Call for Abstracts – PhD/ECR Transitions Conference; University of Greenwich, 28-29 April 2016

In order to better serve the PhD and early career community and increase the opportunities for participation the organising committee have decided to postpone the event. While the call for abstracts remains open with a postponed deadline, the conference date was moved to April 28th and 29th 2016 instead of the originally planned dates of January 14th and 15th.

  • Corrected dates
  • Deadline for call for abstract: Sunday, 7th February 2016
  • Notification of acceptance: Monday, 14th February 2016
  • Registration: Monday, 14th February – Sunday,10th April 2016
  • Event: Thursday, 28th April and Friday, 29th April 2016

We invite all interested PhD students and early career researchers working on projects related to one or more of the four thematic streams to submit a 400-word extended abstract by 07.02.2016 by 04.12.2015. The abstract is expected to include a clear connection of the researchers’ project to one of the four streams and should be accompanied by a short biography of no more than 250 words. Detailed descriptions of the four thematic streams and their aims and themes are included below:

1) Public Service Reforms

Two or more decades after the start of widespread privatization of public services, the results might be best described as mixed: while privatised public services have shown a number of positive results in increasing competitiveness and private sectors investments, negative consequences often relating to the profit-driven nature of the private enterprises running those services as well as a perceived lack of democratic control and public accountability has led to increased demand for renewed reform of public services and the public sector, with a variety of pathways being proposed and investigated. Those pathways range from further privatization over research on different types of private-public business models to the remunicipalisation and renationalisation of public services. From a Sustainability Transitions perspective, the question of public service reforms is highly interesting due to the recognized need for transitions of a number of regimes – energy, transport, heating, etc. – to more sustainable configurations within a relatively short time period, where private actors have not always excelled in taking prompt actions or even considering such moves.

This stream invites abstracts from researchers working on alternative approaches to public services provision, business models for public-private and cooperative enterprises, transformative processes in public service-related regimes and sustainable transitions of those regimes.

Keywords: Public Services, remunicipalisation, services business models, local governance, decentralisation of services, intermediary organisations

2) Urban Transitions towards Sustainability

The advent of globalization has resulted in rapid urbanisation with a great influx of population to cities, increasing the need for connectivity, infrastructure, raw materials, energy, etc. Although urbanisation leads to the economic growth associated with several other benefits, it has also accompanied many challenges like environmental issues, emissions and climate change, increased population, increased waste, traffic congestion, etc. It is crucial to understand how cities can be transformed into more liveable places, integrating models for urban design and sustainable approaches, and tackling the problems cities face while leaving their functions undisturbed.

This stream invites abstracts from early careers researchers working in the areas of transforming the cities and making them more resilient to the sustainability issues.

Keywords: smart cities, eco-cities, zero-waste cities, climate change, sustainability, sustainable transport, urban planning, urban design

3) Mixed method approaches in Transitions Research

Starting from the strong historical, story-telling focus of some of the earliest Transitions Studies work the field has undergone a swift methodological expansion, with different methods, models and approaches used by researchers coming from various disciplines and representing different research traditions. Still, the (longitudinal) case study represents the “gold standard” in published research, with many of the highly cited articles using this particular method, which also implies a dominant qualitative approach, with quantitative data utilized in a supporting function. In this stream, we intend to explore and discuss potential alternatives to this standard and provide guidance and help to delegates who might be struggling with operationalizing models and methods or transferring approaches successfully used in other fields of study.

With the historically strong borders between exclusively qualitative and exclusively quantitative research dissolving, we are also aiming to illustrate the variety of mixed method approaches that are or might be used by Transitions researchers across the academic community.

Keywords: Research methods in Transitions, mixed methods research, longitudinal studies, quantitative approaches to Transitions studies, Transitions models

4) Socio-technical change and transitions towards sustainability across geographies

The field of transition studies originally grew out of an interest in researching profound socio-technical change in industrial sectors at the national scale. Prominent frameworks such as TIS, MLP, SNM and TM have to date largely been developed and applied on hand of national-level case studies in countries of the global North. Recently, however, the field has been expanding its geographical focus across scales and territories to study socio-technical change and transitions below and above the national scale, in countries of the Global South as well as the Europe and Northern America.

In connection with this development scholars, are increasingly questioning whether and to what extent dominant transition frameworks, narratives and concepts can be employed equally successfully to research transitions at different scales and across territories of the Global South and North. Likewise, can the study of transitions in geographies of wildly different national, political, cultural, socio-economic characteristics yield new, generalizable insights on large-scale socio-technical change more generally?

This stream invites PhD students and ECRs to present abstracts that expand the geographical remit of the research on transitions. Of particular interest are submissions dealing with the challenges, opportunities and practicalities of applying existing transition studies frameworks and concepts across scale and territory, or that incorporate alternative perspectives from the global South. We hope to balance critical and pragmatic approaches and encourage especially comparative research across geographies of the North and South.

Keywords: Global South & North; geographies of transitions; infrastructure; waste; water; mobility; energy; comparative 

Please submit the abstracts and accompanying biographies in electronic form to by midnight on the 7th of February 2016. 4th of December 2015. We will endeavour to respond to all applicants by the 8th of December 2015.


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