Minor LDE-minor: Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development



Note that this minor consists of two 15 EC parts. The second part is an internship abroad.

Do you want to learn more about a frontier innovation manifestation and explore how this could contribute to sustainable global development, integrating social, entrepreneurial and technological skills. Would you like to apply your academic knowledge to practical case studies, including an internship abroad? Are you up for an multidisciplinary challenge? If you are answering these questions affirmatively, you are the ideal candidate for this minor!

This minor 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 making them affordable for low-income people without compromising on utility and ease of use. Frugal Innovation is increasingly seen as a promising way to overcome constraints in, for example, (access to) health, energy, water for people who live and work in adverse or resource constrained environments, worldwide.

In this minor you will learn how frugal innovation can be defined and analyzed; what frugal innovation implies for technology, entrepreneurship and development, and under which conditions it can contribute to the realization of sustainable global development. In a pressure cooker and with an internship abroad you will get the opportunity to bring the acquired knowledge into practice by working in multidisciplinary teams on real life challenges.

The minor is open to all third-year bachelor students from Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam. The minor is organized by the LDE Center for Frugal Innovation in Africa (CFIA). More information on frugal innovation and on the minor (from 5 April 2018 onwards) can be found at the CFIA website Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa.

Application procedure

This minor is a selective programme. A maximum of 30 students can participate. Ideally, the minor programme receives ten students from each Leiden-Delft-Erasmus university. As this programme requires seriously motivated students, for both working on interdisciplinary topics and going abroad for the internship, we request students to hand in a motivation with their application for the programme. Please find the exact procedure below.

Please be aware that you cannot do a resit exam for a different course during the period of the internship!


  • Register your minor preferences via Osiris from 1 May up to 31 May 2018


  1. Write a motivation letter of maximum two A4’s in which you explain
  • Who you are and what you study;
  • Your personal learning goals from this minor programme;
  • Your experience with the topic in general and/or working in interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary contexts;
  • Your experience with working/living/travelling abroad;
  • Your expectations of the minor programme and the internshi

Submit your CV and letter of motivation by Thursday 31 May 2018 the latest to minorfrugalinnovation@asc.leidenuniv.nl. Your application is reviewed by the Selection Committee. In this committee, each university is represented.

By 15 June 2018 you are notified whether you are admitted into the programme. If this is the case, please continue to step 3. If this is not the case, you can still follow the minor programme which you indicated as second choice.


The minor consists of two modules; module A (15 ECTS) is focused on the theoretical exploration of Frugal Innovation along the Technology, Entrepreneurship, Development nexus, and module B (15 ECTS) requires students to bring their newly acquired knowledge into practice during an internship abroad (for instance in Kenya or India). In terms of learning methods, lectures, readings, online-learning tools, and internships are combined with practical expertise and experience of NGO’s, businesses and policy makers.

Block 1
• Course on Technology and Design for Frugal Innovation
• Course on Entrepreneurship and Business Models for Frugal Innovation
• Course on Frugal Innovation and Development

Block 2
• Field work methods
• Internship/Project abroad

Please read the detailed information guide for more information about the minor program. Please note it is not possible to follow only one course, as the minor is a consistent package of courses designed to help you build your knowledge in a logical and connected way.

Learning objectives

  • Acquiring knowledge on Frugal Innovation from the perspectives of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Development;
  • Analysing Frugal Innovation on different geographical levels of scale and in different parts of the world;
  • Combining different academic disciplines, relating elements of disciplines and integrating one’s own field of study to others;
  • Working in a multi-stakeholder setting, thereby acknowledging local, cultural contexts and interests;
  • Adjusting to a different culture, allowing learning processes on the academic as well as the personal field.

Target group

Are you up for an interdisciplinary challenge? Do you see the mutual benefit of integrating social, entrepreneurial and technological skills when working on the future? Would you like to apply your academic knowledge to practical case studies and real-life situations? Are you interested in looking at development from an entrepreneurial, technological and social perspective? If you are answering these questions affirmatively, you are the ideal candidate for this minor!

The minor is open to bachelor students of Leiden University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Delft University of Technology. Students from Rotterdam can choose to only take part in Module A (15 ECTS) in order to avoid study delay. Students from Delft and Leiden can take both modules making up a 30 ECTS minor.

Contact information

More information follows.

Studiepunten (ECTS)

Leiden University

TU Delft

Erasmus University Rotterdam


EUR students can apply through Osiris Student during the regular minor application period (1 May up to 31 May) and have to register this minor as one of their preferences (max. 5). 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.