Co-creating the shift to clean mobility

Past event In person & livestream

Climate, Energy & Natural Resources
Co-creating the shift to clean mobility

What happened?

How we can create the conditions for all European citizens to have access to clean mobility, regardless of their income and location? This question, along with the possible cooperation opportunities available to policymakers, businesses and citizens, were the main focus of the launch event of the SSH CENTRE (Social Sciences and Humanities for Climate, Energy and Transport Research Excellence) project, which aims to accelerate the EU’s transition to carbon neutrality by strengthening social innovation, SSH-STEM collaboration and transdisciplinary policy advice.

There is already a lot of inequality in Europe’s mobility system, said Cathy Macharis, Full Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Coordinator of the Mobilise Research Group. A big cause of transport poverty is due to the lack of digital inclusion, but also the lack of transport options. “There is no choice because the way spatial development is done creates car dependency,” she specified.

The European Commission needs a common strategic vision and a regulatory framework that supports the EU’s ambitions, explained Rosalinde van der Vlies, Director of the Clean Planet Directorate at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). This needs to be backed up by massive public and private sector investment in technological, social and governance innovation, she added.

There are both risks and opportunities in the need for new raw materials to drive the energy transition in mobility, pointed out Julia Poliscanova, Senior Director for Vehicles and E-Mobility at Transport & Environment (T&E). “There is no shift to clean mobility without raw materials and we don’t have the minerals base,” she said, “but we have already been successful in building a batteries value chain for electric vehicles.”

Further success will depend on joined-up thinking, van der Vlies concluded. “The Commission should be connecting the dots between different EU programmes, for example, between Horizon Europe projects and deployment programmes, but also between the EU investment programmes and national structural funds. Silo-breaking is extremely important.”

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Registration of participants & welcome sandwich lunch
Co-creating the shift to clean mobility
Expand Co-creating the shift to clean mobility

Questions to be addressed include:

  • How can Europe ensure that the automotive sector builds a competitive low-carbon vehicles industry without harming workers’ livelihoods?
  • What are the key infrastructures that will be needed in the shift to clean mobility and how can the EU ensure these are accessible to all?
  • How do policymakers balance the need for better public transport with citizens’ desire for private cars, and how can they encourage people to use other modes of transport?
  • How can research on societal shifts help inform just transport policy, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis?
End of the debate


Cathy Macharis
Cathy Macharis

Full Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Coordinator of the Mobilise Research Group

Show more information on Cathy Macharis

Cathy Macharis teaches courses on the intersection of sustainability, mobility and decision-making at the VUB Faculty of Economics and coordinates the Mobilise Research Group, which supports the transition to sustainable mobility and logistics. Having published over 100 scientific journal articles and 11 books, she is known for developing the Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analysis (MAMCA) methodology to improve decision-making related to sustainability issues by giving a voice to all stakeholders. Macharis serves as President of the Brussels Mobility Commission and Vice-Chairwoman of the Network on European Communications and Transport Activities Research (NECTAR), as well as on the Flemish government’s panel of climate experts.

Julia Poliscanova
Julia Poliscanova

Senior Director for Vehicles and E-Mobility at Transport & Environment (T&E)

Show more information on Julia Poliscanova

Julia Poliscanova leads T&E’s vehicles and electrification work across light and heavy-duty road transport. Her work includes policy and projects on car emissions and e-mobility, such as EU vehicle CO2 standards, sustainable batteries, and infrastructure for electric vehicles. Poliscanova also represents T&E on the Board of the Global Battery Alliance and serves as an advisor to the Board of Vulcan Energy Resources. Specialised in batteries and fuel cells, Poliscanova previously worked as senior EU environment expert for the Mayor of London. She has also followed legislation on renewables, energy efficiency and sustainable transport as an advisor to a member of the European Parliament.

Rosalinde van der Vlies

Director of the Clean Planet Directorate at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD)

Show more information on Rosalinde van der Vlies

In addition to her current appointment as the Director of the Clean Planet Directorate at DG RTD, Rosalinde van der Vlies serves as the Deputy Mission Manager of the Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission. Previously, she led the Coordination & Interinstitutional Relations Unit and has acted as the head of the Communication & Citizens Unit. She has also held positions in the Directorate-General for the Environment, the Directorate-General for Justice and Home Affairs, as well as the private office of the European commissioner for environment. Before joining the European Commission, she worked as a competition lawyer at an international law firm.



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