NIFK20005U Innovation in Food Systems

Volume 2024/2025

Msc Programme in Integrated Food Studies


This course introduces you to concepts, frameworks and tools from innovation management, innovation systems and sustainability transitions. You will use these frameworks to understand and analyse complex problems in a food system context. You will learn about the organizational and broader societal contexts in which innovations and transitions take place, and how these contexts influence the innovation process.

Specific themes addressed in the course include: 1) inter- and intra-organizational innovation, 2) innovation systems, 3) sector characteristics of innovation, 4) diffusion and adoption of innovation, 5) sustainability transitions, and 6) innovation policy. Together these themes are important for understanding how to tackle grand challenges, such as the transition towards sustainable food systems, which cut across organizational, sectorial, and geographical boundaries.

Learning Outcome

After participating in the course you will have acquired the following:


  • Know and understand theories of innovation systems, innovation processes, innovation management, innovation tensions, and socio-technical transitions.
  • Know and understand how different food systems, main actors and institutions influence innovation and transitions in food systems.



  • Ability to analyze and organize innovation processes considering the influence of societal context and organizational factors.
  • Ability to communicate, reflect on and discuss innovation challenges and expected outcomes.



  • Can manage complex innovation processes to suggest and implement food system-level changes.    
  • Can organize, participate in and lead interdisciplinary teamwork addressing food system challenges.
It is recommended that students have a good understanding of alternative and mainstream food systems.
The course combines lectures, case presentations and group work. Student are divided into groups that will each identify an innovation case related to the food system, which will be used to reflect, apply and discuss the themes and frameworks covered in the course.

The course is designed to be highly interactive. Thus, feedback takes place during class through case presentation and feedback on group work.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Preparation
  • 110
  • Practical exercises
  • 21
  • Project work
  • 15
  • Exam
  • 35
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Type of assessment details
No time for preparation.
Exam registration requirements



Only certain aids allowed

3 pages of notes are allowed. Standard text size (11 or 12) and line spacing (no less than 1,15) or hand-written

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Two internal examiners

Same as ordinary exam

Criteria for exam assesment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate  the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning  Outcome.