Dr Enayat A. MOALLEMI, Research Associate in Exploratory Analysis of Sustainability Transitions (Iran)

The sustainability transition of socio-ecological systems is a highly complex process. It unfolds in a deeply uncertain environment surrounded by surprises and shocks. The traditional predictive environmental models do not provide sufficient scope for proactive environmental planning. Dr Enayat A. Moallemi has come up with a novel exploratory framework, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches that will better inform decision makers in a deeply uncertain environment.


Research focus: sustainability transitions modelling; environmental policy making under deep uncertainty

Transitions to sustainable production and consumption systems necessitate non-linear interactions between natural, technical, societal and economic systems. They entail severe uncertainties and feature shocks and surprises. Uncertainties make long-term transitions to sustainable production and consumption systems problematic for policy makers. The 2016 US presidential election and the subsequent shift in the country’s climate change policy and fossil fuel exploitation is a recent example of such an unforeseen circumstance. Conventional approaches to policymaking usually take a predict-then-act approach, which relies on lessons from historical trends and future expectation shaped by only a limited number of scenarios. They also mostly take a reactive standpoint: planning is often carried out to respond to changing circumstances, rather than to proactively prepare for change. In order to better predict outcomes, Enayat created an exploratory framework that takes the unexpected into account and will enable policy makers to proactively prepare for change.

Enayat has developed an ‘transitions modelling framework’ for policy design and analysis in the context of sustainability transitions. In his framework, he couples quantitative and quantitative approaches to inform more robust policy design and analysis. This new take encompasses previously overlooked aspects, such as identifying vulnerabilities of policy interventions and planning coping strategies.

The jury welcomed Enayat’s novel interdisciplinary approach and was impressed by his achievement of having already successfully tested his framework on the Indian electricity sector. The jury recognised the potential value of Enayat’s research in informing German policymakers and is confident that Green Talents will provide a platform to help Enayat achieve his goal of making a positive contribution to the policy discussion around sustainable development.