Prof. Dr. René Kemp

Professorial Fellow

Research group(s):
5. Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainability Transitions (coordinator)

René Kemp is Professorial fellow at UNU-MERIT and Professor of Innovation and Sustainable Development at MSI, Maastricht University. Formerly he was research director of STEP in Oslo and visiting researcher at IPTS (Seville), Harvard (Boston), Foscari University (Venice), SPRU (Sussex), CIRUS (Zurich), France Telecom (Paris) and the AIRC (Hobart). He held research positions at DRIFT, TNO and Twente University. René Kemp is an acclaimed expert on eco-innovation, environmental policy, sustainability transitions, reflexive governance– on which he authored seminal articles and books. New research interests are the circular economy, urban labs, social innovation and the humanisation of the economy. 

With an h-index of 70 he belongs to the top 0.2% researchers in the world in the field of environmental sciences. He is advisory editor of Research Policy, editor of Sustainability Science and editor of Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions (top journals in the fields of innovation studies, sustainability science and transition studies). He is engaged in many societal impact activities: briefs, blogs and invited talks in the Netherlands and abroad.  For the Inno4SD network he led the work on measuring eco-innovation for a green economy and acted as principal investigator. He served as advisory board member of the Eco-Innovation Observatory (2010 - 2014) and presently serves as member of the working group "Understanding and Managing Industrial Transitions" of the European Commission. At Maastricht University, he co-leads the Maastricht Observatory on Resilient, Responsible & Sustainable Enterprise and Economy (MORSE) and theme 5 at UNU-MERIT: Innovation and enterpreneurship for sustainability transitions. 

He agrees with Lewis Mumford that "the true reward of labor is in life-wages: self-education, self-expression, self-government; mastery and satisfaction in the job, not comfort and luxuries as a relief from the job" (Mumford Interpretations and Forecasts: 1922-1972, p. 206). Good research goes beyond the application of a predefined theory and shuns reductionism: When reductionism becomes the only way of thinking, we reduce too much – Julian Baggini in How the World Thinks, p. 166. 

He mainly works as a researcher, but teaches a course on innovation for sustainability at the Master level and causality anlaysis at PhD level. As a critical pluralist, he undertakes multi-method anlaysis in appropriate multidisciplinary frameworks. 

Selected publications by René Kemp