Léa Funfschilling

Lund University
Paris IAS
10 months

Research Interests: Sustainability Transitions, Innovation Studies, Science- and Technology Studies, Institutional Theory

Research Project

The beginning of endings: Establishing an epistemic community for the study of industrial decline

The research questions at the center of the project are: How do established industries come to an end? The project will take on this challenge by studying knowledge dynamics in a new and interdisciplinary way.

The main aim of the fellowship is to build an epistemic community for academics and practitioners and foster research competence around the topic of endings, specifically in the context of industrial decline. The project will bring together scholars from different disciplines to identify ontological and epistemological differences and commonalities regarding their study of endings. Relevant scholarship includes projects that deal with destabilization, discontinuation, decline, de-institutionalization, unlearning, unmaking, phase-out, and other related processes of endings. The project will also engage practitioners, such as policy makers and industry representatives tasked with the phase-out of certain industries, to join our discussions to co-create the next generation of research questions.

Combining theoretical insights from innovation and organization studies, STS, and sociology in a novel way, the project will identify the mechanisms and processes that lead to the erosion and extinction of knowledge in different industries and geographical contexts.


Lea Fünfschilling is associate professor at the Department of Sociology as well as a member of CIRCLE (Center for Innovation) at Lund University. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Basel in Switzerland. Her research interests are interdisciplinary, located at the intersection of sociology and science- and technology studies. In particular, she has contributed to the development of a distinctly institutional perspective on sustainability transitions. She is the coordinator of the Swedish Transformative Innovation Policy Platform (STIPP) and was recently awarded an ERC Starting Grant for the project ‘ENDINGS – Towards a theory of endings in innovation studies' (2023-2027).