Universität Wien FIND

290120 SE Seminar in Human Geography (2021W)

Innovation Support in Development Policy: A Response to Global Challenges?

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course is planned as a “blended learning” format with on-site and online classes. Online classes will notably include guest lectures held by international guest lecturers. If needed in light of the COVID19 situation, the course may completely switch to an online format.

The online slot on 21.01.2022 is reserved for the exam.

UPADTE: Due to COVID regulations, the session on 07.01.2022 will be held digitally.

Friday 08.10. 10:00 - 12:45 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Friday 15.10. 10:00 - 12:45 Digital
Friday 22.10. 10:00 - 12:45 Digital
Friday 29.10. 10:00 - 12:45 Digital
Friday 05.11. 10:00 - 12:45 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Friday 12.11. 10:00 - 12:45 Digital
Friday 19.11. 10:00 - 12:45 Digital
Friday 03.12. 10:00 - 12:45 Digital
Friday 07.01. 10:00 - 12:45 Seminarraum 2A310 3.OG UZA II
Friday 21.01. 10:00 - 11:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Across the world, innovation policy has gained in importance during the past two decades, including in development countries. Development policymakers are aiming to facilitate economic growth and employment creation by supporting innovation. Recent trends such as mission orientation, experimentalist policymaking, or transformative innovation policy have led to a broader understanding of innovation policy as a generator of possible answers to global challenges such as climate change, absolute poverty, or hunger.
The course will give participants an overview on approaches of innovation policy (e.g. cluster policy, science and technology parks, smart specialization) and on how they are applied in the context of development policy. Participants will familiarize themselves with basic structures and methods of development policy and will explore critical perspectives on the inclusivity and effectiveness of innovation support tools in individual tasks or group tasks. Further, professional perspectives in development cooperation will be addressed. Online guest lectures held by development practitioners will give participants insights into the day-to-day work in innovation support in the context of international development.
Planned guest lecturers (tentative): Dr. Alexander Böhmer (OECD), Dr. Mafini Dosso (European Commission), Dr. Marco Kamiya (UNIDO)

Assessment and permitted materials

Students will be required to take an online “open book” exam (60%). Presentations of the preparatory literature will be graded (20%), as will be students' participation in discussions and methodological exercises (20%). The exam will take one hour and students will be expected to concisely answer a given question. Literature can be used but needs to be referenced. During the course, the lecturer will explain the format and the requirements of the exam and introduce students into elementary principles of the scientific method. To pass the course, students will be required to submit at least one contribution to each of the three assessment components.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements for participation include an interest in questions on innovation policy and economic geography. A significant part of literature used is available in English language only. The course will be held in German. The exam can be written in German or English. Some guest lectures may be held in English.
Participants are required to be present during at least two thirds of the classes.

Examination topics

Students' performance in the exam, presentations, and discussions in class will be assessed in terms of critical reflection and application of lessons learned according to scientific standards. These lessons learned include notably theory on economic geography and other social sciences, empirical methods, academic writing and critical analysis of innovation and development policy-related questions. The lecturer will be available to answer students’ methodological questions.

Reading list

The following literature list provides sources (relevant for the exam) to familiarize students with the primary conceptual foundations of the course. Detailed reading assignments will be distributed among students after registration.

Binz, C., Truffer, B. (2017). Global innovation systems — a conceptual framework for innovation dynamics in transnational contexts. Research Policy, 46, 1284-1298.

Breznitz, D., Ornston, D. (2013). The revolutionary power of peripheral agencies: explaining radical policy innovation in Finland and Israel. Comparative Political Studies, 46, 1219-1245.

Coad, P., Nightingale, Stilgoe, J., Vezzani, A. (2021). Editorial: the dark side of innovation. Industry and Innovation, 28:1, 102-112.

Diercks, G., Larsen, H., Steward, F. (2019). Transformative innovation policy: addressing variety in an emerging policy paradigm. Research Policy, 48, 880-894.

Dosso, M., Kleibrink, A., Matusiak, M. (2020). Smart specialisation strategies in sub-Saharan Africa: opportunities, challenges and initial mapping for Côte d’Ivoire. African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, DOI: 10.1080/20421338.2020.1816265.

Godin, B. (2006). The knowledge-based economy: conceptual framework or buzzword? Journal of Technology Transfer, 31, 17-30.

Haddad, C., Benner, M. (2021). Situating innovation policy in Mediterranean Arab countries: a research agenda for context sensitivity. Research Policy, 50, 104273.

Klingholz, R., Sütterlin, S., Kaps, A. (2020). Schnell, bezahlbar, nachhaltig: Wie in Afrika große Entwicklungssprünge möglich werden. Berlin: Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung.

Kuhlmann, S., Ordóñez-Matamoros, G. (2017). Introduction: governance of innovation in emerging countries: understanding failures and exploring options. In: Kuhlmann, S., Ordóñez-Matamoros, G. (Eds.), Research handbook on innovation governance for emerging economies: towards better models. Cheltenham, Northampton: Elgar, 1-34.

Le Blanc, D. (2015). Towards integration at last? The sustainable development goals as a network of targets. Sustainable Development, 23, 176–187.

Lehmann, T., Benner, M. (2015). Cluster policy in the light of institutional context – a comparative study of transition countries. Administrative Sciences, 5, 188-212.

Martin, B.R. (2016). Twenty challenges for innovation studies. Science and Public Policy, 43, 432-450.

Mazzucato, M. (2011). The entrepreneurial state. Soundings, 49, 131-142.

M‘Henni, H., Ben Youssef, A., Elaheebocus, N., Ragni, L. 2013. Are technoparks high tech fantasies? Lessons from the Tunisian experience. MPRA Paper No. 46183.

Murphy, E.C. (2006). The Tunisian mise à niveau programme and the political economy of reform. New Political Economy, 11, 519-540.

Pansera, M., Martinez, F. (2017). Innovation for development and poverty reduction: an integrative literature review. Journal of Management Development, 36, 2-13.

Pfotenhauer, S., Juhl, J., Aarden, E. (2019). Challenging the “deficit model” of innovation: framing policy issues under the innovation imperative. Research Policy, 48, 895-904.

Robinson, D.K.R., Mazzucato, M. (2019). The evolution of mission-oriented policies: exploring changing market creating policies in the US and European space sector. Research Policy, 48, 936-948.

Schot, J., Steinmueller, W.E. (2018). Three frames for innovation policy: R&D, systems of innovation and transformative change. Research Policy, 47, 1554-1567.

Stockmann, R., Menzel, U., Nuscheler, F. (2016). Entwicklungspolitik, 2nd edition. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

Tödtling, F., Trippl, M. (2005). One size fits all? Towards a differentiated innovation policy approach. Research Policy, 34, 1203-1219.

Trippl, M. (2020). Neue Entwicklungen in der geographischen Innovationsforschung. GW-Unterricht, 159, 5-15.

Association in the course directory

(MG-S3-SE) (MG-S4-SE) (MG-S5-SE) (MG-S6-SE) (MG-W4-PI) (MG-W5-PI) (MA UF GW 02-1) (MG21 APF SOCOECSPEC)

Last modified: Fr 01.04.2022 09:09