Engineering for Sustainable Society


Course Content

This project-based course focuses on the theme of product innovation. “Product” should here be interpreted broadly: as hardware, software, processes, services or combinations of these in systems (often called product service systems), i.e. technical and human systems and their interaction.

Aims & Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should:

  • Have a basic understanding of possibilities and limitations of engineering for supporting the transformation of society towards sustainability.
  • Know about basic concepts of product innovation and with that as a base be able to facilitate communication between engineers and non-engineers.
  • Understand the significance of various decisions during product development for the products’ socio-ecological impacts (both positive and negative) throughout the product life-cycle, e.g., how such decisions influence human need satisfaction and energy and transportation needs.
  • Know about various methods, tools and incentives for sustainable product development and procurement.
  • Have a basic ability to evaluate various technologies from a sustainability perspective and the ability to present those evaluations to professionals as well as non-professionals in regards to engineering (e.g. decision makers in business and politics).
  • Have “order of magnitude” knowledge in the energy and transportation fields and a basic ability to do general “order of magnitude” estimations.
  • Apply the framework for strategic sustainable development (FSSD) to the product development process.

Learning & Teaching

The course will partly be “project driven”, i.e. the specific content will be based partly on the students’ preferences of topics and the knowledge needs identified during the project work.

There will be a number of lectures as a general support. Much of the mutual transfer and creation of knowledge taking place in dialogues between students, between students and instructors, and through on site studies of real life examples.

Students will practice their ability to evaluate various technologies and practice their ability to present those evaluations to professionals as well as laymen as regards engineering (e.g. decision makers in business and politics). The course is delivered in English.

Scheduled lecture/seminar hours: 5 – 7 hours per week.