Sustainability Transitions Studies

DRIFT research is primarily positioned in the field of system innovation and sustainability transitions studies (STRN 2019, Köhler et al. 2019, Loorbach et al. 2017, Grin et al 2010). Transitions are long-term process of radical and structural change at the level of societal systems (e.g. sector, city, region).
A sustainability transition is defined as a “radical transformation towards a sustainable society, as a response to a number of persistent problems confronting contemporary modern societies” (Grin et al 2010).
In the field of transition studies, DRIFT is renowned for its research on transition management, a new governance approach that aims to facilitate and accelerate sustainability transitions through a participatory process of visioning, learning and experimenting (Rotmans et al 2001, Loorbach 2010, Loorbach et al. 2015, Frantzeskaki et al. 2018).
What further sets DRIFT apart is our focus on the social challenges of sustainability transitions, and the inclusion of economic, political and cultural perspectives. We are particularly intrigued by governance challenges and new governance notions, political dilemmas, tensions and paradoxes of change.
Over the past few years, academic research at DRIFT has developed very broadly, expanding and co-evolving alongside DRIFTs other core activities. This diversity is reflected in our research themesresearch themes, each of which has its own research agenda connected to it.

  1. Frantzeskaki, N., Bach, M., Hölscher, K., Avelino, F. (eds.) (2018) Co-creating sustainable urban futures. A primer on applying transition management in cities. Springer: Tokyo.
  2. Grin J, Rotmans J, Schot J (eds.) (2010) Transitions to Sustainable Development. New Directions in the Study of Long-Term Transformative Change. Routledge, New York/London.
  3. Köhler, J., Geels, F.W., Kern, F., Markard, J., et al. (2019) An agenda for sustainability transitions research: state of the art and future directions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. DOI: 10.1016/j.eist.2019.01.004
  4. Loorbach, D., Frantzeskaki, N., Huffenreuter, L.R. (2015) Transition management: Taking stock from governance experimentation. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 58: 48-66.
  5. Loorbach, D., Frantzeskaki, N., Avelino, F. (2017) Sustainability Transitions Research: Transforming Science and Practice for Societal Change. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 42:599-626.
  6. Rotmans, J., Kemp, R., van Asselt, M. (2001) More evolution than revolution: transition management in public policy. Foresight 3(1):15-31.
  7. STRN, Sustainability Transitions Research Network (2019) An agenda for sustainability transitions research: state of the art and future directions. Available at:

Research Main Page
Research agenda
Master Thesis Supervision
PhD Supervision