This project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 reasearch and innovatio programme under Grant Agreement N°837498.
SOCIAL INNOVATION IN ENERGY TRANSITIONS: Co-creating a rich understanding of the diversity, processes, contributions, success and future potentials of social innovation in the energy sector
The SONNET project would like to make individuals and institutions from different disciplines put their work in common to try to understand the various ways in which things can change in society and how this can bring about innovations in the European energy sector or, on the contrary, prevent innovation from happening. It will look into how social innovation has already contributed to making our energy sources cleaner and how it could continue to help reduce our carbon footprint in the future.
Based on a range of already available sources and methods, which it will bring together for the first time, the project will try to find out what could help different kinds of social innovation in accelerating the transition from the use of fossil fuels to more renewables-based energy sources. However, it will also work with practical examples. To do this, project partners will work with so-called “City labs” in six European countries. Their participants will come from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. This way we will learn more about the many distinctive ways in which social innovation in the energy sector happens and contributes in practice to energy transitions that will remain valid in the long term. Moreover, SONNET will organise three surveys with citizens, on the ways they think things could be improved in the energy sector.
Last but not least, SONNET will combine the outcomes of its work in cooperation with all actors that were involved in the project, to explain how social innovation can contribute to the sustainable energy transition in Europe, taking into account different points of view. This information and recommendations will be widely disseminated through diverse communication channels, to reach as many concerned people as possible and allow them to benefit from the findings.
SONNET aims to create an inter- and transdisciplinary understanding of the diversity and processes of social innovations in the energy sector (SIE). It assesses - critically and reflexively- the success, contributions and future potential of SIE towards sustainable energy transitions in Europe. SONNET investigates how, to what extent and under which enabling conditions diverse types of SIE may result in new breakthroughs or successfully help to overcome transition barriers; such as limited citizen engagement or slow adoption of new technologies.
SONNET’s empirical research is informed by a novel conceptual framework combining insights from sustainability transitions, energy studies and social innovation literatures. It bridges qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches in an innovative multi-method research design. Across 30 qualitative in-depth case studies situated in six European countries, SONNET investigates the diversity, processes, success and contributions of SIE. Given its focus on urban areas as major hubs for SIE, SONNET conducts six transdisciplinary SIE city labs to experiment with new forms of SIE and learn about how multiple actors can harness the potential of SIE. In addition, based on three large-scale representative citizen surveys, SONNET assesses the future potential of SIE and derives implications for reconfiguring existing and developing new business models.
SONNET synthesizes its findings in an integrated knowledge framework for a socio-economic, socio-cultural (incl. gender) and socio-political understanding of enabling and impeding conditions for SIE and SIE contributions when working towards accelerating sustainable energy transitions in Europe. Through a cutting edge co-creation, dissemination and exploitation strategy, SONNET ensures that its practical recommendations, tools and capacity building activities have a maximum impact on its key stakeholders such as citizens, SIE actors, policy makers, and businesses.
- FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.
- DUTCH RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR TRANSITIONS BV
- THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX
- ETABLISSEMENT D'ENSEIGNEMENT SUPERIEUR CONSULAIRE GRENOBLE ECOLE DE MANAGEMENT
- AKADEMIA LEONA KOZMINSKIEGO
- ZURCHER HOCHSCHULE FUR ANGEWANDTE WISSENSCHAFTEN
- ICLEI EUROPEAN SECRETARIAT GMBH (ICLEI EUROPASEKRETARIAT GMBH)*
- STADT MANNHEIM
- STAD ANTWERPEN
- BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL
- COMMUNE DE GRENOBLE
- MIASTO STOLECZNE WARSZAWA
Start date 1 June 2019 - End date 31 May 2022