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New research project to provide solution for managing the green transition

The world needs a green transition, but we won't get there if we don't know how to manage and lead the interdisciplinary collaboration that will create the new green solutions. A major new international research project will lead the way.
“Technical solutions are not enough if we are to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, stresses Jacob Torfing, Professor of Politics and Institutions. He has just received DKK 11 million from Independent Research Fund Denmark for a new research project.

We can develop plenty of technical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions and the negative environmental impact. But if municipalities, private companies and citizens fail to work together on the green agenda, we will never get there.

This is the point made by Professor of Politics and Institutions Jacob Torfing, who has just received DKK 11 million from Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF) for a new research project. In the project, he and a strong team of international researchers will investigate the factors that are crucial for the success of green initiatives.

"The world is crying out for a green transition. But we will not achieve our goals through technical solutions alone. In our research project, we are looking at something that has been somewhat overlooked, namely the governance, management and organisation of cooperation between different actors, which is crucial if we are to succeed in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals," says Jacob Torfing.

As an example, Jacob Torfing mentions a large green transition project in Norway on the electrification of ferries. The project is highly dependent on the cooperation between local actors, the shipyard, etc. functioning optimally, as the transition to electric ferries is complex and involves a multitude of actors and stakeholders.

Portræt af professor Jacob Torfing
Professor Jacob Torfing. Press Photo

New book on the way

Together with Professor Eva Sørensen from RUC and Professor Chris Ansell from UC Berkeley, Jacob Torfing is publishing a new book: “Co-creation for Sustainability: The UN SDGs and the Power of Local Partnerships”.

The book is about how local “change-makers” can successfully co-create solutions that contribute to achieving one or more of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The book will be published in early 2022 by Emerald and will contain the model that the new research project will expand upon and test in practice. The model is a further development of the so-called Kiser-Ostrom model, which economist Larry Kiser and American political scientist and Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom are behind. In short, the model identifies the interdependence between actors in a cross-disciplinary collaboration that seeks to find common solutions to common problems.



Facts about grants for green research projects

DFF has recently granted support for 55 new green research projects. Two of the projects are from Roskilde University. The intention is to give talented researchers a financial boost to make new research breakthroughs in areas such as the environment and climate

  • The project “Governing Green Transitions” (GOGREEN), led by Professor Jacob Torfing, has received a grant of DKK 11,027,542.
  • The project “Producing alternative green futures: Exploring interconnections between green transitions and socio-economic and political organization”, led by Associate Professor Lone Risgaard, has received a grant of DKK 5,607,390.