Intermediary actors accelerating socio-technical transitions – hope, hype and actionable insight on their capacities in socio-technical change


Seminar 11-12 April, 2019, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland


Sociotechnical transitions, such as the ongoing shift towards higher energy efficiency and renewable energy production, imply far-reaching technological, institutional and cultural changes. Various intermediary actors facilitate transition processes. Intermediaries are involved in creating new markets for innovative solutions through pooling knowledge and financial and human resources  and influence the real and perceived availability, economic viability, dependability and appeal of different systems of provision for consumers, and shape the ways in which information is transferred, advocate interests and deliberate, and generate efficiency improvements when an established sector faces demand for new environmental considerations. Indeed much hope has been placed on transition intermediaries.

The seminar is organised by the Academy of Finland Project ‘Intermediaries in the energy transition: The invisible work of creating markets for sustainable energy solutions (TRIPOD)’ and brings together leading international scholars to discuss intermediation and the specific insights of the TRIPOD project.




Aalto University, Väre Building, Room Q201, Otaniementie 14, Espoo



Thursday- 11th of April, 2019 Schedule:

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome, opening and practicalities (Chair: Sampsa Hyysalo)
9:10 – 10:00 Keynote Harro Van Lente, Maastricht University: Positioning Intermediaries between Speech-Acts and Storylines
10:05 – 10:55 Keynote Paula Kivimaa, Finnish Environment Insitute and Univ. Sussex: Intermediation in sustainability transitions: exploring the multiple types and phases

Friday – 12th of April, 2019 Schedule:

9:00 – 9:05 Welcome and introduction to second day (Chair: Eva Heiskanen)
9:05 – 9:55 Keynote Johan Schot, Utrecht University: Transforming Experimentation or how to make experiments more transformative
10:00 – 10:50 Keynote Andrew Karvonen, KTH Royal Institute of Technology:

Social housing providers as unlikely low-carbon intermediaries

Keynote Speakers:



Prof. Harro van Lente is full professor of Science and Technology Studies and Head of Department at the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Maastricht University, NL. He is one of the founding fathers of the Sociology of Expectations, which studies how representations of the future shape current socio-technical developments. He has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters and edited volumes on technology dynamics, innovation policy and knowledge production. He is recipient of the 2018 EASST Freeman Award with the co-edited book (with Marianne Boenink and Ellen Moors) at Palgrave Macmillan, Emerging Technologies for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease: Innovating with Care.

Further information: https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/h.vanlente



Dr. Paula Kivimaa is Senior Research Fellow at Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex and a Senior Researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). She has long-standing expertise in energy and climate policy analysis, with an orientation to innovation and socio-technical transitions. She has specifically worked on the topic of intermediary actors in sustainability transitions, publishing several journal articles in this topic. She has published 37 scientific articles and a number of book chapters, and recently co-edited a book ‘Innovating Climate Governance: Moving Beyond Experiments’ by Cambridge University Press. She has also contributed to several reports, policy briefs and consultation responses addressed to policymakers in climate, energy, transport, and innovation policy in the United Kingdom and Finland.

Further information: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/314098



Prof. Johan Schot is Professor of Comparative Global History at the Centre for Global Challenges at Utrecht University, NL. His research focuses on identifying the theories, concepts and narratives that have contributed to transition, change and development in our global society. His two main strands of work orientate around developing Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP), through the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC), to meet the needs of the world in the 21st century; and growing the theory of the Second Deep Transition which he believes is occurring in the world today and that is the root of our current issues. In addition to these topics he has also published extensively on the creation of the EU, examining how the EU’s ‘Europe’ came to be by identifying the issues which highlight the possible reasons for its current obstacles and difficulties with his book Writing the Rules for Europe. 

Further information: http://www.johanschot.com



Prof. Andrew Karvonen is Associate Professor of Sustainable Urban Development in the Division of Urban and Regional Studies at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He combines ideas from urban studies and science & technology studies to examine the political, social and cultural aspects of infrastructure networks. His research contributes to debates on environmental politics, sustainable transitions, and the digitalisation of cities.

Further information: https://andrewkarvonen.com


Aalto University: Sampsa Hyysalo, Mikko Jalas, Jouni Juntunen, Pekka Murto

Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE): Eeva Primmer, Paula Kivimaa, Jani Lukkarinen

University of Helsinki: Eva Heiskanen, Kaisa Matchoss, Nina Kahma