Johan Schot is Professor of Global History and Sustainability Transitions at the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges. He is Academic Director of the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) and the Deep Transitions research project coordinated from the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex Business School.

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 theories, concepts and narratives that have contributed to transition, change and development in our global society. His two main strands of work orientate around developing Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP), through the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC), to meet the needs of the world in the 21st century; and growing the theory of the Second Deep Transition which he believes is occurring in the world today and that is the root of our current issues. He has also published extensively on the creation of the EU, examining how the EU’s ‘Europe’ came to be by identifying the issues which highlight the possible reasons for its current obstacles and difficulties with his book Writing the Rules for Europe.

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 and communications, that we can understand and shape global progress to address the societal and the environmental tests of our time as characterised by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He is concentrating on this research aim as Academic Director of TIPC and as Professor of Global History and Sustainability at the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges.


The headline themes for areas of his research are:

Sustainability Transitions • Innovation Policy for Transformative Change • Deep Transitions • 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 disciplines have led him to become one of the founding minds in the creation of Sustainability Transitions Studies – a fairly recent field of enquiry in academic research circles. The foundations of this 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 role of users in Sustainability Transitions Studies.

His focus now is on Innovation Policy for Transformative Change and the 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, civil society, NGOs, the media and business worlds.

He is a highly-regarded and experienced network-builder whose advocacy of integrated ideas galvanises action across multi-disciplinary understandings. 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 help fulfil our global social and environmental 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.




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