Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research
Reviewartikel, 2018

The most critical question for climate research is no longer about the problem, but about how to facilitate the transformative changes necessary to avoid catastrophic climate-induced change. Addressing this question, however, will require massive upscaling of research that can rapidly enhance learning about transformations. Ten essentials for guiding action-oriented transformation and energy research are therefore presented, framed in relation to second-order science. They include: (1) Focus on transformations to low-carbon, resilient living; (2) Focus on solution processes; (3) Focus on ‘how to’ practical knowledge; (4) Approach research as occurring from within the system being intervened; (5) Work with normative aspects; (6) Seek to transcend current thinking; (7) Take a multi-faceted approach to understand and shape change; (8) Acknowledge the value of alternative roles of researchers; (9) Encourage second-order experimentation; and (10) Be reflexive. Joint application of the essentials would create highly adaptive, reflexive, collaborative and impact-oriented research able to enhance capacity to respond to the climate challenge. At present, however, the practice of such approaches is limited and constrained by dominance of other approaches. For wider transformations to low carbon living and energy systems to occur, transformations will therefore also be needed in the way in which knowledge is produced and used.

Action research



Sustainability transitions


Ioan Fazey

University of Dundee

Niko Schäpke

Leuphana Universitat Lüneburg

Guido Caniglia

Leuphana Universitat Lüneburg

James Patterson

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Johan Hultman

Lunds universitet

Barbara van Mierlo

Wageningen University and Research

Filippa Säwe

Lunds universitet

Arnim Wiek

Arizona State University

Julia Wittmayer

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

Paulina Aldunce

Universidad de Chile (UCH)

Husam Al Waer

University of Dundee

Nandini Battacharya

University of Dundee

Hilary Bradbury

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation

Esther Carmen

University of Dundee

John Colvin

Emerald Network Ltd

Christopher Cvitanovic

University of Tasmania

Marcella D'Souza

Watershed Organisation Trust

Maja Gopel

German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)

Bruce Goldstein

University of Colorado at Boulder

Timo Hämäläinen


Gavin Harper

University of Birmingham

Tom Henfry

Universidade de Lisboa

Schumacher Institute

Anthony Hodgson

International Futures Forum

University of Dundee

Mark S. Howden

Australian National University

Andy Kerr

University of Edinburgh

Matthias Klaes

University of Buckingham

Christopher Lyon

University of Dundee

Gerald Midgley

University of Hull

Susanne Moser

Stanford University

Susanne Moser Research and Consulting

Nandan Mukherjee

University of Dundee

Karl Müller

Steinbeis Transfer Center New Cybernetics

Karen O'Brien

Universitetet i Oslo

Deborah A. O'Connell

CSIRO Energy Flagship

Per Olsson

Stockholms universitet

Glenn Page

SustainaMetrix LLC

Mark S. Reed

Newcastle University

Beverley Searle

University of Dundee

Giorgia Silvestri

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

Viktoria Spaiser

University of Leeds

Tim Strasser

Universiteit Maastricht

Petra Tschakert

University of Western Australia

Natalia Uribe-Calvo


Steve Waddell

GOLDEN Ecosystems Labs

Jennifer Rao-Williams

University of Dundee

Russell Wise

CSIRO Land and Water

Ruth Wolstenholme


Mel Woods

University of Dundee

Carina Wyborn

World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF)

Energy Research and Social Science

22146296 (ISSN)

Vol. 40 54-70


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