The usefulness of history is often ignored or taken for granted. It is seldom researched as such. The aim of this project is to explore both on a theoretical/philosophical level, and on a practical level how to think about the usages of history and explore its use in practice. The project consists of two separate projects: 1. A PhD project that will explore theoretical justifications for making the past usable in the present, but also will assess if, how and why actors use historical understandings in their actual practice. This project is funded by the TU/e. 2. A post-doc project that provides a critical assessment of the notion of path-dependency. This notion is en vogue and often referred to, and leads many scholars to subscribe to the slogan history matters . The aim is to explore the notion of path-dependency both on a theoretical and a practical level. This project is funded through the Bsik contribution. For the moment we seek one year funding. We might ask for an extension depending on the results of the first phase. Eventually the aim of the two projects is to produce a set of conclusions and theoretical justifications and conceptualisations that capture actual practice and a set of recommendations and a method for how to use history. 2.2. Research question and empirical objects 1) PhD Project: Using History The project will address the question if and how history can be used for policy purposes. The project will be both theoretical/philosophical and empirical/applied. Theoretical/philosophical research questions are: How can we conceptualize the relationship between the present and the past? Why would it be important to make use of history? How can we explain use or non-use of historical knowledge? 1 For answering these questions the project will draw on ongoing debates within history about the usefulness of historical knowledge (see for example Lorenz 1997, but also intriging is Ferguson, 1997; and on theoretical insights from policy-studies on knowledge utilization in the policy-process (both from policy studies, and sociology of knowledge; very useful is still Smits and Leyten 1991). Empirical-applied research questions address the actual use of history. Do policy-makers use history in their practice? If so, how? These questions explore the demand side. How do historians (or other disciplines) present and communicate historical insights? This addresses the supply side The project will contain case studies on the actual use of historical research in policy processes. The KSI program itself is an obvious topic of analysis. Another one is too look at the experience of using history within the Ministery of Transport and Traffic since they have set-up a separate internal history group. A third option is to look at the use of history in future-studies, and scenarios. 2) Post-doc project. Analysing path dependencies This project will address the question how we can understand that many socio-technical systems become locked-in (e.g. in terms of cognitive routines, competencies, social networks, sunk investments, vested interests, and behavioural patterns) and if a lock-out is possible? Such lock-ins are created through path dependencies with deep historical roots. This means that research of future transitions should not simply start in the present and extrapolate promising innovations (e.g. learning curves), but take into account the path dependencies in the existing system or what we would like to call regimes. This has clear relevance for policy, because policy-making cannot go against the flow in domains where multiple actors are involved (e.g. transport, energy, agriculture). Policies and instruments which go against ongoing dynamics, are good candidates for failure. Instead, policy makers should try to modulate ongoing dynamics. To do so they need proper insights in long-term dynamics, path dependencies, trends and emerging windows of opportunity. The project aims first of all to critically explore the notions of path-dependency and lock-in because these notions are often used too easily. This will result in an operationalisation of the concept. Then we will explore if we can apply the notion to one or two case-studies. We propose to focus on mobility and/or energy for the first year.