Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) Conference, 17-21 January 2022

TIP Conference 2022: “Building a Sustainable Knowledge Infrastructure on Transformative Innovation Policy”

The Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) and the European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation (Eu-SPRI) held the 2022 TIP Conference, on 17-21 January 2022. The theme of the Conference was “Building a sustainable knowledge infrastructure on Transformative Innovation Policy”.

The ‘Call for Participation and Initiatives’ was open from 18 June 2021 until 4 September 2021.  There was no registration fee for the TIP Conference. Registrations are open so please go to the event platform to sign-up, then create your profile on the event platform to participate in the TIP Conference 2022.

Why do we need innovation for transformative change?

We need to urgently accelerate the zero-in transformation to keep the planet viable for everyone. The global agenda, summoned in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sets the ground for developing and contributing towards actionable knowledge. After decades of false starts in sustainability and attempts to mitigate the climate crisis by fitting incremental changes into unsustainable crucial systems such as food, energy, and mobility, it is imperative to move at full speed through a sustainability transition across all. Linking global-change innovation with inter and transdisciplinary strategies requires experimental and inclusive platforms to engage policymakers, researchers, practitioners, investors and other key professionals. We open up an inclusive digital space to circulate knowledge and have a learning platform that balances the net impact on the climate from greenhouse emissions.


A key issue for enacting transformative change is the complex, and often conflictual, political relations between dominant incumbent actors and those proposing novel and alternative sustainable initiatives. Therefore, transformative innovation policies (TIPs) require reflexive governance strategies that allow multiple framings of future experiment-based pathways. Steering diverse directions, without constraining the emergence of bottom-up initiatives, is a shared challenge.

STI agencies can play multiple roles –  being strategic actors, funders, intermediaries and brokers to shape sustainability directionalities. Along with the STI agencies, the state has several roles to play in the process of transformation. By re-shaping regulation, standards, strategic directions and visions, political legitimation can help overcome these path-dependencies and reduce uncertainty for the private, public and third sector agents. Positionality of business, Multi-National Corporations, bottom of the pyramid entrepreneurs, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a significant role in reshuffling established market relationships. Interactive learning among actor networks, to cope with technological and market uncertainty, is critical. Companies committed to developing new sustain-ability pathways that help them build zero-carbon strategies for the economy, can see their business thrive. ‘Sustain-Abilities’ should include awareness of climate finance and carbon markets – where sustainability meets hard financial metrics.

A conference that encourages and is based on experimentation inviting ‘initiatives’

The 2022 TIP Conference is part of an ongoing collaboration and network building process.  The conference develops in building blocks with the dialogue kick-starting in workshops across other major conferences – the 2021 Eu-SPRI Conference, IST Conference and the Globelics conference as well as the TIPC learning events, to weave a thread of discussions through sessions and activities that pave the way to January 2022 with the TIP Conference as the finale event. The aim is to connect the community of diverse actors working on TIP and to mutually learn from each other by instigating debates on different designs, approaches, methodologies, management and implementation of TIP.

The TIP conference is designed as an open platform for networking, meeting, and developing ideas.  This is why we are inviting  a “Call for Initiatives” rather than a call for papers. The conference can also be a place to develop sets of ideas into experimental projects by providing a cross-sectoral and multi-actor experience.

We take full advantage of digital technology solutions to rethink, repurpose, and reinvent conferences to be inclusive and flexible gathering spaces, that contribute to more carbon, energy, and resource-efficient processes and industries. Local and regional encounters can also be part of the hybrid, and experimental formats will be included to always encouraging low-carbon emissions.

We intend to advance research on the orchestration, coordination and analysis of innovation policy that is transformative (in multiple ways). We aim to build and give meaning to a Knowledge Infrastructure (KI) that is sensitive to the social and political realities of the Global North and the Global South. Hence, the conference will also provide a relational and flexible learning space for understanding theories as well as collecting empirical evidence of systems transformation to support current and future TIP initiatives.

The conference becomes a multi-layered and adaptive experiment that contributes to building a knowledge infrastructure for sustainability transitions guided by the transformative outcomes[1]. We aim to organise robust networks of people, artefacts, and institutions that generate, share, and maintain specific knowledge about the human and natural worlds, or a KI[2]. We encourage broad and deep participation to explore the scope of conceptualisation and practice of TIP by constructing a ubiquitous, reliable and durable KI[3].

