Innovation and Economic Development (923N1)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

This is a core introductory course that positions you within an ongoing tradition of research on innovation and provides you with a grounding in the economics of innovation and systems approaches. You will gain a systematic understanding of economic development from an STI perspective.

On this module, you will learn about the background of analytical concepts and theories of technical change, innovation and science and technology policy to gain a systematic understanding of how the different actors involved in these processes - firms, government and other institutions - shape economic development.

The module includes:

  • the theory of the firm
  • the analysis of innovation systems
  • the economic implications of sectoral specialisation at the national and international level 
  • the analysis of global markets.

The module reviews the historical and contemporary emergence of current innovation systems in developing country contexts.

You will develop your understanding in a way that contributes towards analysis of innovation policy choice. You will work with a range of analytical frameworks for understanding and exploring the nature of public policy and its influence on the operations of firms and other institutions in developing contexts. These frameworks include economics, evolutionary economics, science and technology studies and history.

You will gain a deeper understanding of measurement issues and indicators of growth, development, income inequality and poverty that will be linked to relevant macro-transformation of economies. The concept of capabilities is introduced and examined in the context of various sectoral component of economies: agriculture, industry, services, public services.

The concept of innovation systems is also examined. Historical national cases of catching-up and falling behind are illustrated in depth and revisited within an industrial and STI policy perspective. These include LACS countries and East Asian countries.

You will also develop a set of specific skills in using economic measures and indicators that inform public policy.


67%: Lecture
33%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Group presentation)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 32 hours of contact time and about 118 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.