TIK4021 - Innovation and global challenges

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Science and innovation are called upon to solve some of the most pressing problems of world today, such as economic development, climate change and global health. But why does economic growth differ so much in the first place? Can university-based research really solve health problems in developing countries? Why do current climate change solutions to such a high degree emphasise development of new technologies? If innovation is one of the big buzzwords of our time, why does it still seem to be so many barriers to it in organizations?

The course will focus on four main topics:

1. Differences in growth and dynamics between sectors, countries and regions. The students will discuss to what extent specific sectors are more important for growth than others, including the ‘resource curse’ hypothesis. This is a relevant approach for analysis of growth both for developing ad developed economies.

2. System transition. This topic is closely linked to energy technologies and the climate challenge, demanding a transition from large technological systems based on fossil fuel to renewable energy. It can also be used for understanding other types of transitions.

3. 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 commercialisation.

4. Management of innovation. This topic contains both a practical part (group work and company visit) as well as an introduction to some of the classical literature within the innovation management field.

Learning outcome


The students will acquire knowledge on:

  • Differences in growth and dynamics between sectors, countries and regions.
  • Dynamics of system transitions.
  • The role of public knowledge institutions and infrastructures, like universities, in innovation processes and systems.
  • Innovation management.

After completing the course the students should have acquired sophisticated analytical skills from reading and analysing a cross-disciplinary set of literature based on different types of data and methodologies. This will make them able to discuss how the above theories and frameworks can be applied in analysis of contemporary policy and economic issues such as:

  • dynamics of modern knowledge-based economies
  • transitions between different technological regimes
  • commercialisation of science-based knowledge
  • promotion of innovation in organisations

The students should be able to analyse, understand and explain some of the most important issues in today’s societies. Examples are the role of sectors and regions in economic development, the dynamics of system transitions, the relationship between “new” and “old” technologies, and tapping the potential of the public science base


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The course is applicable for master programme students from humanities/social sciences. Students passed the course TIK4001 - Teknologi, innovasjon og kunnskap have a priority, other students are admitted if there is capacity.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

A Bachelor Degree in Social Sciences, Humanities or equal.

Recommended previous knowledge


The lectures will take place in a period of six weeks, from 1st Monday of February to medio March. There will be about 4 lectures every week.


One week home-exam.

Obligatory course work spring 2017:

  • Participate in group work

Students must participate in the group work and the group presentation. If students are absent from the presentation, they must hand in a short summary of their contribution in the group work.

The obligatory course work is a prerequisite for sitting the exam.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The exam assignment will be given in English. ESST students must write their exam in English, while TIK students may choose between English and Norwegian.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Students in this course automatically receive an explanation alongside their grade.

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

If you wish to withdraw from the exam you must do so in Studentweb at least two weeks prior to the deadline. Failure to do so will be counted as one of the three opportunities to sit the exam.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Evaluations (only in Norwegian)

Spring 2014

Spring 2015


Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language


If there are no English-speaking students, lectures may be given in Norwegian.