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Complex Societal Challenges

Vak 2016-2017

Admission requirements

Admission is conditional on submission for the minor Innovation, Co-Creation and Global Impact
A knowledge of Dutch is not necessary. You should have obtained your propedeuse before starting this minor.


The course Complex Societal Challenges teaches you (1) how to analyse a complex societal challenge, and (2) to reflect on the role of scientific approaches in confronting these challenges.
This course helps you to achieve a level of interdisciplinary thinking by explicitly connecting sciences to social challenges such as development, humanitarian action, peace and justice. Three challenge domains are introduced: Justice Innovation, Social Integration, and Data for Humanity.

■ The Justice Innovation track will focus on access to legal support as a prerequisite for peaceful and inclusive societies. The track will focus on how innovative approaches and procedures could improve rule of law and legal systems.

■ The Social Integration track shares perspectives on immigrant participation in society. Looking into their contribution to the labour force, in culture and by increasing diversity thought. Immigrants have the potential to enrich a society. Yet, even in the second and third generation, many communities still languish in relative poverty.

■ The Data for Humanity track explores the potential of data in confronting today’s complex societal challenges. We will assess how the increased availability of new types of data could help to inform our policies and decision making.

Course objectives

After this course you will be able to:

… study the fields LS, IS and IT
… assess the potential of LS, IS and IT for a societal challenge
… reflect on the role of scientific advancement in society
… report on your study, assessment and reflection of scientific for society
… write a literature review on a complex societal challenge
… execute a rough stakeholder analysis
… benchmark relevant projects
… define a challenge and develop a MTP


14 September – 10:00h – 12:00h Introduction I
14 September – 13:00h – 15:00h Introduction II
14 September – 16:00h – 18:00h Introduction III

21 September – 10:00h – 12:00h Applications I
21 September – 13:00h – 15:00h Applications II
21 September – 16:00h – 18:00h Applications III

28 September – 10:00h – 12:00h Reflections I
28 September -13:00h – 15:00h Reflections II
28 September – 16:00h – 18:00h Reflections III

5 October – 10:00h – 12:00h Closing lecture

Mode of instruction


Course Load

This is a rough breakdown of the 140 hour course load

• 18 hours are spent on attending lectures and workshops;
• 21 hours are spent on preparing for the seminars;
• 8 hours to write an individual essay;
• 16 hours to write a group report.

Assessment method

Assessment and grading methods:
• Individual essay assignment 60% of final grade
• Group report 40% of final grade – Rounding off grades to 0,5 decimales is subject to peer review
• Obligatory attendance of the seminars (Pass or Fail)



Reading list

Fekete, L., Bouteldja, N. and Mühe, M. (2010) Alternative Voices on Integration in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. London (available online).
Vroome, T., Verkuyten, M., & Martinovic, B. (2014). Host national identification of immigrants in the Netherlands. International Migration Review, 48(1), 76-102 (via LUB electronic).
Dukes, T. & Musterd, S. (2012). Towards social cohesion: bridging national integration rhetoric and local practice: the case of the Netherlands. Urban Studies, 49(9), 1981-1997 (via LUB electronic).
Ismail, S. & Geest, van, J. (2015). Exponential organisations. Chapter 3 & 4.

The order of the literature varies and is subject to change, please check Blackboard for the latest update.


You have to register for both the minor and the course in Usis. Registration for this course only is not possible.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



Sjoerd Louwaars


This course is part of the minor in Innovation, Co-Creation and Global Impact. You can only take the course as part of this minor.