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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Innovation Systems and Risk Management (PGSP11558)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryUsing an interdisciplinary and historical perspective, this course provides students with an introduction to the theory of innovation systems (national, regional, sectoral and technological) using a range of case examples in national and international contexts, covering both high and low resource settings. The course also provides students with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to critique and apply methods of foresight and scenario analysis. The course requires no prior knowledge of the area, and provides students with a foundational understanding of the theories and practices underpinning technological change and innovation. The focus will be on the relationship among a variety of possible configurations of actors, institutions and linkages for innovation in different industrial sectors, the processes of structural change, and evaluation of innovative performance. Innovations and new technologies generate new risks or reshape existing risks as they are applied in society. The course introduces students to the elements of risk and frameworks developed to conceptualize, identify and manage especially emerging innovations or technologies. The course links up innovation efforts, potential risks that may emerge and some of the contemporary challenges of managing these new risks.

Course description Academic Description

This course is designed to introduce students to concepts and methods at the centre of contemporary studies of technological change and innovation including technological systems, industrial clusters and sectoral, regional, technological and national innovation systems. Having emerged in parallel with efforts in economics to include technological change and knowledge dynamics into endogenous growth models, the development of systemic approaches to innovation is important as a critique of orthodox approaches. The focus will be on the relationship amongst actors, institutions and linkages for innovation in different industrial sectors, and in different regions and nations.

Innovation can lead to emerging new risks emerging and/or mitigating existing and, as a result, risk regulation is a fundamental component of virtually all scientific and technological fields, whilst also being intrinsic to a variety of social and economic processes. There are many different approaches to risk regulation, which largely reflect the different levels of risk, uncertainty and potential benefits of specific types of science, technology or socio-economic activity within or across a diverse range of sectors or 'risk fields'. The application of any new science, technology, innovations or process must have a carefully considered process of risk governance to mitigate risk of harm, and ideally in a way that does not hinder innovation. Key issues will include state-of-the-art risk management processes; risk framing in specific risk fields; distribution of risks and benefits; planning for uncertainty and surprise in managing risk and technology solutions - for example, dealing with epidemics as a case study.

Outline Content
Week 1: Innovation Systems Theory Overview. National and Regional Systems of Innovation and Innovation Ecosystems

Week 2: Sectoral Systems of Innovation and Technological Systems of Innovation

Week 3: Innovation Systems for Energy and the Environment

Week 4: Innovation systems in Low Resource Settings

Week 5: Introduction to Foresight and Scenario Analysis

Week 6: Introduction to Concepts of Risk and Risk Assessment for Emerging Technologies

Week 7: The Evolution of Risk Management and Culture for Innovation

Week 8: Sectoral Risk and New Technologies

Week 9: Managing Risk and Technology Solutions

Week 10: The challenges of managing emerging innovative technologies and emerging risks

Student Learning Experience

This course introduces students to a critical understanding of innovation systems in the context of competing theoretical approaches, including the recent focus on innovation ecosystems, and in-depth knowledge and understanding of the key factors determining system behaviour. The students will be introduced to the knowledge and understanding of key components of an innovation system - its enablers and constraints - and how the overall system functions in different technology and industry sectors, as well as practical challenges in using these frameworks in late industrialisation nations.

Introduction and adoption of innovations and new technologies by society generate new risks and reshapes existing risks. The course will also introduce students to key concepts and practices surrounding risk regulation processes, especially for emerging and innovative technologies in various sectors of the economy. The focus is on embodying a critical appreciation of different approaches to risk regulation in different contexts (for example, health and agriculture). The students will learn about key concepts, theories and approaches to risk assessment and management (including anticipatory risk governance, integrative risk governance, responsible research and innovation and risk-benefit analysis) and also explore how to manage emerging and complex risks.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Policy Brief - 20%
Individual Essay, 3000 words - 80%
Feedback Essays will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission
Feedback will be provided in-class after group presentations on the policy brief and the assigned topic.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critical understanding of innovation systems, in the context of competing theoretical approaches, including the recent focus on innovation ecosystems, and in-depth knowledge and understanding of the key factors determining system behaviour.
  2. Knowledge and understanding of the key components of an innovation system ¿ its enablers and constraints ¿ and how the overall system functions in different technology and industry sectors, as well as in different geographies.
  3. Ability to critically analyse and use foresight as a method to construct and plan for particular technology futures.
  4. Understand the challenges of dealing with risks for emerging technologies or new innovation on their adoption by society.
  5. Be able to critically analyse and evaluate the risks society faces when adopting new technologies and the approaches used in risk regulation.
Reading List
Lundvall B-Å (2007) National Innovation Systems: analytical concept and development tool. Industry & Innovation 14(1):95-119.

Cooke P., (2001) Regional innovation systems, clusters, and the knowledge economy, Industrial and Corporate Change. 10, 945-974.

Gallagher, K.S., Grubler, A., Kuhl, L., Nemet, G., and Wilson, C., (2012). The Energy Technology Innovation System. The Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 37: 137-62.

Kasperson, R., O. Renn , P. Slovic , H. Brown , J. Emel, Robert Goble, J. Kasperson, S. Ratick (1988), 'The Social Amplification of Risk: A Conceptual Framework', Risk Analysis, 8(2): 177-87.

Karinen, R. & D.H., Guston, 'Towards Anticipatory Governance: The Experience with Nanotechnology', in Assessment Regimes of Technology

Flage, R., and Aven, T., (2015). Emerging risk ¿ Conceptual de¿nition and a relation to black swan type of events. Reliability Engineering and System Safety 144 (2015) 61-67
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Geoffrey Banda
Tel: (0131 6)50 6391
Course secretaryMrs Beth Richardson-Mills
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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