The conference welcomes a wide range of stakeholders, such as:

  • Early career and senior researchers and academics from different disciplines
  • Practitioners and policymakers
  • Industry practitioners from multiple sectors (mobility, food, water, finance, housing, etc)
  • Development agencies
  • Grassroot innovators and entrepreneurs
  • NGOs
  • Media
  • Private investors

We strongly encourage participation from diverse actors including young people, those early in their career, and Global South participants.

What can be expected from the conference?

  • Mobilising people, ideas, initiatives that contribute to an evolving action research agenda for Transformative Innovation Policy
  • Experimental formats for the delivery of sessions
  • An interactive setting that encourages networking and co-creation
  • Low environmental impact and inclusive digital settings
  • An inclusive and balanced mix of participants who share an equal voice in the conference activities

What we expect from the participants

  • Lively participation in the engagements
  • Openness to transdisciplinary settings
  • Active listening and commitment
  • Ideas and contributions to accelerate sustainability transitions and transformative pathways

Conference Themes

  • Conceptualisation of innovation for transformative change: Interpretations and contextual use of essential TIP elements, and other approaches to innovation for systems transformation.
  • Role of experimentation for transformative change: Evidence of framing, defining and performing socio-technical experimentation taking into account inclusivity, challenge-led, practise-based, adaptation to uncertainty, or other related aspects from practical engagements.
  • From experimentation to mainstreaming and embedding: For transformations to happen, the experiences from experiments need to spread and be taken up in further contexts other than the original. These processes of mainstreaming and embedding happen through a variety of mechanisms in need of further exploration (i.e. replication-adaptation, scaling, institutional framing).
  • The role of landscape events on transformative change: Rapid external shocks, such as a pandemic (e.g. COVID-19), as triggers for expanding breakthrough niche innovations and pressure creators on existing regimes to open them up.
  • Policy and governance for transformative change: Reflexive governance strategies for experiments framing such as anticipatory framings (i.e. reflexive debates on performativity, normativity, expectations), experiments portfolios, alternative futures, scaling-up experiments towards flexible stability, and also the role of framework setting to unleash generalisation processes beyond experimentation.
  • Transformative actors for transformative change: Role of governments and ministries, business and private entrepreneurs, social movements, and civil organisations triggering or hindering unsustainable and unequal socio-technical regimes.
  • Geography of transformation pathways: Context-specific realities call for different approaches and understandings of space and scale. Acknowledgement of differential needs for the Global North and Global South. Methodologies, designs, tools aimed at reflexivity and learning for transformation.
  • Evaluation for TIPs: Approaches towards formative processes of learning and network building beyond accountability.
  • Knowledge infrastructure for transformation: Design, implementation, evaluation of platforms to develop TIP research knowledge and practice; meaning and operationalisation of knowledge infrastructures for transformation.

Format of sessions and contributions

The format of the contributions is flexible and we welcome suggestions by the participants for experimentation with different formats of engagement for learning and interaction.

Collaborative contributions: Following the co-creation spirit that TIPC and Eu-SPRI embrace, colleagues are invited to contribute as a team of stakeholders working on or being involved in the same project. For example, a hub composed by a group of researchers and policymakers; a team of a non-governmental organisation representative and a project manager or any other combination as appropriate. Individual proposals are welcome too.

We invite proposals for:

  • Panel discussions: these sessions are proposed and organised by a Chair with confirmed speakers that they have invited. In a 60 or 90-minute discussion, the Chair (facilitator) will introduce the TIP theme of the Panel and briefly present useful context around each talk. A maximum of four speakers are invited to give 10 minute presentations, presenting their view and experience of the Panel theme. The talks are followed by in-depth discussion or debate (both are welcome) among the speakers and also by questions from the audience facilitated by the Chair. Mixed Panels are preferred (for example, including speakers from policy, academia, practitioners etc.) and configurations within this description are welcome. For example, a session with a Chair, one main speaker and three discussants to respond.
  • ‘Pitch your transformation!’ sessions: these sessions last up to 60 min. Up to three 10- minute presentations will highlight and showcase transformative approaches that work! Collaborations, community partnerships and programmes, research findings applied to practice, citizen engagement and more are invited to become succinct talks that showcase what has worked particularly well in the approach. The audience participates with questions and a short discussion follows.
  • Demonstrations: do you have digital content that you would like to share with the TIP community? We invite you to showcase it by presenting its most distinctive features in a poster, video (up to three and a half minutes long) or pre-recorded interview (for example, an interview of yourself interviewing a team involved in a transformative initiative where you discuss your initiative and share details). A wide range of participants will be able to access it by visiting a dedicated space for this work on the Conference website. We will aim to discuss selected initiatives in a bespoke session as part of the TIP Conference.
  • Collaborative exercises: these are sessions up to 90 minutes where the participants collaborate live using a digital whiteboard (for example) to resolve a specific problem, to frame a transformation narrative in different perspectives or to find ways to bring stakeholders together. Any collaborative exercise may have the potential for a real-life follow-up. The session is open in terms of themes and approaches, however, it needs to be collaborative and oriented to practical outcomes.  At the end of the session participants should be able to experience the benefits and implications of what was discussed in their day-to-day reality, similar to the benefits you experience from exercising! The format can accommodate more experimental formats that minimise the number of presentations (for example, an introduction and a maximum of two very short 5-min. presentations) and engage the audience in experimental thinking and doing (for example, experimenting with know-how, methods and tools).
  • Other formats as suggested by participants: we welcome your preferred format and will do our best to accommodate your requirements. Please be as descriptive as possible in the Expression of Interest so that we understand your requirements and technical specification too
  • Blogs: participants are welcome to produce a blog to accompany their initiative and describe what is transformative about it and how it opens pathways for change. We invite reflections on initiatives and collaborations that have produced rich insights on TIP up to 600 words each; we will share these on the Conference website and as part of the Conference space.

