Transformative Science and Action Research

Creating scientifically and socially relevant knowledge while encouraging transformative action: these are the two main goals of Transformative Science and Action Research. Our focus lies on societal problems such as sustainability, emancipation, democracy and empowerment.

Rather than only analyzing and theorizing these issues, we also translate our research insights into prescriptive recommendations and participatory tools for policy-makers and other practitioners. By offering insight in this transformative research mode, we strengthen the ability to accomplish practical change with research.

Our Expertise

Our team possesses theoretical and practical expertise on transformative science and action research. This expertise is continuously informed and updated by on-going advisory and research projects in which our trainers and lecturers are involved, for example action research projects to address sustainability problems in cities and neighborhoods (see our InContext, Veerkracht and MUSIC projects) and the EU-funded research projects ARTS and Impression. Our team also integrates cutting edge knowledge and experience from other practitioners and researchers in our network by involving them as lecturers and speakers.

TAC Offer

The interest in the potential contribution of transformative science in addressing sustainability challenges, whether ecological or social, is growing rapidly. We offer a transition perspective on Transformative Science and Action Research, while at the same time critically reflecting on its challenges. We combine large philosophical questions on the role of science in long-term transformation processes, with the more pragmatic issues regarding practicing action research, in order to provide you with thorough knowledge and applicable tools that help you apply this transformative research mode and guide the transition towards a sustainable society.


Do you want to read more about Sustainability Transitions and Transition Governance? Make a start with these key publications or subscribe to our newsletter, for the latest insights from research and practice.

  • Wittmayer, J.M., Schäpke, N., Steenbergen, F. van, Omann, I. (2014). Making sense of sustainability transitions locally. How action research contributes to addressing societal challenges. Critical Policy Studies, 8(4), 465-485. DOI: 10.1080/19460171.2014.957336
  • Wittmayer, J.M. & N. Schäpke (2014). Action, Research and Participation: Roles of Researchers in Sustainability Transitions. Sustainability Science, 9(4), 483-496. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-014-0258-4.
  • Wittmayer, J.M., Schäpke, N., Feiner, G., Piotrowski. R. and Baasch, S. (2013). Action Research for Sustainability. Reflections on transition management in practice. Research Brief/Deliverable 5.2. InContext: EU ENV.2010.4.2.3-1 grant agreement n° 265191. Online available.