Innovation Systems, Social and Ecological Change

General description
The objective of the specialisation on “Innovation Systems, Social and Ecological Change” is to stimulate a rethinking of sustainable development from the perspective of the globalising learning economy. Theses topics can be formulated within three interdependent themes:








Theme 1: Innovation Systems and Sustainable Development

The first theme emphasizes the innovation systems approach and its relevance to processes of social and ecological change. The central concepts of social and institutional learning and co-evolution of technology and institutions is discussed and related to various types of innovation systems.

Theme 2: Ecological Change – Experiences from Greening of Industry, Organic Farming and Energy Production

This theme will discuss actual problems and dilemmas related to social and ecological change in selected cases within implementation of cleaner technology in industry, organic farming and food production and energy production.

Theme 3: Green Innovation Policy, Public Participation, and Environmental Impact Assessment

This theme focuses on the shifting “discourse” of environmental policy over the past ten to fifteen years – from a sectoral orientation to an ever more integrated and all encompassing strategy of ecological modernisation. Various green innovation policy instruments are discussed from a policy learning perspective.

Examples of thesis
· “Proposal for a Structural and Institutional Design for the Development of Organic Farming Technology in Mexico” by Laura Gómez Tovar.
· “Challenges for Food Security in Sahel: Organic Agriculture as a Proposal” by Marie Thérèse Yaba N’Diaye
· “Conscious Participation: Towards Sustainable Energy Co-operation?” by Gwen Bingle.
· “Ecological Experimental Areas – A theoretical and practical assessment” by Hilde Madsø Jacobsen.
· “Social Shaping of Organic Labelling – Comparative Case Studies of Denmark and Switzerland” by Saki Ichihara.
· “Proximity and Green Product Innovation” by Pia Heike Johansen
· “The learning Culture” by Jørgen Thorkildsen Helland
· “The problematization of urban sprawl in the United States” by John Chang
· “Natural Gas Ferries in Norway” by Benjamin Myklebust
· “Passive houses in Norway” by Andreas Halse

Schedule of introductory course
The first period (February to April) serves as introductions to the specialisation area in order to stimulate the formulation of appropriate project topics for the master thesis. The introduction module provides students with:

· Insight in core literature within the specialisation
· Insight in current debates and issues (academic as well as political)
· Insight into various research methodologies related to the specialisation
· A background to formulate a thesis outline

The teaching method is a mixture of lectures and student seminar presentations. A number of thesis seminars give students an opportunity to present the progressing thesis work and to get respond from the student group, supervisors, and other “ESST-related” people. It is also possible to participate in lectures and seminars in other international (and Danish) study programmes as well as research seminars organised by the related research groups.

Language of instruction: English

Minimum and maximum number of students: 3-8

Related research groups/staff

The specialisation (including thesis supervision) is conducted in collaboration between three research groups:

The IKE Group

Department of Business Studies. The IKE Group does research on economic, technical and institutional change. The main research themes include economic evolutionary modelling, theory of the firm, national systems of innovation, international trade and competitiveness and the interplay between economic and ecological issues.

Department om Development and Planning, various research groups

Research is focused on improving the understanding of changes in technology, production and energy, as well as the social conditions and obstacles for sustainable environment and energy development. The goal of the research is to create clarity on public as well as organisations technological and environmental change nationally and internationality and the social consequences of this.

The research group on Economics, Business and Politics

Department of Economics, Politics and Public Administration, The research group focuses on social use of, and interaction with, nature and especially on the related transformational processes.

Contact person
Birgitte Gregersen (ESST coordinator)
Aalborg University
Department of Business Studies
Fibigerstraede 4
DK-9220 Aalborg O
Phone: +45 9940 8260
Fax: +45 9815 3505

Web sites
Local ESST webpage
Aalborg University
Aalborg University International Office for information about accommodation