Centre for Science and Technology Studies Centre for Science and Technology Studies 2333AL Leiden Zuid Holland 31715273909

Catalyzing knowledge ecosystems for societal transitions: Advancing knowledge ecosystems for electrochemical conversion

Both the Dutch government and the European Commission dedicate an increasing share of public funding for research and innovation to mission-oriented programs, aiming to facilitate sustainability transitions. These programs typically involve support fora range of different research activities, from the design of practical solutions and transition pathways to the development of insights into materials and mechanisms that may serve as building blocks for these pathways. A popular way to conceptualize the relationships between the different actors and activities related to such a mission is the idea of ecosystems, networks of users and producers of knowledge that are geared towards a societal challenge.

In this project, we will investigate the relationships between fundamental research and practical applications in mission-oriented knowledge ecosystems. As part of the ‘MVI’ (responsible innovation) program on electro-chemical conversions and materials (ECCM), we will focus on ecosystems involving chemistry and the energy sector.

We will investigate how knowledge ecosystems shape the translation of (fundamental) knowledge into value. We will study in particular the public values that are enacted in these interactions and the role that scientific instrumentation plays in bringing different actors together. The project is conducted in collaboration with Toyah Rodhouse and Eefje Cuppen from the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs and with Rik Mom from the Faculty of Science (all Leiden University). It consists of critical analysis of the ecosystem concept, retrospective case studies and participatory action research. As part of our strategy to generate practical impact with the project, we will engage actively with different actors in the ECCM knowledge ecosystem.


July 2022-December 2024


knowledge ecosystem, energy transition, mission-oriented innovation policy


Faculty of Science, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Rathenau Instituut

CWTS Staff

Jorrit Smit, Laurens Hessels



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