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"Innovation economics seminar - The Analysis of Technological Innovation Systems in Sustainability Transitions"


Recommended Literature:

Fagerberg, J. (2002). A Layman's Guide to Evolutionary Economics (No. 17). Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo. (https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Carlsson, B., & Stankiewicz, R. (1991). On the nature, function and composition of technological systems. Journal of evolutionary economics, 1(2), 93-118.

Hekkert, M. P., Suurs, R. A., Negro, S. O., Kuhlmann, S., & Smits, R. E. (2007). Functions of innovation systems: A new approach for analysing technological change. Technological forecasting and social change, 74(4), 413-432.

 Hekkert, M., Negro, S., Heimeriks, G., & Harmsen, R. (2011). Technological innovation system analysis: A manual for analysts.

 Kushnir, D., Hansen, T., Vogl, V., & Åhman, M. (2020). Adopting hydrogen direct reduction for the Swedish steel industry: A technological innovation system (TIS) study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 242, 118185.

Sonnenschein, J., & Hennicke, P. (Eds.). (2015). The German Energiewende: a transition towards an efficient, sufficient green energy economy. Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie. (https://epub.wupperinst.org/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/6107/file/6107_Energiewende.pdf)

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Innovation economics seminar in the master program Economics/Public Economics

Module: Current Research Topics on Microeconomics (Aktuelle Forschungsfragen der


"Innovation economics seminar - The Analysis of Technological Innovation Systems in

Sustainability Transitions"

(Summer semester 2022, course number: 10141811/10141809 (Master), lecturer: Carsten

Schwäbe, Daniel Weiss, Delia Mangelkramer, language: English)

Course Description

In evolutionary innovation economics, the framework of technological innovation systems (TIS) is a prominent approach used to explain the development dynamics of technologies in the field of sustainability transitions. In empirical studies, TIS analysis is used to derive recommended actions for policymakers, industry associations, and companies. The German Energy transition (“Energiewende”) towards a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy crucially depends on the emergence and diffusion of sustainable technologies in the electricity and mobility sectors. However, progress has been repeatedly undermined by intense competition between new and old technologies, lobbying activities of incumbent stakeholders, or interdependencies between the different electricity and mobility solutions. The transition towards a sustainable agricultural system that acts within natural boundaries makes a positive contribution towards achieving the SDGs, crucially depending on the emergence and diffusion of sustainable technologies along the entire food value chain. Furthermore, using smart farming options (industry 4.0) is critical to achieving the goal of a sustainable transition. Additionally, technological considerations should not be detached from ethical considerations. Regional differences, for example, can have drastic effects on aspects such as "justice" as well as "functionality" of technology diffusion.

Against this background, the students should conduct a TIS analysis in the context of sustainability transitions and derive recommendations to foster the adoption of sustainable technologies in the German economy. Additionally, it is important to analyze the decline of existing dominant technological innovation systems such as coal, gas, and nuclear energy or the combustion engine.


Students are required to write a term paper (length approx. 4500 words) according to scientific standards. The seminar grade results from the evaluation of the written term paper. The guidelines for the preparation of seminar papers can be requested from the chair.

The research paper must be submitted digitally via e-mail as a PDF document by 01.08.2022,

10 am.

Acquisition of ECTS / credit points

Master:         The seminar is assessed with 3 semester hours per week. Students will receive 6 credit points upon  successful participation.


Participation and Deadlines

The seminar is aimed at students in the Economics and Public Economics master’s program. Interested applicants should apply by 2 pm on 09.04.2022, indicating: (1) first and last name, (2) matriculation number, (3) e-mail address, (4) copy of student ID, (5) certificate of previous grades, and (6) four topic preferences in descending order of preference.

Applications can be made by email to daniel.weiss@fu-berlin.de. You will receive a notification about the possibility to participate by 8 pm by 11.04.2022. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Topics will be assigned by 11.04.2022. The number of participants is limited to 24. If more applications than that are received, a selection will be made by the lecturer.


Admission restriction

All students enrolled in the master program “Economics” are applicable. Students of the master program “Public Economics” are only applicable if they successfully completed the course “Economics of Innovation and Innovation Policies” in a previous semester.

Course Timetable

The dates can be found in the course catalog or Blackboard. Please note that there may be changes at short notice.

Any changes to the schedule or further information will be communicated via Blackboard.

Nonetheless, all dates are to be regarded as mandatory dates.

List of Topics



Solar energy (photovoltaic)



Wind energy (onshore)



Wind energy (offshore)



Smart farming (e.g milking, cropping systems etc.)



Power-to-Gas (hydrogen)



Alternative proteins



Battery-electric vehicle (BEV)



Aquaponics (circular economy)



Carbon capture and storage (CCS)



Conventional meat



Nuclear power






Internal combustion engine



Hydrogen for a sustainable steel industry