The TransCap Initiative exists to improve the way sustainable finance is purposed, designed, and managed so that money can become a transformative force in building a low-carbon, climate-resilient, just, and inclusive society.
We believe that the key to accomplishing this vision is to inspire and enable purpose-driven investors to leverage the insights and tools of systems thinking and complex systems science for addressing the most pressing societal challenges of the 21st century.
In pursuit of this ambition, we are building a collaborative innovation space for developing, testing, and mainstreaming a new investment logic at the intersection of systems thinking and finance practice. We call this logic systemic investing.
What, exactly, systemic investing is and how it can be operationalized sits at the heart of the TCI’s mission. The starting point for this exploration, framed as a hypothesis, is articulated in our white paper.
The Role of Research
The involvement of researchers in the development, validation, and dissemination of the ideas that sit at the heart of systemic investing is a key operating principle of the TCI.
Research is important because systemic investing is not yet a robust methodology, and because its relevance has yet to be established. There is a need to define what systemic investing is, what distinguishes it from other approaches, why investors should care about it, and how it can be operationalized and evaluated.
It is essential that these questions be explored with rigor so that what emerges from these inquiries is robust and can hold up when challenged.
Specifically, research will serve the following purposes:
- Build the theoretical and conceptual foundation of systemic investing: generate original knowledge, develop artefacts (methods, tools, concept notes)
- Establish the relevance of systemic investing: provide scientific arguments, illuminate historical and contemporary cases where systemic investing has catalyzed transformative change
- Bestow rigor upon the field: test hypotheses, interrogate assumptions, validate claims
- Formalize knowledge: empirically test theoretical foundations, develop mathematical models
- Introduce objective clarity and structure to the field: provide definitions, create taxonomies
Our Approach to Research
Our ambition is to build a diverse research coalition consisting of leading universities, research institutes, and other societal actors with a strong affinity for scientific inquiry. This coalition should span the disciplines of complex systems science, sustainable finance and economics, and sustainability transitions. It should be global in nature and connect some of the leading minds doing research at the nexus of finance, innovation, and systems change.
Our first-generation research agenda—available for download here—lays out the guiding principles that will underpin our conceptual development work as well as the priority research questions for the initial phase of inquiry. It will continuously be updated in response to our findings from academic and practical work.
If you are interested in getting involved in our research agenda, please get in touch.