The final conference of the TRANSFORMER Project took place at Ruhr University Bochum on 18-19 June 2024. Funded by Horizon Europe, the project aims to accelerate the transition of Transition Super Labs (TSLs) to climate neutrality in Emilia-Romagna, Lower Silesia, Western Macedonia, and the Ruhr Area. The Ruhr Area hosted this event, organised by Prof. Matthias Kiese and Dr Thomas Meister of RUB’s Institute of Geography, along with Business Metropole Ruhr (BMR) and other stakeholders.

The conference marked the beginning of the project's final phase, focusing on concluding efforts and initiating regional replication of sustainable frameworks. Opening remarks by Martin Paul, Jörg Kemna, and Matthias Kiese emphasised TSLs' role in accelerating sustainability through collaboration.

Keynote speakers, including Katja Witte from the Wuppertal Institute and Jürgen Howaldt from TU Dortmund, stressed the importance of trust and social innovation ecosystems in fostering innovation. Gerd Schönwälder discussed the project's origins and the need for scalable innovations.

The conference featured three discussion phases. Maria Konstantinidou from CERTH highlighted Western Macedonia's transition readiness, while Tommaso Simeoni and Lorenzo Cello from Emilia-Romagna emphasised building strong stakeholder coalitions. Panagiotis Ptochoulis discussed pilot use cases, and Robert Pudełko from Lower Silesia focused on transport and energy assessments. Dmitri Domanski led discussions on developing region-specific action plans for the Ruhr Area.

Afternoon sessions moderated by Wolfgang Backhaus covered TSL moments, success factors, capacity-building programs, and strategy gaps, with contributions from Georgia Ayfantopoulou, Kelly Riedesel, Gerd Schönwälder, and Matthias Kiese, alongside user forum members.

On the second day, participants toured WILO SE in Dortmund and thyssenkrupp Steel in Duisburg. They saw WILO SE's integration of hydrogen energy, solar power, and thermal solutions and thyssenkrupp Steel's efforts to transition to climate-neutral steel production using hydrogen-based Direct Reduction plants by 2026.
Overall, the final conference demonstrated the relevance of the tools and frameworks developed in the TRANSFORMER Project, showcasing how regional efforts can ignite sustainable solutions through collective action. Looking forward, this sets the stage for scaling up and replicating these efforts in other regions aiming for carbon neutrality, paving the way for a more sustainable future.