According to Luís Bettencourta and Jasleen Kaurcthe at the Santa Fe Institute (http://tuvalu.santafe.edu/~bettencourt/sustainability), current state of sustainability science scholarship has two epicentres, one in Europe and another in the USA. Most Scandinavian and North American sustainability science scholars work on socio-ecological systems, and western European scholars work on socio-technical systems. The Adaptive Transition Initiative in its effort to innovate at the intersection of these two systems approaches recognizes three areas of work important for communicating sustainability science – mid-stream modulation, boundary work, and sustainability transitions.
The concept of mid-stream modulation entails small changes in research implementation through constant interactions with social scientists that may ultimately help bring disruptive changes in end-user participation downstream. Boundary work entails mediating role of various boundary actors, processes and artifacts in such processes as adaptive co-management of agricultural and natural resources. Sustainability transitions are those changes that bring long-term transformations towards low-carbon systems of production and consumption as a result of important new policy decisions at the regime-level, also called structural change or system innovation.