The TPM Energy Transition Lab is initiated in April 2020 by the faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management (TPM) at Delft University of Technology with the objective to facilitate, design, and execute interdisciplinary, boundary-crossing research that can speed up the energy transition. TPM Energy Transition Lab aims to provide energy researchers with a safe environment and sufficient resources for interdisciplinary, risky research related to behaviour and design in the energy transition. 

Why a lab?

The energy transition is a widely investigated topic in several domains; the dynamics of the energy transition are fast-changing. Research is typically descriptive, model-based, or rooted in a singular theory paradigm. Simultaneously, research is often limited to discipline-specific silos, focusing either on social, technical, economic, and institutional aspects, but hardly ever all together. An integrated interdisciplinary perspective, that looks into the interplay and co-evolution of these aspects can pave the way for novel theories and research methods. This integrative approach will also open up innovative tools for supporting decision-making in the energy transition. 

Erwin Suvaal from CVIII Ontwerpers
Erwin Suvaal from CVIII Ontwerpers

Energy transition research at TPM

Energy researchers at the faculty of TPM have a unique set of theoretical and methodological skills. The combination of (1) expertise in both qualitative and quantitative empirical research on socio-institutional dimensions of energy transition and (2) the outstanding modelling, surveying, and simulation expertise, provides a strong foundation for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. This foundation is strengthened by the fact that TPM researchers have a strong footing within relevant networks within the faculty, university, and in the energy sector, sparking research that combines scientific rigor with impact on real-world decision-making. The TPM Energy Transition Lab allows energy researchers to exploit their interdisciplinary research potential. 


The ambition of the TPM Energy Transition Lab is to become nationally and internationally renowned for their research on the development of new approaches, methods, and tools for fostering effective, feasible, fair, legitimate energy transition. Our ‘trademark’ is that we combine scientific excellence with societal relevance; we do this by engaging closely with societal partners and by conducting interdisciplinary research, where we conduct cutting-edge research together with external actors (policymakers, practitioners, citizens). 

Safe environment for risky research

The TPM Energy Transition Lab is a safe environment where researchers are encouraged to develop research ideas that challenge the status quo of energy transition research and practice. Our strong collaborations with practitioners not only imply that we help them to accomplish their (policy) goals, but that we also critically reflect on their practices and assumptions. In terms of research we will build upon mainstream research paradigms, but with a close look at the underlying assumptions of these paradigms. Furthermore, we aim to develop alternative approaches to challenge dominant schools of thought to rethink their assumptions. We deliberately pursue to showcase this critical attitude to boundary-crossing members of the TPM Energy Transition Lab because we believe that a critical research attitude encourages talented researchers from other universities to collaborate with us. This fits with enabling a safe environment for risky research.