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NEON’s 33 PhD researchers are lighting the way to zero-emission energy and mobility in the Netherlands through agent-based transition models.

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Emil Beemer


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NEON Research (New Energy and mobility Outlook for the Netherlands) will accelerate energy and mobility transitions in the Netherlands through agent-based transition models. These models will be developed through interdisciplinary research into the behavioural, technological, and societal dimensions of transitions and will be empirically tested in living labs.

NEON seeks to address three connected societal challenges: climate action, renewable energy, and sustainable transport. The research context of the Netherlands is lagging on these challenges as it is for example one of the slowest adopters of renewable energy in Europe. The NEON consortium has identified three main barriers for scientists to address in this context:

  • Promising technologies are underfunded
  • Technological solutions fail to incorporate insights on the societal dimensions of transitions
  • Transitions research lacks quantified actionable models for policymakers

NEON’s 33 PhD researchers will therefore investigate solutions such as airborne wind energy, Mobility-as-a-Service and critical societal perspectives such as mobility justice, while collaborating on integrated agent-based transition models. These models will deliver context-sensitive scenarios that stakeholders can use to find desirable transition pathways.

NEON can achieve this thanks to a consortium of universities, NGOs, businesses, and government bodies that will collaborate in living labs to put the scientific insights of NEON to the test. The city of Rotterdam and province of Noord-Brabant are key partners for these labs and will benefit from NEON’s integral approach and the opportunity to research the social and technical impacts of new technologies in a learning-by-doing setting. In turn, the living labs will further refine NEON’s agent-based models with empirical validation and improve their value for policymakers.


NEON is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Go to the NEON website for a full list of partners

Our role in Neon

DRIFT is responsible for the cross-cutting work package 9 on Societal Values with the objective of co-creating desired transition pathways towards sustainable and just urban energy-mobility systems. The researchers in this work package will analyse the persistent problems of injustice and unsustainability at the root of the mobility transition and seek to learn from niche initiatives that envision just and sustainable futures for NEON’s integral models.