Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development (LDE)
Minor code: WM-Mi-191
This minor provides for a multidisciplinary learning environment, bringing together students from Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam. In the minor you will critically explore how and under which conditions frugal innovation can contribute to sustainable global transformation processes that serve both people and planet. We provide a unique opportunity to combine theory, practice and societal engagement during challenge-based field assignment abroad or in the Netherlands.
Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Maximum participants: 40
The selection takes place by means of an online application form you have to fill in and a CV.
All third year Bachelor's students at Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam who are interested to become engaged in a new and emerging field of studies, and are up for an multidisciplinary challenge and a field assignment in the Netherlands or abroad. This minor is especially targeted to those who see the mutual benefit of integrating social, entrepreneurial and technological knowledge and skills, and are eager to apply their academic knowledge to practical work. This minor is a full-time, 30 EC minor, which runs from September 2022 until the last week of January in 2023. Please, take into account that it is not possible to combine participation in this minor with other studies or retake exams. The minor forms a continuous program with its own exam rhythm and subsequent field assignment, which you cannot break into.
What will you learn?
Frugal innovation is about innovation processes that take account of and aim to overcome resource constraints in communities and societies. Think of societies or communities where poverty prevails and/or settings of over exploitation of (natural) resources, which lead to environmental degradation and climate change. Frugal innovations aim to combine less use of (scarce) resources while maintaining and/or improving affordability, basic functionalities and an optimized performance.
Both academics and policy makers increasingly see frugal innovation as a promising way to overcome constraints in, for example, (access to) health, energy water, and food, by and for people worldwide. It could possibly contribute to global societal challenges and themes, for example sustainability, reduction of poverty and inclusion. Frugal innovations can be found across the globe, ranging from informal urban and rural settlements and communities to industrial complexes. Multiple actors are involved, including national governments and international organisations, multinational enterprises, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), maker movements, and innovators at grassroots level.
In the minor you will critically explore the widely acclaimed potential of frugal innovation to contribute to processes of local and global sustainable transformation that could benefit people and planet. You will study frugal innovation through various lenses, such as development, technology and entrepreneurship, which will familiarise you with the current academic and policy debates on frugal innovation.
These aspect will be explored in various courses, which combine literature study with class tutorials and discussions, guest lectures by practitioners, laboratory work, and excursions.
- Technology and Frugal Innovation (3 ECTS)
For course descriptions, please visit the study guide.
You will also apply your knowledge in practice during a challenge-based field assignment. During the field assignment you will be engaged in real life research on and/or design and development of a frugal innovation. The field assignment allows you to combine your own study background with the knowledge and skills you acquired in the theoretical part of the minor. Examples of previous field assignments can found in the International Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa website.
These field assignments relate to the domains within the International Centre for Frugal Innovation which, among others, include water, energy, health, agro-food, and urban living environments. 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.
All groups will focus and work towards an intervention activity which will be decided between the student groups, the organisations within the challenge and the minor team.
The field assignments take place between November 2022 and January 2023. The field assignment is done in a multidisciplinary group of three or four students. From a diverse list of challenges , you can indicate your interest before the minor commences, but in consultation with the field assignment providers, the minor coordination team will decide upon the final allocation and group compositions.
The field assignment can be conducted abroad, in the Netherlands or a combination of these. The options to travel will be determined though by Leiden University as specified on their Health and Safety website.
When going abroad, you have to cover the costs for the field assignment yourself. These include among others, travel costs including a return flight ticket, visa and vaccinations, accommodation and living expenses. Based on past experiences the minimum cost of a field assignment abroad amounts to 2,500-3,000 euro. We will guide and inform you as much as possible on subsidies and grants available to cover at least part of these expenses.
Register for this minor
This minor is a selection minor in which only 40 students will be admitted, ideally equally distributed amongst the three universities. We are looking for a high diversity of interests and disciplinary backgrounds. The selection takes place by means of an online application form you have to fill in and a CV.
Further information regarding the structure and application process for this minor can be found in Leiden e-prospectus
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