Sustainable technology in society: introduction


About this course

We live in a technological world. In our everyday life we use technologies all the time when we cook, communicate and travel. Businesses cannot operate without technologies. Governments are also much concerned with technologies and innovation, e.g. as a problem solver for sustainability challenges, as engines of economic growth or as potential sources of major risks. In the learning line Technology in Societyyou develop a deep understanding of the interrelationship between technologies and their social and economic context. Challenging and enlightening cases are discussed, in particular from the field of sustainable innovation. Different perspectives from the field of Sustainability Transitions and Science and Technology Studies (STS) are offered to understand and govern these cases and relationships. These include among others large technical systems theory, actor-network theory, social construction of technology, sociotechnical scenario’s, strategic niche management and the multi-level perspective.

As an introductory course to the learning line Technology in Society, 0SV10 introduces students to
(1) basic concepts and theories about society (such as: social groups, stakeholders, progress, moral values, etc.);
(2) the intertwinement of sustainable innovation with social, political and ethical issues (basic introduction to the discipline of STS);
(3) the holistic study of innovation as a sociotechnical process in a specific time, place, and stakeholder setting (students learn to 'follow the process');
(4) tensions and controversies between stakeholders and ways how to analyze them;

0SV10 introduces these issues by means of exemplary contemporary and historical real-life innovation cases. It combines lectures & readings with group assignments, in which student groups study a particular sociotechnical controversy.

Learning outcomes

After the course, students will be able to recognize, explain and analyze the interweavement of technology and society, and the challenges this interweavement brings to sustainable innovation processes using basic concepts (e.g. stakeholders, progress, momentum, moral values, mediation, power relations, governance, monitoring) and theories of Science and Technology Studies (e.g. large technical systems framework and the social construction of technology framework). This way, students adopt a way of analyzing sustainable innovation holistically, as a sociotechnical process in a specific time, place, and stakeholder setting.

Specific learning outcomes
After this course, the student is able to:

  • recognize the inter interweavement of technology and society and the challenges this interweavement brings to processes of sustainable innovation.
  • explain basic concepts of sustainable innovation, such as development, growth, socio-technical system, stakeholders, mediation, politics of artifacts, governance of change and monitoring sustainable development.
  • discuss how sustainable innovation intertwines with organizational, social, political and ethical issues.
  • discuss different types of relations between stakeholders, artifacts and issues in a process of sustainable innovation, such as power relations, synergies and trade-offs.
  • analyze a case of sustainable innovation using different frameworks, including the large technical systems framework and the social construction of technology framework.

After this course, students have improved their information and presentation skills.

Specific learning outcomes
After this course, the student is able to:

  • create an efficient search process by formulating effective search queries in which relevant and alternative search terms are combined by using operators.
  • evaluate whether found results are relevant for their research.
  • refer to the sources of the results adequately.
  • recognize how to conduct research with 'scientific integrity'.
  • prepare a presentation (less than 10 minutes) aimed at fellow students on a topic using the found information.
  • present the prepared presentation in a limited time frame, in front of students and lecturers, in a formal setting, taking into account the structure of the presentation (opening, middle, ending), verbal and non-verbal behaviour and visual aids (e.g. slides).

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

  • Registered for a degree programme other than
  • HBO-TOP Applied Physics, Pre-Master

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU Eindhoven.


  • Start date

    11 November 2024

    • Ends
      19 January 2025
    • Term *
      Block 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      15 Jun, 00:00 - 13 Oct 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University