Johan Schot is Director of the world-class Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex and is a Professor in History of Technology and Sustainability Transition Studies.

Johan’s twitter bio saliently describes him as a ‘traveller through time’.  This expression perfectly encapsulates the fascination and esteem he distinguishes for history with its power to illuminate the past and the future. Inspired and driven by the historical imagination, his research focuses on identifying the concepts and narratives that have contributed to the transition and development in our global society to the point of crisis that we find ourselves in today.


With interconnected international issues of inequality, growing migration, faltering economies, climate change, cyber-insecurity and terrorism, Professor Schot demonstrates by interweaving the teachings of history through disciplines, fields, communications and policies we can understand and shape an innovative global progress that addresses the societal and the environmental tests of our time.


The headline themes for areas of his research are:

Sustainability Transitions • Innovation Policy for Transformative Change • Deep Transition • Transforming Innovation • User Innovation • Strategic Niche Management • Multi-Level Perspective • Technocratic Internationalism • Making Europe • Inventing Europe • Contested Modernization • Transnational History • History of Technology...

Johan’s navigations through time and disciplines have led him to become one of the founding minds in the creation of Sustainability Transitions Studies – a cutting-edge field of enquiry in academic research. The foundations of this emergent discipline were laid with his co-direction of a €20 million Sustainability Transitions research program, his editorship of the Routledge ‘Studies of Sustainability Transitions’ book series and his co-authorship of the seminal 2010 monograph ‘Transitions Towards Sustainable Development. New Directions in the Study of Long Term Transformative Change’.

The fifth European Sustainability Transitions Conference, held in 2015, saw him as the lead organizer having co-organized this expanding research area’s pivotal conference since its debut in 2009. More recently, Schot contributed to the introduction of a spatial perspective in transitions studies and published a paper in May 2016’s Nature Energy Journal which explored the often neglected yet important role of users in Sustainability Transitions Studies.

His current focus is on Innovation Policy for Transformative Change and examination of the second global Deep Transition that we are currently experiencing. Throughout his career he has challenged dominant narratives to seek out concurrent paths to uncover alternative constructs that give an alternative knowledge and understanding. This approach has led to the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) theory which has this concept at its heart. Johan possesses a significant academic talent in combining various disciplines to produce revolutionary insights across fields.

Vision and approach

Johan’s approach is as an interdisciplinary collaborator between academic disciplines, policy-shapers, governments, NGOs and business worlds.

He is an highly-regarded and experienced network-builder whose advocacy of integrated ideas galvanises action through multi-disciplinary understanding. With connectivity as a key vision, Johan’s projects and platforms aim to deepen and broaden learning across science, technology, social sciences and the humanities helping to create niches that ultimately can help fulfil our global social needs by challenging the faltering incumbent system.  Johan is a generative actor across policy, academia and government providing inspiring diplomacy and connectivity between people, places, programmes and projects.


About this Site

First and foremost, this site is a vehicle, a tool and a hub for the creation and advancement of notions and networks involved in Schot’s research programmes, collaborative projects, teaching and curriculum development. Through its creation, he seeks to provide a central space to amalgamate and profile both his work and that of colleagues to show the direction, purpose and impact. By demonstrating central ideas, projects, networks and spaces the site expresses the interaction and outcome of these elements on policy, academia and society. It stresses the collaborative, interdisciplinary principle that is a central strand in Johan’s work and approach. As Director of the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, this is central both to the Unit and his approach.




Copyright © 2018 Johan Schot