Innovation and Sustainability Transition

Corona Situation Update: Course will be held online according to plan. Information to be updated when we know more from HVL.


Course Responsible: Professor Lars Coenen, HVL


Professor Kristin Linnerud, HVL

Professor Erling Holden, HVL

Guest lecturers:

Dr. Teis Hansen,Lund University

Professor Bernhard Truffer, Utrecht University

Course application

Participation update:  This course is fully booked with more than 30 participants. 

Application motivation letter: Applicants for the course PHDINN908 Innovation and Sustainable Transition must include a motivation letter at maximum one page.
Application page: More information about the application at the HVL course page.


Updated content: HVL course web page

A fundamental transition of our global society is required to cope with the sustainability challenges – such as climate change, the provision of clean and reliable energy or the continued access to critical resources like water or rare earth materials – that are increasingly global in dimension. Such transition presupposes the introduction of green innovations that can ensure transition to a more sustainable and environmentally sound society. However, the development and implementation of green innovations require new interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches that do not only target single technology options but also account for the necessary political and societal prerequisites. This course discusses these topics in light of theory on sustainable transitions.

Learning outcome

Course participants will acquire in-depth knowledge on the concept of sustainable development, and on the topic of innovation and sustainability transitions. Students will become familiar with the foundations of transitions research, its main conceptual and analytical frameworks as well as with current debates and knowledge gaps in the field of sustainability transitions. The course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to become familiar with different aspects of transitions research and to discuss this in relation to their own research projects. During the course students participate in plenary sessions with lectures from internationally leading scholars in this field, smaller group sessions where they present and receive feedback on their own work, and contribute to the discussion of their peer students work. The plenary sessions will include questions and dialogue and there will be good opportunities for informal discussions among participants and faculty.

Themes covered in the course include:

 Foundations and history of sustainability transitions research

 Main conceptual frameworks: technological innovation systems (TIS) and the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions (MLP)

 Governance of sustainability transitions, grand challenge-driven innovation policy, responsible research and innovation

 Geographies of sustainability transitions: urban, regional and global contexts

 Sustainability transitions, innovation and industry dynamics: the role of new entrants and incumbents

 Sustainability transitions and institutional change

 Sustainability transitions in the Nordic Countries: empirical findings and ongoing research projects

Upon completion of the course, the candidate:

 will have advanced knowledge on sociotechnical challenges and transition strategies to foster a sustainability transition in different sectors;
 will be familiar with the spatiality of soctiotechnical transitions and how geography influences such processes;
 will be able to critically follow discussions and the further development and adaptation of key future technologies; and
 can contribute to the development of new interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral knowledge, theories, methods and their interpretations.
 will be able to synthesize material from a broad range of relevant areas in addressing specific questions about the challenges of a global sustainability transition;
 can independently design research projects targeting a multifaceted evaluation of a prospective technology;
 will be able to apply conceptual and theoretical arguments in discussion of the transition of industrial and societal systems and the geographical dimensions of such changes.

Travel and Accommodation

Course logistics and travel: More specific information will posted here as we are getting closer to the course dates.

Norsi students travel and accommodation: Participants should arrange travel (economy) and transport by themselves, however all travel expenses will be refunded for NORSI students. PhD students register for the course that are not part of NORSI will have to cover their own expenses.

NORSI Travel Refund

As this course is considered a NORSI course all travel expenses etc. will be covered for NORSI students. Same procedure as for other NORSI courses. More details here. NORSI students’ refund is dependent upon completion of course work and their status as a NORSI student.

Please not that NORSI does not issues per diem (diett penger) but will refund your food expenses, so save your receipts. In order to receive your travel refund mail/scan in all your original tickets and original receipts (plane, taxi, bus etc.) to Birte.
If your “home” institution has temporarily covered your travel costs, your institution may send BI/Birte and invoice (faktura) asking NORSI to cover your outstanding travel costs with copies of your receipts. (Norwegian: Hvis ditt lokal studiested legger ut for deg så kan det lokale studiestedet fakturerer BI totalt for alle sine NORSI studenter med en totalsum for reisekostnadene. Legg ved kopi av vedlegg). Please ask your institution to specify who (your name) the invoice/travel refund is for and write NORSI on the invoice. If you have any questions about this, please email Birte Horn-Hanssen.

Date & Location

Week 24: 8- 12 June 2020: Corona Situation Update: Course will most likely be held online according to plan.
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Course information

HVL course page