Minor Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development

A new group of students can participate in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minor ‘Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development’, starting September 2019. Registration is open for bachelor students (all disciplines welcome) at Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Lecturers from these three universities all contribute expertise from their respective disciplines. In the minor, participating students will have the opportunity to work with students from other universities and disciplines, allowing them to step outside of their monodisciplinary frame of reference.

The minor combines theory, practice and societal engagement. Apart from gaining theoretical knowledge during academic modules, students have the unique opportunity to go abroad for a 12-week internship.

‘Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development’ minor

Frugal innovation concerns the (re)development of products, services and systems for the lowest possible cost price, while retaining user quality. Frugal innovation can therefore make a substantial difference to the quality of life of consumers and producers at the lower levels of the socio-economic pyramid. This burgeoning innovation concept is also linked to issues of economic and ecological sustainability and social inclusion – not only in developing countries, but also in Europe.

This minor introduces students from a range of degree programmes to the concept of frugal innovation, the underlying principle of ‘frugality’ and the applicability of the concept within the framework of the United Nations’ sustainable development objectives (SDGs).

Practicing frugal innovation


In addition to academic modules in the minor, students will:

  • attend (guest) lectures from experts from the business community, government bodies and NGOs
  • participate in a pressure cooker, during which students will work on a real-life case
  • integrate economic, sustainability and developmental perspectives
  • put their acquired expertise into practice during a field assignment (internship) abroad. During the 2018-2019 edition our students have gone to Uganda, Ghana, Surinam, Curacao and Cambodia.

This minor is fully developed by the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa. 

Registration for the 2019-2020 edition is open from 1-15 April 2019.

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