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IDEALE Interplay between National Defence and Low-Carbon Energy Policies: a Sustainability Transitions Perspective


IDEALE is an Academy of Finland fellowship project lead by Dr. Paula Kivimaa, Research Professor in Climate and Society, in SYKE’s Climate Change Programme.

IDEALE will connect the research streams of sustainability transitions, energy and military security, and policy interplay (policy coherence and policy integration) to analyse the interconnections between energy and defence policies.

Empirical research will be carried out on Finland, Estonia, Norway and Scotland.


The project aims to examine connections between policy strategies and policy processes in two different policy domains – national defence policy (with particular focus on military and cyber security) and energy policy (with particular focus on low carbon innovation).


To develop the study of policy interplay (policy coherence & policy integration) conceptually and methodologically by incorporating elements of sustainability transitions and security studies.

To conduct deep and extensive empirical analysis of synergies and conflicts between national defence policy and energy policy, from the perspective of sustainability transitions, in Finland, Estonia, Norway and Scotland.

To create novel theoretical insights regarding sustainability transitions in connection to national defence and military security as extensions to energy security.

Research questions:

In what ways does low-carbon energy policy influence national security?

What kind of synergies, complementarities, conflicts, and examples of policy integration can be detected between low carbon energy policy and national defence policy in the case countries since 2006?

How have energy and defence policies reacted to landscape changes pertaining to Russian politics?

How does interplay between energy policy and defence policy explain the difficulties in pursuing sustainability transitions?


Empirical country studies:

Case study approach will be combined with qualitative research using in-depth interviews and detailed document analysis as sources, testing novel approaches in both. Case selection was focused on small European countries and carried out by examining the countries' energy profiles, geopolitical positioning and innovation rankings, based on diversity regarding the nature of low-carbon energy transition, position on nuclear power, relationship with Russia, and access to data.

Three stages:

  • Analysis of policy strategies and approaches
  • In-depth interviews with experts
  • Policy process case studies


The project has no publications yet

Research team

Paula Kivimaa is an expert in policy analysis with respect to sustainability transitions, in the crossover of energy and innovation policy domains. She holds an MSc (Distinction) in Environmental Technology (Energy Policy) from Imperial College London and a PhD in Organisations and Management from Helsinki School of Economics. She currently holds a position of Research Professor in Climate and Society in SYKE. She has previously worked as Senior Researcher in SYKE (since 2003) and as Senior Research Fellow at SPRU, University of Sussex (during 2015-2019), where she retains a small affiliation.

Marja Helena Sivonen is a researcher with MSc Global and Transnational Sociology from Tampere University, and a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Social Sciences in Tampere University.

Published 2019-08-12 at 9:13, updated 2020-04-02 at 11:24