How can universities and NGOs intermediate between grassroots initiatives and established regime actors in sustainability transitions? We have studied this question for the case of plastic revaluation. Manon van Leeuwen co-authored this paper, which is published in the Wiley Creativity and Innovation Management Journal.


Although niche grassroots initiatives can push bottom‐up sustainability transitions, they can face problems in forming a more global niche and in scaling their innovative solutions to a regime level. A thorough literature review shows scholarly agreement on the assumption that universities and non‐governmental organisations (NGOs) can support sustainability transition in the acceleration phase by intermediating within niches and between niches and regimes. As in‐depth research and a reality check on successful intermediary strategies in this context are still lacking, this paper aims to contribute to a conceptual framework that integrates the NGOs and universities expected activities in existing literature and relates them to one another. We develop such a framework and test it in three case studies from the plastic revaluation field, comparing and drawing on the perspectives of niche, intermediary and regime actors.



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