Here you will find a list of my ongoing projects on sustainability transformations. It will give you an idea of what puzzles my mind these days, but it has a lot to do with transformative capacities in the face of sustainability transformations in critical regions around the world. If you are interested in an overview of my research interests click here instead. If you want to access past projects, click here.

The transformative capacity of small island states (2020-2024)

SIDS amanda-phung

In no other countries are rapid transformations currently more critical than in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). While these 57 maritime nations share similar development challenges to improve their standards of living and embark on paths of sustained economic growth, they also face the repercussions of global economic competition and natural disasters caused by Climate Change. SIDS are the forerunners into a future of extreme weather, technological change, innovative solutions and shifts in political focus. Therest of the world can learn much from how they build transformative capacity and create new pathways. SIDS are not, however, a homogenous group.  The Least Developed Countries (LDC) amongst them are the most vulnerable and they can learn from the success stories.

In this project funded by the Swedish Research Council, and run with colleagues at the Department of Economic History, we bring together structuralist theories of long-term economic change with theoretical insights from institutional theory, demography and innovation studies to investigate the historical underpinnings of nationwide transformative capacity and potential transformation pathways of SIDS. We conduct a broader quantitative study of how well th ine SIDS are achieving the ambitions of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) and we conduct in-depth mixed methods studies of three LDC – Comoros, Haiti, and Solomon Islands – and one success – Mauritius. We aim to contribute both to the research frontier and to policy solutions.

Scaling-up conservation innovations

volunteering wildlifeThis project, commissioned by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and WWF aims at analysing the role of accelerators and incubators scaling-up conservation innovations. It started with a mapping of the organizations operating in the conservation innovation ecosystem broadly defined. Through qualitative research methods, it investigated how the different organizations support innovations and to what extent they engage in different forms of scaling innovations, including at system level.

Institutional change and the transition to the Bio-economy in Sweden (2020-2025)


This subproject aims to explore the relationship between public      funding, policies, and innovations in Sweden, particularly (but not exclusively) related to the sustainability transition of the Swedish innovation system. The project will contribute directly to the current debate on agency in sustainability transitions (Kriegler et al., 2018; Johnstone and Newell, 2018; Leininger et al., 2018; Scoones et al., 2018; Grillitsch and Sotarauta, 2019) by looking at the role of STI policies in general and funding agencies in particular (e.g., VINNOVA, Energimyndigheten, and Formas) in innovation in critical sectors for the transition to the bio-economy (Forest, pulp and paper). Boreal forests are considered to be biodiversity hotspots around the world. The aim is to understand and empirically investigate the role that different agencies have played in the Swedish sustainability transformation, adapting its instruments and objectives to the specific challenges of the system at different points in time: from a focus on technology and regional bottom-up approaches to strategic priorities to challenge-driven clinnovations and, in a sense, from policies addressing system failures to more recently policies addressing system change.

Innovative practices for sustainable development (2020-2022)

perry-grone-communityThis is a mobility project for students and researchers funded by the European Union (Erasmus Plus International Mobility). The mobility is between the University of Lund (Dept. Economic History), the University Nacional de Costa Rica (Center for Economic Policy and Sustainable Development), and the University of Stellenbosch (Sustainability Institute and the School of Public Leadership. The aim is to expose the students of all three universities to the challenges of sustainable development in the global north and global south and to develop joint courses on innovative practices for sustainable development. The three Master programs involved are the Master in Innovation and Global Sustainable Development (Lund, SE); the Master in Sustainable Development (Stellenbosch, SA), and the Master in Economic Policy and Sustainable Development (Heredia, CR).