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Sustainable Innovation and Social Change


Admission requirements

This course is obligatory for students of the MSc Industrial Ecology (joint degree Leiden University and TU Delft).


The course consists of two parts: (1) A theoretical part consisting of lectures, readings and discussions; (2) A group assignment focusing on a self-chosen sustainable or social innovation.

The course Sustainable Innovation and Social Change deals with sustainable innovation and related social change from an Industrial Ecology perspective. It takes as starting points: (1) that technology and innovation on the one hand and society and users on the other hand mutually influence one another and evolve in a co-evolutionary way; (2) that sustainable innovations, as well as system innovations and transitions towards sustainability are strongly needed to bring about sustainable development as well as industrial eco-parks and industrial symbiosis, and; (3) that stakeholder involvement and participatory intervention instruments are needed and required to enable and realise implementation and broader upscaling in a socially responsible way.

The first part of the course evolves in particular around the concepts for sustainable innovations like Functions of Innovation Systems, Strategic Niche Management, Sustainability Transitions / Multi-Level Perspective, grassroots innovation, social innovation and business models. The second part of the course focuses on participatory intervention and implementation instruments like backcasting, stakeholder dialogues and transition management, as well as on sustainable consumption transitions. These frameworks and instruments can be applied to socio-technical systems, such as regional eco-industrial parks, niches like organic agriculture and car sharing or renewable energy innovations in both industrialised and developing countries.


Because this course is part of a joint degree between Leiden University and TU Delft, students (also guest and exchange) have to be enrolled in both universities.

All students have to enrol for the course via Brightspace, TU Delft (before the start of the course) and for the exam via uSis, Leiden University. (see:

Students who are not enrolled for the MSc Industrial Ecology, have to ask for permission from the studyadvisor of Industrial Ecology to join this course, at least one month before the start of the course.

Exchange students can only enroll for this course if their home university has an Exchange agreement with both Leiden University and TU Delft. Exchange students have to ask permission from the studyadvisor of Industrial Ecology as soon as possible, preferably six months before the start of the course.


More information and the description of the course is published in the e-studyguide of TU Delft.