Julia Wittmayer


Assistant Professor

+31 (0)10-4088899
Julia Wittmayer currently holds the position of Assistant Professor with the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) and works as senior researcher and advisor at DRIFT. Her background is in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Free University Amsterdam) with a PhD in Social Sciences from Erasmus University titled “Transition management, action research and actor roles: Understanding local sustainability transitions”. Her interests revolve around:

  • social innovations as changes in social relations and the societal fabric;
  • the role of values and narratives sustainability transitions;
  • governance of sustainability transitions;
  • and the role of research and transdisciplinary engagements in (the governance of) sustainability transitions.

Julia has been involved in and/or leading a variety of research projects, including EU-funded projects such as TRANSIT, Social Innovation Community, MUSIC or InContext. Currently, she researches the social dimensions of and the role of social innovations in energy transitions, leading DRIFT’s work in the PROSEU (2018-2021), SONNET (2019-2022), Energy-SHIFTS (2019-2021) and TOMORROW (2019-2022) EU-H2020 funded projects. Her passion for the role of science in transition has found a new home through her work with citizen science in the ACTION project (2019-2022) and on analysing the use of transition management in Sub-Saharan Africa in the TGroup project (2016-2020).
In addition, she has been engaged in policy advice for local and national government bodies across Europe (e.g. European Environmental Agency, German Environmental Agency (through the TRAFIS project), Dutch Ministry for Public Health and the cities of The Hague or Ludwigsburg), lectures at DRIFT’s Transition Academy and regularly gives guest lectures and presentations to science and practitioner audiences.
Selected publications include:

  • Wittmayer, J.M., Backhaus, J., Avelino, F., Pel, B., Strasser, T., Kunze, T., Zuijderwijk L. (2019) Narratives of change: How social innovation initiatives construct societal transformation. Futures 112: 102433. Link
  • Avelino, F. & J.M. Wittmayer (2019) The Transformative Potential of Plural Social Enterprise: A Multi-Actor Perspective. In Eynaud, P., JL Laville, L Lucas dos Santos, S Banerjee, F Avelino, and L Hulgård (eds) Theory of Social Enterprise and Pluralism: Solidarity Economy, Social Movements, and Global South. Routledge: Oxfordshire. 193-220.  Link
  • Bartels, K. and J.M. Wittmayer (eds.) (2018) Action Research in Policy Analysis: Critical and Relational Approaches to Sustainability Transitions. Routledge: Oxfordshire.  Link
  • Wittmayer, J.M., Pel, B., Bauler, T. & F. Avelino (2017) Editorial Synthesis: Methodological challenges in social innovation research. European Public and Social Innovation Review. 2(1): 1-16.  Link
  • Avelino, F. and Wittmayer, J.M. (2017), Transformative social innovation and its multi-actor-nature, chapter in: Atlas of Social InnovationLink
  • Wittmayer, J.M., Avelino, F, van Steenbergen, F. and D. Loorbach (2017) Actor Roles in Transition: Insights from role theory for understanding sustainability transitions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. 24: 45-56 DOI: 10.1016/j.eist.2016.10.003. Link
  • Wittmayer, J.M. & N. Schäpke (2014) Action, Research and Participation: Roles of Researchers in Sustainability Transitions. Sustainability Science. 9 (4): 483-496. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-014-0258-4. Link

For a full overview of her publications, please visit her Google Scholar profile or Research Gate.