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Carola Guyot-Phung PhD defense

How can innovation contribute to sustainability transition dynamics? Cases from the recycling industry

Thesis defended on the 13th of december at 2:00pm, at ENSTA, 828 boulevard des Maréchaux 91762 PALAISEAU cedex, room 2.3.29.


Innovation and public policies can help trigger and monitor sustainability transitions. This implies transformation processes that go beyond mere technological innovation. Such transition dynamics are still to be thoroughly analyzed. We chose to study two innovation cases within the recycling industry. We use the Multilevel Perspective (Geels, 2002, 2011) to shed light upon ongoing processes and dynamics. This literature makes links between three analytical levels: landscape, sociotechnical regime, and sociotechnical niche. The sociotechnical niche is a locus for emerging transformations and a space to shelter innovation development. Concrete projects can appear and strengthen while protected from regime selection. We focus on niche diffusion processes and regime transformation triggered by the niche. We discuss some notions upon empirical analysis and propose to draw a distinction between transition intermediaries and their contributions to the niche-regime link.

Keywords: sustainable innovation; Multilevel Perspective; transition intermediaries; sustainability transition; recycling industry; material loop.


Aurélien Acquier Professeur, ESCP-EAP Rapporteur
Florence Charue-Duboc Directeur de Recherche, École polytechnique (i3-CRG) Directeur de thèse
Florence Durieux Professeur des Universités, Université Paris Sud (RITM) Examinateur
Nathalie Girard Directeur de Recherche, INRA (AGIR) Rapporteur
Sylvain Lenfle Professeur des Universités, CNAM (Lirsa) Examinateur