The TU/e programme 'System innovations and sustainability transitions' focuses on persistent problems that our society faces and have become increasingly apparent, in particular in the field of sustainability issues. Examples are the unsustainable nature of our fossil fuel based system of energy supply and the modern transport system. Because of the persistent nature of these problems, incremental improvements are insufficient to deal with those problems. Radical innovations or transitions are needed. The programme is interdisciplinary in its scope: engineers, historians of technology and social scientists with a background in Science, Technology and Society (STS) and innovation studies closely cooperate in the research on system innovations. The programme's mission is twofold:

1. To contribute to the understanding of transitions and the construction of a knowledge infrastructure by:

  • the analysis of historical and current transitions;
  • the development of transition theories.

2. To contribute to the development and implementation of transition policies by:

  • the development of an intervention framework: instruments and tools for transition policies;
  • the participation in transition experiments;
  • the transfer of knowledge to and the enabling of students and practitioners to develop competences.

The programme started in 2004 and has a close link to the Modern Societies in Transition programme. Both programmes originated in the large national History of Technology programmes on the Modernisation of the
Netherlands in the 19th and 20th century. Programme leader is dr. ir. G.P.J. Verbong.