LDE-minor: Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development



Are you up for a multidisciplinary challenge? Do you want to combine theory and practice? Are you interested in learning about a frontier innovation manifestation, and exploring how this this could contribute to sustainable global development? Would you like to apply your academic knowledge to practical case studies and real-life situations, including an twelve weeks field assignment abroad? If you are answering these questions affirmatively, you are the ideal candidate for this Leiden-Delft Erasmus (LDE) minor!

The LDE minor ‘Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development’ offers in-depth insight into how and under which conditions frugal innovation can contribute to sustainable global development. Frugal innovation refers to the (re)design of products, services and systems to make them affordable for low-income people without compromising on utility and ease of use. It integrates social, entrepreneurial and technological skills. Frugal innovation is increasingly seen as a promising way to overcome constraints in, for example, (access to) health, energy and water for people who live and work in adverse or resource constrained environments, worldwide. It could contribute to global societal challenges and themes, for example sustainability, reduction of poverty and inclusion.

The minor is organised by the African Studies Centres Leiden (ASCL) and LDE Center for Frugal Innovation in Africa (CFIA). It is open to all third-year bachelor students of Leiden University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Delft University of Technology, regardless of study and disciplinary background. We think the minor is in particular attractive for students in anthropology, development sociology, area studies, international relations, economics, medical studies, development studies, law, health, housing, water, business studies, housing studies, industrial design, civil engineering, and technology and innovation (management) studies, and/or for students who want to link their study to or become engaged in tackling concrete societal challenges. We are looking for a high diversity of interests and backgrounds, in order to have strong cross-disciplinary teams in the field.

Learning objectives

In this minor you will learn how frugal innovation can be defined and analysed; what frugal innovation implies for technology, entrepreneurship and development, and under which conditions it can contribute to the realisation of sustainable global development.

You will get the opportunity to bring your acquired knowledge into practice by working in a multidisciplinary team on a field assignment abroad in selected countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The GOFRUGAL STUDENT E-zineOpent externOpens external provides an overview of the project student completed in 2020-2021. Please note: Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions these field assignments were hosted in the Netherlands through providers delivering services abroad. At date of publication universities still do not allow travel abroad, but it is expected that this will change in the coming months. Students enrolled for this minor will be kept updated by the minor coordination.

The minor is a complete 30 EC package. Subjects offered in the first 15 EC block, aim to prepare students for their individual field assignments in the second 15 EC block. When applying for this minor students must be aware that it is strongly recommended to follow and complete the full 30 EC minor. EUR students who can only do a 15 EC minor, but are interested to follow this minor are advised to contact their studies coordinator to explore the possibilities to follow the full minor.

For further information on the minor and how to register please see the Leiden University e-prospectusOpent externOpens external and visit the CFIA websiteOpent externOpens external.

For contact and inquiries please send an e-mail to: minorfrugalinnovation@asc.leidenuniv.nl For attention of Dr André Leliveld and/or Madi Ditmars.

Join us during one of our online information sessions. Click here to view the dates and timesOpent externOpens external.


This LDE minor is a selection minor and applications must be submitted between 1 – 15 April 2021. Late applications will not be considered.

EUR students must register through Osiris before they can apply.

An application consists out of a completed Online Application Form andOpens external a CV. A maximum of 40 students, equally distributed between the three universities will be selected.

If selected, EUR students also have to register as a student at TU Delft and Leiden University.


Contact information

More information follows.

Studiepunten (EC)

Leiden University

TU Delft

Erasmus University Rotterdam


EUR students can apply through Osiris Student during the regular minor application period (1 April up to 15 April). It is possible for EUR students to complete the minor for 15 EC. EUR students can also choose to complete the minor as a whole for 30 EC. The extra 15 EC is extra curricular. To include the extra 15 EC in your Bachelor program, EUR students need to ask permission from their Exam Board. If placed, you need to be registered as a student at TU Delft and Leiden University.

TU Delft/Leiden University students can apply via the regular application procedure at their own university.

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