Thomas Bauwens
Assistant Professor
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam

More information


Dr. Thomas Bauwens is an Assistant Professor researching collective action for sustainability at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

Thomas studies the organizational and institutional conditions that foster effective collective solutions to the social, economic or environmental grand challenges of our times, such as global warming and the circular economy transition. He combines insights from institutional economics and sociology as well as economic geography to create novel theoretical frameworks and empirical insights. Through his work on renewable energy communities, circular economy start-ups, and other bottom-up sustainability initiatives, he has advanced the understanding of their upscaling processes and their roles in fostering societal support for sustainable innovations. Furthermore, he has contributed to uncovering the pivotal role of community governance, alongside market and state institutions, in tackling sustainability transformations.

He was recently awarded a €1.5m Starting Grant from the European Research Council for the ambitious, five-year research project "SCENSUS" ("Scaling the Societal Impact of Community Enterprises for Sustainability"). In this project, by studying different forms of community enterprises in multiple countries, Thomas and his team aim to build an interdisciplinary theory of the mechanisms through which community enterprises can transform our economy to tackle urgent sustainability challenges.

Before joining RSM, Thomas worked in the Utrecht University’s Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, where he led research and taught on circular economy, energy communities and sustainability transitions. Before that, he was a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and at Oxford University. He holds a PhD in Economics and Management from HEC Management School, University of Liege, Belgium, and a MSc in Economics from the Economic School of Louvain, University of Louvain, Belgium.


Academic (21)
  • Ziegler, R., Bauwens, T., Roy, M. J., Teasdale, S., Fourrier, A., & Raufflet, E. (2023). Embedding circularity: Theorizing the social economy, its potential, and its challenges. Ecological Economics, 214, Article 107970.

  • Dudka, A., Moratal, N., & Bauwens, T. (2023). A typology of community-based energy citizenship: An analysis of the ownership structure and institutional logics of 164 energy communities in France. Energy Policy, 178, Article 113588.

  • Blomsma, F., Bauwens, T., Weissbrod, I., & Kirchherr, J. (2023). The ‘need for speed’: Towards circular disruption—What it is, how to make it happen and how to know it's happening. Business Strategy and the Environment, 32(3), 1010-1031.

  • Bauwens, T., Vaskelainen, T., & Frenken, K. (2022). Conceptualising institutional complexity in the upscaling of community enterprises: Lessons from renewable energy and carsharing. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 42, 138-151.

  • Velasco-Herrejón, P., Bauwens, T., & Calisto Friant, M. (2022). Challenging dominant sustainability worldviews on the energy transition: Lessons from Indigenous communities in Mexico and a plea for pluriversal technologies. World Development, 150, Article 105725.

  • Punt, M. B., Bauwens, T., Frenken, K., & Holstenkamp, L. (2022). Institutional relatedness and the emergence of renewable energy cooperatives in German districts. Regional Studies, 56(4), 548-562.

  • Georgarakis, E., Bauwens, T., Pronk, A. M., & AlSkaif, T. (2021). Keep it green, simple and socially fair: A choice experiment on prosumers’ preferences for peer-to-peer electricity trading in the Netherlands. Energy Policy, 159, Article 112615.

  • Hoffman, J., Davies, M., Bauwens, T., Späth, P., Hajer, M. A., Arifi, B., Bazaz, A., & Swilling, M. (2021). Working to align energy transitions and social equity: An integrative framework linking institutional work, imaginaries and energy justice. Energy Research and Social Science, 82, Article 102317.

  • Velasco-Herrejon, P., & Bauwens, T. (2020). Energy justice from the bottom up: A capability approach to community acceptance of wind energy in Mexico. Energy Research and Social Science, 70, Article 101711.

  • Bauwens, T., Hekkert, M., & Kirchherr, J. (2020). Circular futures: What Will They Look Like? Ecological Economics, 175, Article 106703.

  • Bauwens, T., Huybrechts, B., & Dufays, F. (2020). Understanding the Diverse Scaling Strategies of Social Enterprises as Hybrid Organizations: The Case of Renewable Energy Cooperatives. Organization and Environment, 33(2), 195-219.

  • Henry, M., Bauwens, T., Hekkert, M., & Kirchherr, J. (2020). A typology of circular start-ups: Analysis of 128 circular business models. Journal of Cleaner Production, 245, Article 118528.

  • Bauwens, T. (2019). Analyzing the determinants of the size of investments by community renewable energy members: Findings and policy implications from Flanders. Energy Policy, 129, 841-852.

  • Bauwens, T., & Devine-Wright, P. (2018). Positive energies? An empirical study of community energy participation and attitudes to renewable energy. Energy Policy, 118, 612-625.

  • Bauwens, T., & Eyre, N. (2017). Exploring the links between community-based governance and sustainable energy use: Quantitative evidence from Flanders. Ecological Economics, 137, 163-172.

  • Bauwens, T., & Defourny, J. (2017). SOCIAL CAPITAL AND MUTUAL VERSUS PUBLIC BENEFIT: THE CASE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY COOPERATIVES. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 88(2), 203-232.

  • Bauwens, T. (2016). Explaining the diversity of motivations behind community renewable energy. Energy Policy, 93, 278-290.

  • Bauwens, T., Gotchev, B., & Holstenkamp, L. (2016). What drives the development of community energy in Europe? the case of wind power cooperatives. Energy Research and Social Science, 13, 136-147.

  • Bauwens, T. (2015). Propriété coopérative et acceptabilité sociale de l'éolien terrestre. Reflets et Perspectives de la Vie Economique, 54(1-2), 59-70.

  • Bauwens, T. (2015). Socio-technical lock-in and the alignment framework: The case of distributed generation technologies. Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 16(2), 155-181.

  • Bauwens, T., & Lemaître, A. (2014). Popular economy in Santiago de chile: State of affairs and challenges. World Development, 64, 65-78.

Academic (2)
  • Rossetto, N., Verde, S. F., & Bauwens, T. (2022). A taxonomy of energy communities in liberalized energy systems. In Energy Communities: Customer-Centered, Market-Driven, Welfare-Enhancing? (pp. 3-23). Elsevier Inc..

  • Bauwens, T. (2017). Polycentric governance approaches for a low-carbon transition: The roles of community-based energy initiatives in enhancing the resilience of future energy systems. In Green Energy and Technology (9783319337524 ed., pp. 119-145). Springer Verlag/Kodansha Ltd.

Popular (2)

Popular (1)
  • Kirchherr, J., Bauwens, T., & Ramos, T. B. (2023). Circular disruption: Concepts, enablers and ways ahead. Business Strategy and the Environment, 32(3), 1005-1009.

Popular (1)
  • Bauwens, T., Schraven, D., Drewing, E., Radtke, J., Holstenkamp, L., Gotchev, B., & Yildiz, Ö. (2022). Conceptualizing community in energy systems: A systematic review of 183 definitions. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 156, Article 111999.

Popular (1)


Verantwoord leiderschap in organisaties

  • Study year: 2023/2024
  • Code: BK2101
  • Level: Bachelor 2, Pre-master

Sustainability Grand Challenges

  • Study year: 2023/2024
  • Code: BM05GBS
  • Level: Master

Featured in the media