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Management of Complex Systems: The role of Universities in National Innovation Systems

Degree programmes and modules:

Master Wirtschaftswissenschaften: Modul "Innovations- und Techniksoziologie" I / II
Master Sozialwissenschaftliche Innovationsforschung: Kernmodul 1 / Ergänzungsmodul 1 u. 2


Dr. Lisa Sigl


Students can choose between passing the course as a seminar (5 ECTS; requiring paper & presentation) OR as an Tutorial/Übung: 2,5 ECTS (requiring presentation & "exam")
Seminar: 5 ECTS
Tutorial/Übung: 2,5 ECTS

Content of the Seminar:

In the past years the contribution of universities to national economies via knowledge production, transfer and commercialization has been increasingly underscored in the policy discourse as well as in university missions. Thus, even if in theoretical discussions (about the role of knowledge production for economy) the university was for a long time seen as part of “National Innovation Systems”, its role becomes increasingly visible via formal links to other actors (e.g. industry). This seminar will draw on the latest theoretical and empirical studies of university’s role in national innovation systems. The theoretical insights will be drawn from studies of National Innovation Systems (NIS), Science and Technology Studies as well as Higher Education Studies’. One focus will be laid on the complexity of actors in the NIS and the linkages between them (with a special focus on university-industry linkages). A second focus will be laid on the international comparison of NISs. Across these topics we will understand the university as a specific type of organization with specific characteristics and also gain an understanding of how the university (and academic codes and norms) change when links to other actors are forged.
This seminar will draw on the latest theoretical and empirical studies of university’s role in national innovation systems (NIS). The seminar will be held in English.


All students are expected to a) actively participate in the seminar b) work on their own case study c) present a text & preliminary results of a case study d) + in case you want to pass the course as a Seminar (5ECTS): write a paper (text analysis & results of case study) The semester is sub-divided in three parts: (1) introduction to main concepts and preparation of own research, (2) in-depth discussions of key questions, (3) presentations of texts & preliminary case study results. Feedback on developing your case studies available between the sessions and after your presentation of preliminary results. The number of participants is limited to 20.


Seminar: Paper & Presentation (5 Credits)
Tutorial: Presentation & Exam (2,5 Credits)
The actual examination practice however varies, depending on what individual students need as part of different modules.

Compulsory reading:

  • Etzkowitz, H. and Leydesdorff, L.A. (2000). The dynamics of innovation: from National Systems and ‘‘Mode2’’ to a Triple Helix of university–industry–government relations. Research Policy Journal, 29(2), 109-123.
  • Paleari, Stefano, Donina, Davide, & Meoli, Michele (2015). The role of the university in twenty-first century European society. Journal of Technology Transfer, 40(3), 369-379.
  • Krücken, G., Blümel, A., & Kloke, K. (2013). The Managerial Turn in Higher Education? On the Interplay of Organizational and Occupational Change in German Academia. Minerva, 51(4), 417-442.
  • Doganova, Liliana & Eyquem-Renault, Marie (2009): What do business models do? Innovation devices in technology entrepreneurship, Research Policy 38: 1559–1570.

Preliminary Schedule (incl. Block Meeting)

START DATE: Tuesday, 19.04.2016, 12-14 - Introductory lecture


Tue, 17.05., 14:15-17:30 – Lectures & Discussion of Required Readings

Wed, 18.05.,14:15-17:30 – Lectures & Discussion of Required Readings

Thu, 30.06., 10:00-13:00 and 14.00-16.00 – Student presentations & Feedback Session

PLACE: CDI building, room: 114

Further information on the internet:


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Dr. Lisa Sigl

Dr. Lisa Sigl

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