This article is an adaptation of a previously published news piece by the University of Sussex.

The Deep Transitions research project is a five-year programme (2017-2022) initiated and led by Professor Johan Schot and coordinated by the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex and the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges. The project is linked to the aims of the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium in offering distinctive implications for policy-making targeted at resolving societal and environmental challenges. The Deep Transitions project team consists of a number of dedicated SPRU researchers.

On 15-17 January, the second Deep Transitions workshop gathered the research team at the University of Sussex Conference Centre. The workshop had one crucial difference from the usual. Alongside project updates and writing sessions across the three days, the Deep Transitions researchers were invited to the Foley Sound Studio in Silverstone to record a podcast series aimed at bringing their research topics to life for a non-academic audience.

Deep Transition researchers have different focus areas and are thus divided into sub-teams. Communications Manager Geraldine Bloomfield called the teams to the microphones one by one. The podcasts were recorded with the help of sound engineer Ann Charles, and the direction of Sun City Productions’ Jeek ten Velden.

Over the course of the interviews, Geraldine and the researchers covered a variety of topics. Since the Deep Transitions research project evolves around the two well-received key publications by Johan Schot and Laur Kanger (Schot & Kanger, 2018; Schot & Kanger, 2019), the first recordings were dedicated to them elaborating on their key findings and implications.

Phil Johnstone and Caitriona McLeish introduced their work on the lasting effects of the World Wars on our contemporary energy systems, and the intense mobilising effect total war had on society.

Frederique Bone and Daniele Rotolo introduced their innovative text mining project in which they’ve analysed 150 years of New York Times and American Scientific publications. Drawing from the methodology and raw computing power offered by bibliometric studies, their research intends to measure the rapid technological developments seen across the 19th and 20th centuries.

The workshop ended with a packed seminar in the Jubilee Building. Johan Schot and the researchers introduced their research to the broader SPRU community and underwent a detailed discussion on the academic and practical value of the research. A video of the seminar is available here.

The project website will launch later this month, and host the podcast series as well as their associated working papers, along with updates on projects and events. Follow @DTransitions2 on Twitter for updates in the interim.

Another workshop will be held on 18-20 May, hosted by the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges. Beyond this, for the rest of 2020, the focus will be on synthesising the novel insights derived from the research so far. In 2021, Johan Schot and Bipashyee Ghosh will publish Advanced Introduction to Sustainability Transitions, an introductory book integrating the theories and case studies of Deep Transitions. A number of publications on the research conducted within the Deep Transitions project is also planned for 2021.

Deep Transitions is a project funded by Baillie Gifford. In one of the upcoming podcasts Johan Schot and James Anderson, a fund manager with the firm, discuss his interest in the research subject and its potential synergies with the investment banking industry.



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