Deep Transitions

Johan Schot is founder of the Deep Transitions research project. His Deep Transitions research proposes, that the way human behaviour and institutions have driven innovation and established systems of provision over the past 250 years, has led to current paradigms of industrial mass production and individualised mass consumption based on intensive use of fossil fuels. 

This development is what he refers to as the First Deep Transition. To counteract the ecological degradation and social inequality caused by the first Deep Transition, radical change of our contemporary socio-technical systems of food, mobility, energy, healthcare and the rules that have driven their evolution, a Second Deep Transition is required.

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Dynamics of Deep Transitions

By historically exploring the dynamics of Deep Transitions, Schot’s research offers insights into the players that influence the emergence, growth and maturity of transformation. He challenges public policy makers’ emphasis on optimisation and economic growth by calling for a more sustainable development model as well as new ways of governing the world. His Deep Transition research offers distinctive implications for policy-making targeted at resolving societal and environmental challenges. 

Key Publications

Schot is leading the Deep Transitions research programme at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex. The five-year programme (2017-2022) has received a philanthropic donation by Baillie Gifford. Schot’s Deep Transitions research has resulted in two well received publications:  

a deep transition towards sustainable finance

At the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges, Schot is in the process of setting up a Global Expert Panel on sustainable finance. The panel aims at shaping the public debate and steering future innovation towards a more sustainable trajectory. The panel will comprise of a group of key people who have expert knowledge of particular socio-technical systems needed to develop rigorous scenarios that will test the Deep Transitions model further. For more insights on this topic, listen to the Deep Transitions Podcast episode:


A World in Deep Transition Urgently Needs Transformative Innovation Policy, By Johan Schot and Ed Steinmueller

20th Oct 2016
Why transforming innovation is crucial for Brexit Britain and beyond   ‘Brexit means Brexit’ falls short of providing a blueprint...

Conversations on COVID-19: Consequences for the Second Deep Transition and the Sustainability Revolution

30th Mar 2020
This interview has originally been published on the Deep Transitions Blog.  The COVID-19 public health emergency facing the world is...

Deep Transitions, Green Transitions, Just Transitions: A #DTdialogue with Johan Schot and Mark Swilling

9th Aug 2020
In this #DTdialogue Johan Schot and Mark Swilling reflect on Professor Swillings well-received book called “The Age of Sustainability: Just...

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