Project Description

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The shift to a low-carbon economy is not about achieving a definable end state, but a process of redirecting a wide range of factors (markets, infrastructure, governance, individual behaviour) towards a more sustainable configuration.  Such a process cannot be guided by a blueprint, as the extended timescales of such shifts mean that it will have to cope with uncertainties, ambivalent goals, political myopia and a danger of lock in, amongst other factors. Over the last decade, these issues have been brought together in multi-disciplinary academic research on transition, including transition management. This research has emerged from studies of science, technology and innovation to conceptualise the co-evolution of technology and the societies of which they are part. Despite a growing body of work in this field, there is remains a lack of a clear conceptualisation of how transition management can be applied to the specific context of Ireland, given its specific range of actors and existing pathways for its energy system. This project represents an attempt to understand how transition can be most effectively understood and operationalised in the context of Ireland’s institutions and technological profile.

The objectives of the project are to provide:

  1. A systematic review of the theoretical framings of economy and society-wide transition to low-carbon sustainability;
  2. A systematic review of international case studies of sustainability transitions.
  3. A systematic review of the barriers to transition for selected technologies and the identification of options to incentivize or promote facilitate transition or systemic innovation;
  4. The development of international benchmarking of the stage of transition of selected technologies or systemic innovation in Ireland
  5. A case study of technology in Ireland exploring its state of adoption and further steps to be taken;
  6. The development of an analytical framework in which to direct and integrate further research on advancing transition in Ireland.

 The achievement of these objectives will be reflected in the following outputs:

  • Six working papers covering objectives 1-5;
  • An analytical framework for informing and assessing transition to low carbon sustainability; This will be presented in the final report of the project.
  • Workshops for scholars and policy stakeholders on the framing and implementation of low carbon transition  in Ireland. 


The project's  working papers, can be accessed here  as they become available.  

For more details please contact Geraint Ellis