Objectives and Approach

A strong commitment towards decarbonisation has been made in the European Union. To achieve its carbon reduction targets, a successful energy transition will be crucial for the EU. The energy transition can only succeed if and when consumers are recognized as actors with diverse needs and interests.


SMARTEES, a Horizon 2020 transdisciplinary research project, supports the energy transition by analysing and modelling five types of energy- and mobility-related social innovation. It builds locally-embedded policy scenarios that foster citizen inclusion, and develops a policy sandbox tool to evaluate the effects of policy interventions and social innovation.


The core of the SMARTEES project are five clusters of energy- and mobility-related social innovation. The experiences of ten front-runner cities and islands serve as reference points for these social innovation clusters. Click here to read more about the clusters and reference cases >>.


Key Steps


To analyse social innovation taking place in the ten cities and islands, build locally-embedded policy scenarios, and develop the sandbox policy tool, SMARTEES pursues the following process:


  1. Qualitative and quantitative research of social innovation in the ten reference cases;
  2. Profiling social innovation in successful energy and mobility transitions;
  3. Agent-based modelling of social innovation processes in the reference cases;
  4. Co-creative development of policy scenarios with local stakeholders;
  5. Development of a policy sandbox tool for ten front-runner and five premium follower cases, based on the respective modelling and policy scenario activities.


To enable wider replication of successful examples, twenty follower cities and islands will participate in city visits and knowledge co-creation workshops in the reference cases. Five will further be selected as premium follower cases, for which the above process will be replicated in a more compact approach.




The main outputs of the SMARTEES project to support the energy transition will be:


  • Detailed profiles of social innovation in each reference as well as a cross-cluster comparison of social innovation
  • Tailored and robust policy scenarios for ten European cities and islands which shed light on how policies can foster social innovation
  • Policy recommendations that support decision-making by describing effective strategies for engaging citizens and various other stakeholders
  • Agent-based modelling in fifteen cities and islands to understand more complex social processes and decision patterns crucial in making the energy transition successful
  • Workshops targeted at European policymakers as well as cities and islands participating in the project
  • Policy sandbox tool that will consolidate the analysis undertaken in the scope of the project


Using an agent-based modelling approach, the policy sandbox tool will demonstrate the effects of policy measures and social innovation in each of the reference and premium follower cases. It thereby supports the improvement of policy design and decision-making.

The policy sandbox tool will enable policymakers to test social innovation and various policy interventions relevant to their local context and then adapt and implement actions to advance the energy transition.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 763912. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the SMARTEES project. It does not necessarily represent the opinion of the European Union.