An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Jonathan Köhler
  • Frank W. Geels
  • Florian Kern
  • Jochen Markard
  • Anna Wieczorek
  • Floortje Alkemade
  • Flor Avelino
  • Anna Bergek
  • Frank Boons
  • Lea Fünfschilling
  • David Hess
  • Georg Holtz
  • Kirsten Jenkins
  • Paula Kivimaa
  • Mari Martiskainen
  • Andrew McMeekin
  • Marie Susan Mühlemeier
  • Bjorn Nykvist
  • Elsie Onsongo
  • Bonno Pel
  • Rob Raven
  • Harald Rohracher
  • Björn Sandén
  • Johan Schot
  • Benjamin Sovacool
  • Bruno Turnheim
  • Dan Welch
  • Peter Wells

Research units

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research
  • University of Manchester
  • Institute for Ecological Economy Research
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
  • Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • Lund University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wuppertal Institute for Climate
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Sussex
  • EPFL Valais Wallis
  • Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Monash University
  • Linköping University
  • King’s College London
  • Cardiff University


Research on sustainability transitions has expanded rapidly in the last ten years, diversified in terms of topics and geographical applications, and deepened with respect to theories and methods. This article provides an extensive review and an updated research agenda for the field, classified into nine main themes: understanding transitions; power, agency and politics; governing transitions; civil society, culture and social movements; businesses and industries; transitions in practice and everyday life; geography of transitions; ethical aspects; and methodologies. The review shows that the scope of sustainability transitions research has broadened and connections to established disciplines have grown stronger. At the same time, we see that the grand challenges related to sustainability remain unsolved, calling for continued efforts and an acceleration of ongoing transitions. Transition studies can play a key role in this regard by creating new perspectives, approaches and understanding and helping to move society in the direction of sustainability.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Research agenda, Socio-technical systems, Sustainability, Transformation, Transitions

ID: 32002564