Specialisation 1 Specialisation 2

Innovation and Global Challenges

Description of content

Science and innovation are called upon to solve some of the most pressing problems of the world today, such as climate change, demographic ageing, poverty and international migration. But if innovation is one of the big buzzwords of our time, why does it still seem to be so many barriers to – both within organisations and in the systems surrounding these? The course gives the student an understanding about how innovation is intrinsically systemic and evolutionary. Why is it so hard to change established practices? Why do current climate change solutions to such a high degree emphasize development of new technologies? Why do the conditions for innovation and economic growth differ so much between different places? Can university-based research really solve health problems in developing countries? 

The course consists of five main modules:

  1. Digitalisation and the sharing economy: This module gives an introduction to general purpose technologies and discusses how we can understand the different forms and phases of digitalization. It also touches upon the mutual interdependencies between and the division of labour between private and public sector.
  2. The green shift from fossil to renewable energies: This module takes the climate challenge as point of departure and gives an introduction to the innovation literature on sociotechnical transitions. It outlines how we can move from large technological systems based on fossil fuels to new ones based on renewable energies. It also involved the role of mission-oriented innovation policies and transformative innovation policies. 
  3. The research system and the impact agenda: The role of public research organisations, like universities, in innovation processes and systems, as well as policies and strategies for how academic knowledge can be disseminated into the economy, public sector and the larger society. This includes an introduction to intellectual property rights and commercialization. The module also relates to the notion of open science and responsible research and innovation.
  4. Management of innovation. This module contains an introduction to some of the classical literature within the innovation management field. This includes open innovation, lean innovation management, dynamic capabilities and absorptive capacity. 
  5. Practice period: This module includes a practical part consisting of group work on a real life case / challenge from a company or public organization.

The specialization course is taught between late January and early May. The exact dates and times of teaching vary annually. The teaching consists of two two-hour lectures and one student-led seminar each week. Workshops and group discussions are often included in the lectures.

Possible thesis topics and examples:

Control and Innovation on Digital Platforms : the case of Netflix and streaming of video content

Innovation and Learning in Construction Companies

International Cooperation and Innovation in the Service Sectors: Evidence from Norway

What Explains Mergers’ Success or Failure? : the Role of Organizational Structures, Strategies and External Environments in Mergers – Empirical evidence from two contrasting cases

The economic performance of business groups in developing countries : the role of absorptive capacity

The Effect of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the Global Health Field : An innovating Foundation in a Fragmented World


List of involved staff:
Professor Magnus Gulbrandsen
Professor Taran Thune

Professor Fulvio Castellacci

Associate professor Markus M. Bugge

Associate professor Allan Dahl Andersen

Contact person:

Petter Brønstad

Email: petter.bronstad@tik.uio.no

Email: info@tik.uio.no

Weblink to the TIK-centre:


Accommodation policy University of Oslo

Housing – International students (uio.no)