Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development (LDE)

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 a 12 week fi­eld assignment / internship.

What is frugal innovation?

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 organizations, multinational enterprises, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), maker movements, and innovators at grassroots level. 

About the minor
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 (development, technology and entrepreneurship), which will make you familiar with the current academic and policy debates on frugal innovation. These lenses will be explored in various courses, which combine literature study with class tutorials and discussions, guest lectures by practitioners, laboratory work, and excursions. You will not only discover the theory of frugal innovation, you will also apply your knowledge in practice during a 12 weeks fi­eld assignment that will be offered by the minor. During this 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 BSc study background with the knowledge and skills you acquired in the theoretical part of the minor.

Target group
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 an ­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 and a fi­eld assignment. This minor is a full-time, 30 EC minor, which runs from September 2020 until the last week of January in 2021. 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.

The field assignments / internships
The ­field assignments take place abroad between November 2020 and January 2021, and are mostly located in countries in the Global South. There is also the possibility to conduct a ­field assignment in the Netherlands. If you wish to do so you can indicate this when you register for this minor. The ­field assignment is done in a multidisciplinary group of three students. You can indicate your preference for f­ield assignments but the minor coordination will decide upon the ­final allocation and group compositions, in consultation also with the fi­eld assignment providers. You are expected to cover the costs for the fi­eld assignment yourself. These include, among others, return ticket, visa and vaccinations, accommodation and living costs, and travel costs during the assignment. Past experiences show that the total amount needed for the fi­eld assignment amounts to 2,500-3,000 euro. We will inform you as much as possible on subsidies and grants for which you can apply to cover (part of) these costs.

Corona provisio (please read this carefully):
The Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Developments includes a three months field assignment abroad in selected countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Coming academic year these field assignments will take place from 6 November 2020 until 25 January 2021. Given the current Corona pandemic we have to make a reservation on whether these field assignments can take place. Currently, travel restrictions, quarantines and lock-downs are increasingly issued and imposed across the globe. Also the LDE universities currently forbid students and staff to travel abroad. We cannot predict what the (global) situation regarding Corona will be when the Minor starts in September. With this provision we inform you that the programme of this minor, in particular the field assignment abroad, may be subject to change.

This minor is a selection minor, 33 students will be admitted, ideally 11 students from each university. We are looking for a high diversity of interests and disciplinary backgrounds, The selection takes place by means of an application form you have to ­fill in and a CV. For more information on the minor and the application procedure check out the CFIA website or the study guides.