Frans Berkhout is Professor Innovation and Sustainability, and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) and of the Amsterdam Global Change Institute, both at the VU University in Amsterdam. Until 2010 he was chair of the Industrial Transformation project of the International Human Dimensions Programme. Professor Berkhout¿s research is concerned with innovation, policy and sustainability, with a specific focus on climate policy and sustainable growth.
The role of R&D in socio - technical transitions
Socio-technical transitions - such as a transformation of energy production and use away from carbon intensive fuels and towards renewables - will require major investments in R&D by firms and Governments. But recent scholarly debates on transitions have tended to highlight the industrial, institutional and social context of innovation on the one hand, and social learning on the other. They pay relatively less attention to classical concerns in innovation studies related to the rate of business investment in R&D, entrepreneurship and the appropriability of rents that may accrue to innovators. Drawing on recent evidence about business investments in renewable energy, this presentation will argue that the competitive technology strategies of innovating firms will remain the main drivers of socio-technical transitions. Such strategies need to be better integrated into theoretical and policy debates about achieving transitions.
Last updated: 2011-06-09