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"Innovation economics seminar - The Analysis of Technological Innovation Systems in the German Energy Transition"

 Innovation economics seminar in the master program Economics/Public Economics

 Module: Current Research Topics on Microeconomics (Aktuelle Forschungsfragen der Mikroökonomie)

 "Innovation economics seminar - The Analysis of Technological Innovation Systems in the German Energy Transition"

 (Summer semester 2021, course number: 104110/104111 (Master), lecturer: Daniel Weiss)


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. Against this background, the students should conduct a TIS analysis in the context of the German Energy transition to asses the potential of the most promising sustainable technologies and derive recommendations to foster their further adoption in the German economy. In the end, the seminar papers together should constitute an overview of the interdependencies and trade-offs of the ongoing energy transition and identify the necessary actions that have to be taken to move forward.



 Students are required to write a term paper (length approx. 3500 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 19.07.2021, 12 p.m.



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 12 p.m. on 07.04.2021, 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) three 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 p.m. on 09.04.2021. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Topics will be assigned on 16.04.2021. 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.

Due to the current situation, the course will be held solely online. Nonetheless, all dates are to be regarded as mandatory dates.


List of Topics


Solar energy (photovoltaic)


Wind energy (onshore)


Wind energy (offshore)


Biomass energy


Power-to-Gas (hydrogen)


Power-to-Liquid (carbon-neutral fuel)


Battery-electric vehicle (BEV)


Fuel cell vehicles (FCV)


Carbon capture and storage (CCS)


Blockchain-based local energy markets


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.

Bergek, A., Jacobsson, S., Carlsson, B., Lindmark, S., & Rickne, A. (2008). Analyzing the functional dynamics of technological innovation systems: A scheme of analysis. Research policy, 37(3), 407-429.

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

Scherer, P. (2018). Verbreitung nachhaltiger Technologien in Abhängigkeit der Entwicklungsphase: am Beispiel der Wasseraufbereitung mittels UV LED. (https://refubium.fu-berlin.de/handle/fub188/22522?locale-attribute=en)

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)

Kreuz, S., & Müsgens, F. (2017). The German Energiewende and its roll-out of renewable energies: An economic perspective. Frontiers in Energy, 11(2), 126-134.

Rechsteiner, R. (2020). German energy transition (Energiewende) and what politicians can learn for environmental and climate policy. Clean technologies and environmental policy, 1-38.

Mengelkamp, E., Notheisen, B., Beer, C., Dauer, D., & Weinhardt, C. (2018). A blockchain-based smart grid: towards sustainable local energy markets. Computer Science-Research and Development, 33(1), 207-214.