ENLIGHT courses

Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) for sustainable development Featured

The course will provide an analysis of the challenges associated with the sustainable transition of innovation processes and their regulatory and institutional framework in a regional innovation system. Particular focus will be on the roles of different actor groups and their interaction. Using the examples of the participating universities and their regional innovation systems, students will learn how to design explorative qualitative research for analyzing regional institutional setups.


European regions and their innovation systems face a major challenge that affects their current and future regional innovative capacity: The transition towards more environmentally sustainable modes of production and consumption which includes the transformation of economic, administrative and educational structures to develop and implement digital and smart solutions.
The course consists of three overlapping parts:
(iv) During the online lectures, experts from the ENLIGHT universities provide the required knowledge and methodological bases for students’ own institutional analyses of a regional innovation system (RIS)
(v) Participating students qualitatively assess “their” regional innovation systems by conducting about 3 interviews with regional experts
(vi) During the immersive week in Göttingen, students have the opportunity to gain deeper insights into the Göttingen Regional Innovation System by interacting with researchers and practitioners. They also present results from their own interviews and compare regions
Online lectures will be held via ZOOM, Thursdays at 6pm (eight lectures from Jan 26 2022). The immersive week will take place in Göttingen from Mar 20 to Mar 24 2022 (practical details to be determined).

Learning outcomes

After this module, participants will be able to:
• Understand the manifold actor relations in Regional Innovation Systems
• Comprehend the particular challenges that are inherent in the sustainability transition of innovation systems
• Design and execute own qualitative case study
• Manage cooperation in an interdisciplinary research team
• Reflect on the regulatory and institutional framework for sustainable innovation in their home region
• Identify potentials for cross-country policy learnings between different political frameworks


Virtual part (Jan 26 – Mar 16 2022 with a “break-week” from 13.-19.02.23):

  • Each session consists of a 40 minutes lecture, 20 minutes Q&A and 30 minutes guided group work on the respective research project
  • Lectures include (to be finalized):
  • Introductory session to clarify organization, contents, methods etc.
  • “overview session” to provide basic content on dynamics, mechanisms and actor constellations in innovation systems and sustainability transitions
  • Methodological session to provide methodological basics and prepare students for field research
  • Sessions focused on the roles of particular actor groups such as SMEs, MNEs and universities

Immersive week (Mar 20 – Mar 24 2022):

  • Talks by and discussions with regional practitioners and academic experts from the Göttingen region

Exact program to be determined


  • Pitch (10 minutes)
  • Paper (10 pages plus appendices documenting the research projects such as interview guidelines and protocols)


Prof. Kilian Bizer (University of Göttingen), Prof. Francesco Lissoni (University of Bordeaux), Prof. Pedro de Faria (University of Groningen), Prof. Unai Arzubiaga (University of the Basque Country)

Practical details

  • Focus area: Digitalisation, Energy and Circular Economy
  • Study Field: All fields
  • Type: intensive programme
  • Format: Blended
  • Host: University of Göttingen
  • Course dates: Online classes: Jan 26 – Mar 16, Thursdays, 6pm – 7.30pm via ZOOM, immersive week in Göttingen Mar 20 – Mar 24 with a “break-week” from 13.-19.02.23
  • Apply by: 10 November 2022
  • ECTS: 6
  • Funding: Erasmus+ BIP (to be confirmed)
    • Climate Change
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