SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition - Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change

Decarbonisation of the power sector and fossil-fuel dependent industries is a critical part of Europe’s low carbon future. These industries are not spread evenly across the EU, but concentrated in a number of carbon-intensive regions. Decarbonisation will lead to deep structural changes with implications for regional economies and labour markets, as well as for the regions’ social, political, cultural and demographic composition. If not managed well, these structural changes may cause serious economic impacts, societal upheaval, aggravated social inequalities and hardship.

Th CINTRAN project will help improve understanding of the patterns and dynamics of structural change in response to decarbonisation at the regional level, the parameters which determine the pace of transformation as well as the capacity of regional actors to adapt and pro-actively create alternative structures.

The project focuses on four of these fossil-fuel dependent regions: western Macedonia (Greece), Silesia (Poland), Ida-Virumaa (Estonia) and the Rhenish mining area (Germany). To minimise harmful consequences to these areas and others like them, the team sets out to understand:

  • Patterns and dynamics of structural change in response to decarbonization at the regional level
  • Parameters determining the pace of transformation
  • The capacity of regional actors to cope, adapt and pro-actively create alternative structures.

Better understanding of these areas will produce insights about the patterns and dynamics of decarbonisation and corresponding structural adjustments. These insights have relevance for all carbon-intensive regions in the EU and neighbouring countries.

Methodology

The project team will use a variety of methodologies, including highly integrated, inter- and transdisciplinary research working in close collaboration with regional stakeholders, whilst using quantitative model-based research with qualitative in-depth analysis. The aim is to develop a meta-theoretical framework which enables the team to combine theories from different disciplines.

Impact and outreach

Through interactive maps and other engaging outputs, the research team hopes to bridge the gap between the research community and non-technical audience such as policymakers, civil society, industrial associations, NGOs, civil society to provide them with user-friendly tools.

Further information

The CINTRAN consortium comprises of 14 partners from eight countries across Europe. The CINTRAN team brings together four universities with particularly salient research profiles: University of Sussex, TU Berlin, Chalmers University of Technology and University of Bergen.

This project is funded by Horizon 2020.