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Frugal Innovation in Practice


Admission requirements

The course is only open to students that are enrolled in the LDE Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development.


The Frugal Innovation in Practice comprises of a field assignment that relates to the domains within the International Centre for Frugal Innovation (ICFI) which, among others, include water, energy, health, agro-food, urban living environments, and digitalization. Students will work on assignments that can be research or more practically oriented. Divided into multidisciplinary teams of three or four, ideally with one student from each participating university (Leiden, Delft, Erasmus), students bring together and integrate their knowledge base with that of the others.

The field assignment can be conducted abroad or in the Netherlands The options to travel will be determined though by Leiden University as specified on their Health and Safety website. If going abroad, students have to finance their own travel, accommodation and living costs, unless (part of) the costs is covered by the assignment providers. The costs involved during the stay abroad are to a large extent country and context specific but between 2,500 and 3,500 Euros is a realistic estimate.

The field assignment is conducted between November 2023 and the second-last week of January 2024. This includes a preparatory stage, the actual implementation, and the finalisation. It concludes in the last week of January 2024 during which students present the results of their field assignment, reflect on and evaluate their experiences in the field, and link these to the narratives on Frugal Innovation explored in Block I.
As with the rest of the course, the field assignment requires a fulltime commitment.

Course objectives

Objective: To experience Frugal Innovation realities and integrate own knowledge base with that of the others.

Outcomes: After this module students are able to:
1. Apply and extend the knowledge and skills acquired during the theoretical part of the minor in a specific context and practical assignment;
2. Define and shape the contribution of own field in solving a specific problem of frugal innovation;
3. Collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds;
4. Foster an open mind and attitude that is sensitive to different cultural contexts;
5. Communicate and present on frugal innovation to academic and non-academic audiences.


A detailed timetable will be provided in Brightspace (Leiden University).

Mode of instruction

Coaching and mentoring

Assessment method

Quality of output and outcomes of the Field Assignment (50%) and group and individual performance capabilities (50%)
Further details to be provided in Brightspace (Leiden University)
Resit: Where practical same subtest as the first, within given timeframe.


Leiden University Brightspace LMS will be used for:

  • Announcements

  • Course information

  • Documents

  • Discussions

  • Grades

  • Calendar

  • Reading list

Reading list

All links and references to prescribed and recommended scientific and professional papers will be made available in and through Brightspace (Leiden University). We strive to mostly use library and open-source online publications.


You register for this course through MyStudymap, Leiden University (LEI students only).

Registration à la carte and contract education
The course is only open to students that are enrolled in the LDE Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development.


Course Coordinator: Dr. André Leliveld

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Not applicable.