CINTRAN - Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition - Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change

    • Regions that depend economically on fossil fuel extraction or energy-intensive industries will be disproportionately affected by the decarbonization of industry and the economy. The CINTRAN project examines the complex patterns and dynamics of structural change in these carbon-intensive regions in Europe. It examines the pace of change and the regions' ability to cope with and proactively adapt through highly integrated, inter- and transdisciplinary research in close collaboration with regional stakeholders from four regions that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels: Western Macedonia (Greece), Silesia ( Poland), Ida-Virumaa (Estonia) and the Rheinische Revier (Germany). This knowledge will contribute to a more effective, fairer and more inclusive governance of regional change.

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    Project term:

    01.05.2020 to 30.04.2024


    System Integration, Climate Protection

    Project leader:


    Braunger, Isabell; Rieve, Catharina


    CINTRAN is a 4-year research and stakeholder engagement program funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 88459. The CINTRAN consortium, led by the Wuppertal Institute, comprises 13 partners and around 40 researchers from 8 countries across Europe.

    In order to achieve the climate protection goals of the European Union (EU) as well as the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, electricity production based on coal and gas must be ended and the fossil fuel-dependent industries must be decarbonised. These industries are not evenly distributed across the EU, but are concentrated in a few carbon-intensive regions. Decarbonisation will lead to profound structural changes in the regional economy, labor markets and the social, political, cultural and demographic composition of the regions. If these structural changes are not properly monitored and managed, they can cause serious economic effects, social upheavals, heightened social inequalities and hardship.

    In order to minimize such consequences, it is necessary to better understand the patterns and dynamics of the structural change triggered by decarbonization at the regional level and to comprehend which parameters determine the pace of transformation and the ability of regional actors to adapt and to accomplish alternative structures proactively.

    The project "Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition - Unraveling the Challenges of Structural Change" - CINTRAN for short - aims to enable such activities through integrated, inter- and transdisciplinary research in close cooperation with regional stakeholders. The scientists combine quantitative, model-based research with qualitative in-depth analyzes. In terms of qualitative research, they focus on four regions that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels: Western Macedonia (Greece), Silesia (Poland), Ida-Virumaa (Estonia) and the Rhenish lignite district (Germany). The regions were selected to cover the range of a multitude of different dimensions - fuel, state of economic development, the diversification of the regional economy, political economy and spatial composition. This diversity enables researchers to derive generalizable insights into the patterns and dynamics of decarbonization and the corresponding structural adjustments that are relevant for all carbon-intensive regions in the EU and its neighboring countries.

    In addition, CINTRAN is part of the Coal Transitions Research Hub, an international research platform that aims to develop reliable and feasible ways and political guidelines for transformations in the energy sector of coal-using countries: