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Athena's research programme

The key question of Athena’s research programme is: How to organise inclusive multi-stakeholder innovation processes which contribute to addressing complex societal challenges in a sustainable and equitable way?

Research foci
To address this key question, our research focusses on understanding, facilitating, sustaining and upscaling these process, through reflexive monitoring and evaluation.

Through reflection and learning we also combine the analysis of challenges and innovations with methodologies for knowledge integration and transformation. This brings us to our additional research focus: Training and empowering stakeholders, professionals and students to facilitate and participate in inclusive multi-stakeholder innovation processes.

Levels of analyses
Realising effective innovations through inclusive multi-stakeholder innovation processes typically entails interventions at multiple levels, as an activity at one level strongly influences activities at other levels as well. Therefore, our research foci are studied at all levels and in interaction:

  • Micro: actors and projects
  • Meso: organisations and networks
  • Macro: socio-technical systems

Research domains and perspectives

Research domains and perspectives

We study and design multi-stakeholder processes in three societal domains: 

  • Emerging Science & Technology
  • (Global) Health & Well-being
  • Food, Environment & Sustainability

Our analyses could also start from one of our overarching perspectives:

  • Competencies for Transformation
  • Science Communication
  • History of Knowledge
  • Societal Entrepreneurship

This complementarity results in robust knowledge, as findings in one field are tested and verified in other fields.

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