Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy |Lund University

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Innovation and sustainability

In the past decades, the field of innovation studies has been moving beyond its original focus on science and technology. This turn is both cause and consequence of a new interest in grand societal challenges, sustainable development goals and mission-led research and innovation. The 2009 Lund Declaration concluded that European research and innovation must focus on the grand challenges of our time, finding solutions to problems associated with ageing societies, pandemics, public health, security, global warming and the increasingly difficult access to sources of energy, water and food.

Addressing such challenges will involve a range of innovations and transformations. The general assumption is that incremental innovations alone will not suffice, but instead a radical overhaul of the currently prevailing production and consumption patterns will be required in many industries. This typically involves a variety of technological and social innovations, behavioral and institutional change, and a diversity of societal actors. Innovation is thus seen as highly systemic and ‘socio-technical’ in nature.

In recent years, research in the realm of sustainability transitions has brought about important insights into the specificities of innovation for grand challenges, pointing e.g. to the relevance of a systemic understanding of innovation, the role of experimentation, the interplay between actors at different geographical scales (local to global) or the formulation of explicitly transformative innovation policy.

In this research platform we study a range of aspects connected to questions of sustainability transitions. In particular, we focus on the role of multi-scalar transition dynamics (geography of transitions), transformative innovation policy as well as the renewal of mature industries.

More information on research in sustainability transitions can be found here:

A more detailed research agenda for transformative innovation policy is available here:

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