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AL2115 Transdisciplinary Approaches for System Innovations 7.5 credits

The course “Transdisciplinary Approaches for System Innovations” provides students with insights into the socio-technical processes of systems transitions and equips them with participatory methods to steer sustainability transitions. During the course, students design and implement transdisciplinary projects based on modular Participatory Backcasting, mPB addressing a complex real-life socio-technical challenge. The challenge is given in collaboration with societal partners of the course. In the previous years, the course collaborated with stakeholders of the KTH campus, Hammarby Sjöstad city district in Stockholm, Järfälla municipality, Skellefteå municipality, and Stockholm urban food actors.

About course offering

For course offering

Spring 2025 Start 14 Jan 2025 programme students


For course offering

Spring 2025 Start 14 Jan 2025 programme students

Application code



For course offering

Spring 2025 Start 14 Jan 2025 programme students


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Course coordinator

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Headings with content from the Course syllabus AL2115 (Spring 2024–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course “Transdisciplinary Approaches for System Innovations” will provide you with insights on socio-technical processes in system innovations and equip you with participatory methods to facilitate sustainability transitions of socio-technical systems.

During the course you will design and implement a participatory backcasting project addressing a real-life complex socio-technical challenge. In  the previous year addressed tarnsitions challenges were

  • 2017: “Sustainable KTH Campus 2050”
  • 2018: “Sustainable city district Hammarby Sjöstad 2050”
  • 2019: "Sustainable urban food production and consumption system in Stockholm by 2050"
  • 2020: Mobility system in climate-positive Järfälla municipality by 2050."

The course is divided into 3 themes:

Theme 1. System innovations

Theme 2. Transdisciplinarity

Theme 3. Participatory backcasting (project work in interaction with different societal actors)

Intended learning outcomes

After finishing the course, the student should be able to:

• describe the different types of innovations and reflect on how they relate to various theories of socio-technical changes, e.g. the multi-level perspective of system innovation and transition management;

• describe concepts of complexity and uncertainty in/for socio-technical systems;

• describe core ideas of different schools in future studies;

• reflect on transdisciplinary approaches for system innovation studies, e.g. generation of robust knowledge, consensus building, needs orientation, research society interaction;

• explain and illustrate scenario typologies;

• use various methods and techniques for scenario development, e.g. driver analysis, storytelling, morphological analysis;

• design a transdisciplinary study for sustainable transitions of socio-technical systems;

• implement a participatory backcasting process addressing real-life complex socio-technical challenges.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Admitted to Master's Programme, Sustainable Technology (TSUTM).

Others: Admitted to a program at KTH - Royal Institute of Technology and at least completed 180 ECTS credits. Courses from upper secondary school corresponding to the courses Eng B/6 according to the Swedish upper secondary school system.

Recommended prerequisites

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Scientific papers on Canvas

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • DEL1 - Attendance, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • HEM1 - Home assignment, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO2 - Project work, 5.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Passed examinations

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

Environmental Engineering

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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Supplementary information

The course has a limited amount of attendants. In case this limit is exeeded the selection is based on grades. Maximum amount of places is 50.