Article banner region

Innovation Systems in the Bioeconomy

  • Photo: 
    Shutterstock, Copyright: wowomnom

NOVA PhD course of 5 ECTS, organised by Professor Anne Toppinen, University of Helsinki: Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.
Course dates and location: 28 Aug. - 1 Sept. 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.

Course Description
The aim of this course is to provide a systematic overview of innovation, innovation systems, and their role in industrial transformation to the bioeconomy. Innovation is the necessary ingredient for successful transition of existing companies to the future bioeconomy. Educating developing researchers in the fundamentals and practice of innovation and innovativeness will enhance their ability to contribute to industry transformation through informed and applicable research.

Based on the above outlined desired outcome, the course is designed to bring about collaboration of a broad set of interdisciplinary bioeconomy researchers. We anticipate participation of PhD students from multiple disciplines and industry sectors as well as two continents and at least four countries.

The course aims to clarify the foundational concept and applications of innovations literature drawing concrete examples from the industry.

The examples of topics covered in the course:

  • Organizational culture of innovation
  • Business models
  • Ambidexterity
  • Service Dominant Logic and innovativeness
  • Change management
  • New product development and innovation diffusion
  • Harnessing lead users

Programme Outline
The course consists of pre-readings, one week intensive contact teaching, and a course essay due one or two months after the course. An excursion takes place during one of the afternoons.

Pre-/Post-Campus Assignments

  • Assigned pre-readings and pre-tasks
  • A course essay

Learning Outcomes
The outcome of the course is to provide student comprehensive understanding on the meaning of innovation. After the course students are able to articulate how their research contribute to industry transformation required for sustainable future. The course will help student to identify research priorities for innovation in bioeconomy.

Evaluation Elements
The evaluation (pass/fail) will be based on course participation and the essay.

Pedagogical Approach
The course is taught by experts specialized in different aspects of innovation in bio-based sectors within Nordic countries and the United States.

The course includes a blend of lectures, group discussions, excursion, social events and self-study.

Each student is responsible for a 20 minute mini-lecture outlining an innovation issue from their field of study. The lecture can be practical (case example) or theoretical, depending on the interests of the student. Each student should work with the instructors to develop an acceptable topic well before the actual course dates.

The course will include 15-20 journal articles as foundational readings. Each student will be asked to lead a discussion based on one of these articles.

After the course, students will write a max 10 page essay where they apply the course knowledge and literature on their field of study. Essays are required to meet certain criterion that will be explained during the course. Essays are compulosry for passing the course.

Estimated Workload

• 10 hours of student seminar
• 25 hours lecture
• 5 hours other (half-day Company visit)
• 60 hours pre-reading and preparing presentation
• 50 hours final essay writing

Prerequisite Knowledge
The course is directed (but not limited) to PhD students with background and research interests in social and economic sciences of environment, forestry, agriculture and related fields.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Application period: 1 Feb. – 24 Apr. 2017

Registration confirmation: by 1 May 2017. Altogether max. 20 students will be admitted for the course based on the applicability of research topic to the course and NOVA-membership.

Apply here

Practical information
There is no course fee for NOVA students and lunches are provided by the program. Non-NOVA and non-BOVA students will be charged a course fee of EUR 200.

NOVA does no longer support accommodation for any students attending NOVA PhD courses. Accommodation for all students and meals for non-NOVA students are handled separately by the course organisation.

Tentative prices for a night at the Hostel Academia: EUR 61 a single room, EUR 75 shared room for two persons. Dorms are available as well. For more information:  Students are also allowed to seek another accommodation options.

One week Helsinki city pass costs ca. EUR 36. See HSL for more information:

Published 9. December 2016 - 15:40 - Updated 27. January 2017 - 10:42