Tilburg University and stakeholders unite to tackle climate crisis

The Academic Collaborative Center on Climate and Energy has officially kicked off on January 30. In this Collaborative Center Tilburg University, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Avans University of Applied Sciences, the City of Tilburg, construction-services business Heijmans, and utility companies Stedin, Alliander and Essent enter into a long-term partnership to address the climate crisis. The collaboration focuses on social, rather than technical, innovation as a driver of progress and change in the energy transition.

The climate crisis has a severe impact on individuals, communities and systems worldwide. Although technological developments are part of the solution and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gasses, they are by no means the only solution. The climate crisis requires a societal transition and the role of social innovations is therefore equally important.

Social innovation

In order to stop the dependence on and usage of fossil fuels, there is a growing societal need for flip-thinking: solving problems by looking at them differently, developing novel business models and finance tools to establish a sustainable economy. The Academic Collaborative Center is a place to share best practices and exchange new ideas. These could be about what interventions could help alter the behavior and attitudes of citizens and organizations. These interventions could require new laws and regulations and inclusive policies to ensure that the energy transition is affordable for everyone.

Working with civil society organizations

The social scientists at Tilburg University have a strong track-record in research into sustainability, the circular economy and the energy transition. The Academic Collaborative Center on Climate and Energy brings this scientific community, from different disciplines and Schools, together with public and private partners to build on each other’s strengths. The Collaborative Center provides an environment where joint experimenting, learning and innovation is core.

They will conduct relevant research, provide practical training, produce publications tailored to various audiences, and develop tools. Outputs will contribute to the aim of establishing a social and smart energy transition.

Academic Collaborative Centers

Within Tranzo (scientific center for care and wellbeing of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences), several successful academic Collaborative Centers have been active for years. Tilburg University hosts four more university-wide Academic Collaborative Centers, each working on societally relevant themes: Inclusive Labor Market, Climate and Energy, Digital Health and Mental Wellbeing, Widespread Prosperity. The Climate and Energy Collaborative Center is led by Professor of Economic Regulation and Market Governance of Network Industries Saskia Lavrijssen and Professor of Public Governance Martijn Groenleer.

Tilburg University, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Avans University of Applied Sciences, the City of Tilburg, Heijmans, Stedin, Alliander, and Essent are the founding partners of the Academic Collaborative Center on Climate and Energy. It is expected that additional partners will join the Center in the coming months.

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