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Bruno Turnheim

Research, INRAE


Bruno Turnheim is INRAE Research Scientist at LISIS and Honorary Research Fellow at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR), University of Manchester. His research focuses on socio-technical innovation and transition processes, particularly in relation to grand societal challenges. Since 2016, he is a member of the Sustainability Transition Research Network (STRN) Steering Group.

Since 2020, he leads the WAYS-OUT project, financed by the Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir (PIA) under the Make Our Planet Great Again (MOPGA) programme. The WAYS-OUT project focuses on destabilisation as a process, on the formulation of destabilisation pathways, on the comparison of destabilisation case studies in various sectors, and on the modalities for governing the discontinuation of established socio-technical regimes.

Primary research themes :

  • The destabilisation of established regimes within socio-technical transitions
  • Longitudinal case studies of transitions in the energy, mobility and agri-food domains
  • The emergence and framing of societal challenges and their incidence on socio-techncial transitions processes
  • Socio-technical experimentation and societal embedding processes
  • Experimentation in climate governance
  • Interdisciplinary questions around the exploration of transitions pathways
  • Science-policy interactions in the context of sustainability transitions



Sovacool, B.K., Turnheim, B., Hook, A. Brock, A., Martiskainen, M., 2021. Dispossessed by decarbonisation: Reducing vulnerability, injustice, and inequality in the lived experience of low-carbon pathwaysWorld Development, 137, 105116

Köhler, J., Turnheim, B., Hodson, M., 2020. Low Carbon Transitions Pathways in Mobility: applying the MLP in a combined case study and simulation bridging analysis, Technological Foreasting and Social Change, 151, 119314.

Turnheim, B., Sovacool, B.K., 2020. Exploring the role of failure in socio-technical transitions researchEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 37, 267-289

Sengers, F., Turnheim, B., Berkhout, F. 2020. Beyond Experiments: Embedding Outcomes in Climate Governance. Environment and Planning C.

Sovacool, B.K., Turnheim, B., Martiskainen, M., Brown, D., Kivimaa, P., 2020. Guides or gatekeepers? Incumbent-oriented transition intermediaries in a low-carbon eraEnergy Research & Social Science, 66, 101490.

Sovacool, B.K., Hess, D.J. et al., 2020. Sociotechnical agendas: reviewing future directions for energy and climate researchEnergy Research & Social Science

Turnheim, B., Sovacool, B.K., 2020. Forever stuck in old ways? Pluralising incumbencies in sustainability transitionsEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 35, 180-184.

Turnheim, B., Asquith, M., Geels, F.K., 2020. Making transitions research policy-relevant: challenges at the science-policy interfaceEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 34, 116-120.

Sovacool, B. K., Hook, A., Martiskainen, M., Brock, A., Turnheim, B., 2020. The decarbonisation divide: Contextualizing landscapes of low-carbon exploitation and toxicity in AfricaGlobal Environmental Change, 60, 102028.

van Sluisveld, M.A.E., Hof, A.F., van Vuuren, D.P., Carrara, S., Geels, F.W., Turnheim, B., Nilsson, M., Rogge, K., 2020. Aligning Integrated Assessment Modelling with Socio-Technical Transition insights: an application to low-carbon energy scenario analysis in Europe, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 151, 119177.

EEA, 2019. Sustainability transitions: policy and practice, EEA Report No 09/2019, European Environment Agency

Turnheim, B., Geels, F.W., 2019. Incumbent actors, guided search paths, and landmark projects in infra-system transitions: Re-thinking Strategic Niche Management with a case study of French tramway diffusion (1971-2016)Research Policy, 48 (6), 1412-1428.

Turnheim, B., Nykvist, B., 2019. Opening up the feasibility of sustainability transitions pathways (STPs): Representations, potentials, and conditionsResearch Policy, 48 (3), 775-788.

Köhler, J., et al., 2019. An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directionsEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 31, 1-32.

Turnheim, B., Kivimaa, P., Berkhout, F., (Eds.), 2018. Innovating Climate Governance: Moving beyond experiments, Cambridge University Press.

Roberts, C., Geels, F.W., Lockwood, M. Newell, P., Schmitz, H., Turnheim, B., Jordan, A., 2018. The Politics of Low-Carbon Transitions: Towards a New Research Agenda, Energy Research & Social Science, 44, 304-311.

Turnheim, B., Wesseling, J.H., Truffer, B., Rohracher, H., Carvalho, L., Binder, C.R., 2018. Challenges ahead: Understanding, assessing, anticipating and governing foreseeable societal tensions to support accelerated low-carbon transitions in Europe. In: Foulds, C., Robinson, R. (Eds.), Advancing energy policy: Lessons on the integration of Social Sciences and Humanities, Palgrave Pilot.

Turnheim, B, Berkhout, F., Geels, F.W., Hof, A., McMeekin, A., Nykvist, B., van Vuuren, D., 2015, Evaluating sustainability transitions pathways: Bridging analytical approaches to address governance challenges, Global Environmental Change, 35, 239-253.

Mantovani, E., Turnheim, B., 2015. Navigating the European landscape of ageing and ICT: policy, governance, and the role of ethics. In: Ageing and Technology. Transcript.

Turnheim, B., Geels, F.W., 2013. The destabilisation of existing regimes in socio-technical transitions: Confronting a multi-dimensional framework with a case study of the British coal industry (1913-1967), Research Policy 42:1759-67.

Turnheim, B., Geels, F.W., 2012. Regime destabilisation as the flipside of energy transitions: Lessons from the history of the British coal industry (1913-1997), Energy Policy 50:35-49.

Tezcan, M. and Turnheim, B., 2010. Complex Governance to Cope with Global Environmental Risk: An assessment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Science and Engineering Ethics 16(3):517-533.

Sterner, T., Turnheim, B., 2008. Innovation and Diffusion of Environmental Technology: Industrial NOx Abatement in Sweden under Refunded Emission Payments, Ecological Economics 68(12):2996-3006.