Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions (CIIST)

Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions (CIIST) is a knowledge node that brings together scientists from multiple disciplines to develop an understanding of the complex transformation processes needed to achieve a sustainable society.

Most of the world’s nations have signed the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The Paris Climate Change Agreement demands that high-income countries cut their emissions to practically zero by 2050. Just a few decades is a short time to achieve these goals.

The systems that need to be adapted, including energy and transportation systems, are large and complex. How can we create the overall changes the world needs in the allotted time? Achieving ambitious societal objectives requires collective measures, as well as private and public players who dare to spearhead the transition.

Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions is developing the expertise to support the necessary transition processes.

Interdisciplinary knowledge is the key
Transition processes are complex. With its wide range of perspectives and approaches, Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions is one of the world’s foremost research environments in the field. The initiative links different insights to create an understanding of the interaction between processes and systems at many levels – from the global level to individuals’ daily lives. The goal is to understand what governments, businesses and civil society can do to stimulate the transition.

Support for active participation in the transition
The initiative offers knowledge on how to implement transitions, and supports advances towards achieving the UN’s and other challenging sustainability objectives at the regional, national and international levels. It aims to promote the transition to sustainable societies by serving as a resource for stakeholders such as government agencies, businesses and the academic world.

Strong base in a fellowship of knowledge and expertise
The initiative springs from a well-grounded knowledge community in two of Chalmers’ fields of expertise – innovation and sustainability. As a university with a long-standing reputation for collaboration, Chalmers is a natural arena for co-creation transitions.


Upcoming  seminars organised by CIIST:

Graduate Course. Start week 11.

Course credits: 7.5 hp
Previous occasions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016
Next occasion: 2019 March (week 11) – June (week 24)
Location: Chalmers, Göteborg
Examiner: Björn Sandén
To sign-up, send an email to

Course description
The course deals with critical problems in system studies, the historic development of systems science and examples of specific approaches including operations analysis and energy systems modeling, industrial ecology and life cycle assessment and transition and innovation systems studies. We discuss the nature of Future studies in general as well as technology assessment and assessments of system intervention (such as policy implementation and investment decisions). The transfer of results from analysis to action is elaborated and potential roles of the systems scientist in society are explored. The course focuses on socio-technical systems, that is, systems with human and technical components. The course spans a range from harder to softer systems approaches.
The course aims at giving the PhD student an orientation within the broad field of system science to increase the awareness of what kind of research that is done and what could be done to address problems related to society’s capacity to cope with environmental problems. It also aims at making the student aware of how the her or his own research is related to a historical tradition and positioned relative other approaches.
Course organisation
The course is subdivided into about seven two-day seminars. Every seminar (including the first seminar) is preceded by a period when the student have time to read recommended texts. Before every seminar, participants are required to hand in reading notes and, for some occasions, a minor additional assignment. The last meeting all participants present a short course paper. Each seminar includes lectures from the course leader and invited scholars, as well as discussions and short presentations by the PhD students.
Systems understanding​

Published: Tue 09 Jun 2015. Modified: Tue 19 Feb 2019