This project (2020-1-SE01-KA203-077872) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Innovation and Sustainable development 15 hp,

Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Environment and Technology, Department for Environment and Tourism
Syllabus, Lecture, Seminar, Debate, Course material, Readings, Exercise
Thematic Area
Factual description
A search was made for courses dealing with complex issues at the School of Natural Sciences, Environment and Technology. Within the program Development and International relations three courses we found, the curricula and course materials were analysed and a focus group interview was conducted with the responsible teachers.
This course examines the multidisciplinary problem area of innovations for inclusive and sustainable development and the evolution of science, technology and innovation in low- and middle-income countries. The course covers indicators and measurement methods for innovation, adapted to the context of low and middle income countries, as well as tools for analysing the indicators’ quality, validity and relevance. Statistical data and their usability for innovation policy and practice are discussed using the global goals for sustainable development as a basis. International cooperation and partnerships focusing on knowledge and technology development are discussed in the context of the ambitions of global goal 17. There is particular examination of the role of innovation in developing agriculture, water and sanitation, as well as energy provision, but also on the basis of changes to working conditions and the environmental consequences of technological and organisational choices. Using these theories, students are provided with tools to analyse how socioeconomic and cultural conditions, human rights, equality and the environment influence and are influenced by innovation policy and practice. These theories need to be supplemented by other perspectives in order to understand how actors can cooperate to solve challenges relating to sustainable development and combatting poverty. Political economics gives us tools for analysing power relationships and perspectives on justice that are significant for developing technology and social innovations. Political ecology gives us perspectives that can help us to integrate environmental perspectives into innovation processes. The course also includes theories relating to knowledge development and learning and how these can contribute to understanding the opportunities presented by innovation in tackling global challenges.
Relevance in complex systems
Strong points
The point of departure in the course are theories on innovation and innovation systems. As these have been mostly used for analysing factors behind nations and regions competitiveness in economic systems, there is a need to adapt to the values emerging when bringing in a sustainability perspective. The course provides a walk-trough of systems component and possible relations, contextualized by the students in an analysis of a specific innovation and its potential to induce sustainability..
The course contains an exercise on the sustainable development goals SDGs that provides a systemic view on how the SDGs are integrated with each other in relation to a specific situation o, context or project.
Transferability potential
The model of combining theory and practice in a sequenced way is possible to transfer to other courses..