in existing sectors. It brings together researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds who share an ambition to study and contribute to sustainable transformations. Transition studies are based on systems approaches to innovation that highlight the interrelatedness of technological, organizational, institutional, and socio-political change.

This talk offers reflections about emerging research topics in the field of energy transition studies. Markard will argue that the energy transition is a particularly interesting topic for research, policy and organizational strategy because it is a sustainability transition that has entered the next stage of development. This new phase is characterized by an accelerated diffusion of innovation, the interaction of multiple technologies, industry decline, increasing struggles over policies and transition pathways, and interaction with adjacent sectors such as transport or ICT. Many of these phenomena are complex and very challenging for policy making and research. As innovation scholars, we not only have the opportunity to study sustainability transitions on a real-time basis but also to co-develop and shape the frameworks and tools needed for that.

About the speaker

Jochen Markard works as a senior researcher at the Group for Sustainability and Technology

within the Department of Management, Technology, and Economics at ETH Zurich. He is also a board member of the sustainability transitions research network (STRN). In his research, Jochen studies the interaction of technology, actors and strategies, policies and politics. He applies concepts from innovation and transition studies, management studies, and political sciences. His overall ambition is to contribute to theory development and a better understanding of complex phenomena in the field of sustainability transitions.


Please register for the seminar by sending an email with the title “Seminar Markard” to


Published May 30, 2018 9:10 AM - Last modified May 30, 2018 9:10 AM