SONNET | Social Innovation in Energy Transition

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 11 November 2021
Last modified on 30 May 2022



From 01/06/2019 to 31/05/2022

SONNET brings diverse groups together to make sense of how social innovation can bring about more sustainable energy systems in Europe. How has social innovation contributed to making our energy, use, and production cleaner? How can social change help reduce our carbon footprint in the future? SONNET cities and academic partners are working together to get to the bottom of these questions and more.

SONNET breaks down divisions: it looks at how technological and social innovations meet to jointly contribute to the energy transition, and it brings together academic and city partners to co-create knowledge collaboratively from ‘day one’

Six cities and six research institutions in Europe are using techniques – like ‘City Labs’, case studies, citizen surveys and more – to figure out how we can help make sure that social innovations accelerate the transition from the use of fossil fuels to a more sustainable energy system. By bringing together designated academic and local government partners, expertise of all kinds will come together to co-create knowledge and solutions.

In addition to its research, SONNET is hosting several regional, national, and European events to spread and co-create knowledge on social innovation and the energy transition.

...But what is "SOCIAL INNOVATION" anyway?

People around the world are trying out new social practices – or reviving practices from the past – in the hope that those meet our needs better than existing solutions do. Those new (or revived) practices are social innovations. In the energy sector this can look like: energy cooperatives; new funding schemes for energy retrofits; crowdfunding for energy saving projects; etc.

For examples of social innovations in the energy transition, check out what the project´s City Labs are working on here.







Typology of Social Innovation in Energy Transitions

The SONNET team has identified, analysed and grouped 500 examples of social innovations in energy (SIEs) from across eight European countries. These have been categorised into 18 types – grouped according to social relations (cooperation, exchange, competition, conflict) and the types of energy activities (doing, thinking, organising) they involve

SONNET Case Studies: diving deep to understand social innovations in energy across Europe -

To explore how social innovations in energy (SIEs) can shape, and are shaping, energy transitions, SONNET took on the task of analysing and compiling 18 in-depth Case Studies. These Case Studies span six countries and six ‘SIE-fields’.

The SONNET Power Guide - A Guide on the Transformative Power of Social Innovations in Energy -  a practical guide with evidence-based exercises to help you put power at the centre of your work, in order to unlock the full potential of social innovations to support and push forward energy transitions.

  • Fraunhofer ISI
  • City of Antwerp
  • City of Basel
  • City of Bristol
  • Dutch Research Institute for Transitions
  • Grenoble École de Management
  • City of Grenoble
  • ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Kozminski University
  • City of Mannheim
  • University of Sussex
  • City of Warsaw
  • Zürcher Hochshule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Overall budget: € 2 999 832,50
EU contribution: € 2 999 832,50

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