The Politics of Low Carbon Innovation: Towards a theory of Niche Protection

This was a collaborative project between analysing the politics of providing a ‘protective space’ for three innovation pathways towards low carbon energy strategies in the UK and Netherlands: photovoltaic cells, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage. It ran from October 2010 – September 2013.

Funded by the ESRC-NWP, this work studied the strategies followed by advocates of these technologies for attracting public support, and how this political competition affects the innovation process.

It analysed arguments advanced by advocates of each technology, the audiences to whom these arguments are made, and how they are re-presented to different interests.

This research linked to work underway in the STEPS Centre concerning divergent ‘framings’ of sustainability and the process of establishing diverse ‘pathways to sustainability’.

Contact: Dr Adrian Smith, SPRU, University of Sussex; [email protected]



  • Adrian Smith, STEPS Centre and SPRU
  • Rob Raven, Eindhoven Technical University