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Dr Bruno Turnheim

Dr Bruno Turnheim

 Bruno Turnheim
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Department of Geography 
King's College London 
Strand Campus 

Research Group


My research is focussed on sustainability and the role of technological innovation in addressing related challenges. I am particularly interested in research on sustainability transitions – the reorientation of socio-technical trajectories towards more societally desirable directions.

My research trajectory to date is highly multidisciplinary, stemming for the combination of technical education and literacy with advanced studies in the social sciences, including environmental systems analysis, environmental economics, environmental and technology policy, philosophy of science, sociology of technology and innovation.

I am currently a post-doctoral research associate at the Department of Geography at King’s College London, where I work on sustainability transitions within the EU FP7 PATHWAYS project, with Prof. Frans Berkhout. The PATHWAYS project is focussed on exploring transition pathways to sustainable, low carbon societies by mobilising multiple existing analytical approaches. I am also involved in other research projects and networks, such as the GREEN.EU project (Green Growth) and the INOGOV research network (Innovations in Climate Governance). I am also a visiting fellow at SPRU (University of Sussex), associated with the Sussex Energy Group (SEG).

Within the Geography Department, I am involved in King's Climate activity hub, and the Urban Futures research domain. I also act as representatitve for research associates on departmental boards.

I obtained my PhD at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex in 2012, under the supervision of Profs. Frank W. Geels and Andy Stirling. My PhD dealt with ‘The destabilisation of existing regimes in socio-technical transitions’, combining theoretical exploration with a number of case studies covering British energy industries from 1880 to the present. My PhD research was part of the DESTABLE research project, funded under an ERC grant.

Research interests


  • Socio-technical transitions (historical, current, future)

  • Environmental problems and sustainability

  • The geography of transitions

  • Urban transformation dynamics

  • Path dependence, lock-in, and the destabilisation of industry regimes

  • Science, technology and society

  • Energy systems, Mobility systems, Food systems


  • Multi-dimensional theories of change and stability

  • Co-evolution of societal domains (economy, policy, technology, society and culture)

  • Longitudinal case studies, pattern recognition, process theory

  • Historical approaches in social sciences

Latest Research Outputs

The destabilisation of existing regimes: Confronting a multi-dimensional framework with a case study of the British coal industry (1913-1967)
Turnheim, B. & Geels, F. W. Dec 2013 In : RESEARCH POLICY. 42, 10, p. 1749-1767

Regime destabilisation as the flipside of energy transitions: Lessons from the history of the British coal industry (1913-1997)
Turnheim, B. & Geels, F. W. Nov 2012 In : ENERGY POLICY. 50, p. 35-49

Complex Governance to Cope with Global Environmental Risk: An Assessment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Turnheim, B. & Tezcan, M. Y. Sep 2010 In : SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ETHICS. 16, 3, p. 517-533

Innovation and diffusion of environmental technology: Industrial NOx abatement in Sweden under refunded emission payments
Sterner, T. & Turnheim, B. 15 Oct 2009 In : ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS. 68, 12, p. 2996-3006


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