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Research project

STEADFAST - Sustainable energy and food transitions

This project has received funding via the CIVICA Research call 2021, which is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under the CIVICA Research project. Additionally, CIVICA research projects receive financing from national funding sources and partners' own resources.

Recent literature demonstrates that avoiding dangerous climate change is possible if clean technologies backed by strong institutions are rapidly introduced around the world. However, this scholarship has been criticized for its predominant focus on supply-side technical solutions while disregarding behavioural and societal factors affecting demand for energy and natural resources. Another criticism has been that not everything envisioned in climate mitigation scenarios developed employing modelling tools is feasible in the real world.

STEADFAST addresses both criticisms by advancing the understanding of feasibility of worldwide dietary and energy demand changes necessary for achieving the Paris climate targets. The project builds on complementary expertise in energy and climate modelling (Bocconi), mechanisms of energy transitions (CEU), and drivers of climate attitudes and behaviours (EUI). It advances a common framework whereby social mechanisms identified through historical evidence are used to construct a ‘feasibility space’ for mapping future climate action. We will construct feasibility spaces for energy demand and dietary changes and use these to assess the feasibility of transitions envisioned in climate mitigation scenarios.

The project will analyse historical evidence on decoupling of economic growth and energy, the energy targets and plans in selected developing countries, as well as meat consumption trends and their determinants. Subsequently, this historical evidence, consolidated into feasibility spaces, will be used for assessing the feasibility of demand for energy and food in IPCC 1.5°C and 2°C climate pathways in order to identify the regions, time-periods and sectors with most significant bottlenecks, as well as present recommendations for constructing more realistic pathways.


The CIVICA collaborative research projects gather scholars from CIVICA universities to conduct policy relevant research on major societal challenges. Following CIVICA's first call for collaborative research proposals, eleven proposals were selected for funding under CIVICA Research. Last year, in a second call, eleven more were selected, many involving the EUI.

CIVICA Research brings together researchers from eight leading European universities in the social sciences to contribute knowledge and solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The project aims to strengthen the research & innovation pillar of the European University alliance CIVICA. CIVICA Research is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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