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Social science perspective on energy innovation

The course is scheduled in the spring and delivered through a combination of pre-recorded video lectures, live interactive webinars, reading assignments, take-home assignments, quizzes and written work. This course explores energy innovation and related processes of technological change in energy systems, from a variety of social science perspectives.

Course description

This course explores energy innovation and related processes of technological change in energy systems, from a variety of social science perspectives.  The perspectives considered are mainly economic but also political, geographic, philosophical and sociological.  The course is targeted at post-graduate students with an engineering, natural sciences or other technical background and/or individuals in management roles where social science insights are useful in management and decision making.  Current theories and debates around human behavior as it relates to innovation are covered, with practical examples and applications focusing on real-world energy and environment problems.

Learning objectives

The course learning objectives, which the instructors aim to fulfill collaboratively with students, are as follows:

  • To instill in students with a natural sciences or technical background, a social-science based perspective on energy innovation issues
  • To identify patterns in the way humans interact with energy and related technologies, policies and systems
  • To position ‘micro’ innovation events within broader ‘macro’ trends in industry
  • To prepare students for the social and behavioral dimension of challenges that come with moving from technical to decision-making and managerial roles
  • To build skill at learning, communication and working in groups across space and time.

The course is done by David Grover and Swaroop Rao, associate professor and PhD student at GEM.  

The course is part of the ENTECH master program labelised by EIT InnoEnergy. The EIT Label is a quality seal awarded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to a KIC educational programme that has been assessed positively by the EIT on the implementation of the EIT Quality Assurance and Learning Enhancement (EIT QALE) system and the application of specific quality criteria with focus on the EIT Overarching Learning Outcomes (EIT OLOs), robust entrepreneurship education, highly integrated, innovative ‘learning‐by‐doing’ curricula, international mobility and outreach.