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SYKE researcher wins best paper award

News 2014-09-03 at 22:04

Paula Kivimaa, Florian Kern ja diplomi. Kuva: : Ralitsa Hiteva

Paula Kivimaa, Florian Kern and the Award. Photo: Ralitsa Hiteva.

Dr Paula Kivimaa, a senior researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), was awarded the best paper prize at the 5th International Conference on Sustainability Transitions. The conference took place in August 2014 in Utrecht, Netherlands.

The winning paper Creative destruction or mere niche creation? Innovation policy mixes for sustainability transitions by Kivimaa and co-author, Dr Florian Kern from the University of Sussex addresses the importance of policy mixes in transitions towards more sustainable societies.

– The key message of the paper is that changes towards less energy-intensive socio-technical systems require two kinds of policy measures, Dr Kivimaa explains.

– Those that create new sustainable innovation paths and those that disrupt existing energy-intensive systems, such as transport and housing.

A new framework for analyzing policy

The authors also present a novel analytical framework to be used for analyzing policy and changes in governance from the perspective of sustainability transitions. In the paper, the framework is tested by analyzing low energy policy mixes in Finland and the UK.

– One of the objectives behind the framework is to stir decision-makers to see the need for radical policy changes, Dr Kivimaa points out.

Collaboration during research visits

The paper originated when Dr Kivimaa spent last autumn as a senior visiting fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), the University of Sussex. Dr Florian Kern, in turn, spent a week in SYKE in April 2014 to finalise the joint paper.

– The intention of my research visit to SPRU was to start collaborating with Florian Kern and to write a joint article related to policy analysis and systemic change, Dr Kivimaa recalls.

– The conference paper is a result of a fruitful collaboration with Florian Kern and we would not have reached this exact outcome without input from both of us. Many thanks to Florian! I would also like to thank the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovations (Tekes) and the Foundation for Economic Education in Finland who provided financial support for the work carried out and the research visit.

The recognition promotes networking

The best paper award was given to the paper that “stands out for its careful analysis of the role of policy in sustainability transitions”, according to the award committee.

To Dr Kivimaa the award has already triggered a number of contacts made by research colleagues in different countries. The tenacious researcher's motivation to do research on sustainable system changes has increased even further.

– It is wonderful to get recognition among the international research community to which my research work is the most related to, Dr Kivimaa sums up her thoughts about the award.

More information

Senior Research Scientist Paula Kivimaa, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
forename.surname@ymparisto.fi (forename=paula, surname=kivimaa)
+358 295 251 283, @paulakivim

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