Registration fee and process

There was no registration fee for the TIP Conference. To view the sessions held at the conference please visit our TIPC YouTube Channel.  

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Conference e-mail: TIPC@sussex.ac.uk Christina Miariti: C.Miariti@sussex.ac.uk Diana Velasco: dcvelmal@ingenio.upv.es

Please share this call for initiatives with colleagues and your networks. We look forward to welcoming you to the TIP Conference 2022!

On behalf of TIPC and EU-SPRI

Professor Johan Schot Co-chair of the Scientific CommitteeDr Diana Velasco Academic leadProfessor Matthias Weber Co-chair of the Scientific Committee

The Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) is a global knowledge platform of policymakers, funders and researchers, who are opening way towards a “third frame” of innovation policy, known as Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP). TIP aims to address global societal challenges and places social and environmental problems at the core of its agenda. The Consortium has developed the TIPC methodology, a multistep learning journey that uses formative evaluation as a springboard toward transformative outcomes. The methodology is now being applied in a series of live policy experiments, in different regional contexts to understand what works and generate evidence.

The European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation (Eu-SPRI) is a network of leading research institutes in the areas of STI policy and gathers interdisciplinary researchers focused on policy and governance in knowledge creation and innovation. The Eu-SPRI Forum was funded in 2010, and it includes today 19 institutions working from diverse disciplines such as economics, political science, sociology, science and technology studies, business administration, geography and history.  The Eu-SPRI community has worked extensively on system innovation, and it has been shifting attention to a more directional and transformational approach to STI policy towards societal challenges.

TIPC and Eu-SPRI, together with the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN) and Globelics/AfricaLics, have consistently explored ‘Transformative Innovation Policy’ as a theme since 2018  during the previous TIPC Conferences, with panels related to TIP in the network’s conferences and a range of inter-network dialogue workshops. These led to the publication of a Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) Research Agenda (September 2020) as a working paper. The TIP Research Agenda will be discussed and progressed as part of the TIP Conference 2022.

We will keep nurturing, creating, combining existing research and experience-based knowledge built from the collective action of a diverse network of actors. The conference will contribute to the challenges of transformative change and leave a legacy of new partnerships to help forge a sustainable future.

The TIP Conference 2022 is organised and funded by the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) and the European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation (Eu-SPRI) with the participation of Globelics and Africalics members and with the involvement of Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN) members.



[1] See Ghosh, B., Kivimaa, P., Ramirez, M., Schot, J., Torrens, J., (2020) in https://tipconsortium.net/ wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Transformation-outcomes-TIPC-working-paper.pdf

[2] Edwards, P. N. (2010). A vast machine: Computer models, climate data, and the politics of global warming. MIT Press.

[3] Characteristics of a knowledge infrastructure according to Borgman, C. L., Edwards, P. N., Jackson, S. J., Chalmers, M. K., Bowker, G. C., Ribes, D., … & Calvert, S. (2013). Knowledge infrastructures: Intellectual frameworks and research challenges.

Team Members

Diana Velasco
Johan Schot
University of Utrecht's Centre for Global Challenges
Matthias Weber
Head of Center for Innovation Systems and Policy at AIT Austrian Institute of Technology
Christina Miariti
Science Policy Research Unit
Geraldine Bloomfield
Science Policy Research Unit
Francisco Dominguez
Science Policy Research Unit
Pip Bolton
Science Policy Research Unit


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