"Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation is a topic which attracts students throughout Europe to this course. Entrepreneurship and innovation is not necessarily sustainable by default – there is a large need for better tools and insightful reflections, to help shape more sustainable futures", says Karen Williams Middleton, Associate professor at the Department of Technology Management and Economics, and course examiner of the new summer school at Chalmers.
The initiative is created within the ENHANCE alliance of technical universities and is a part of the Tracks courses at Chalmers. Before and after the intensive week in late August, the students carry out academic research in teams, with the aim of creating value in a sustainable manner for people around Europe, and the planet as a whole.
"The group of PhD and master students from our seven ENHANCE partner universities came with huge interest, engagement and challenging questions to Gothenburg for the in-person week. We designed the course to include several novel approaches: interviews with sustainable entrepreneurs; synthesis of individual interviews in a group format; lectures by researchers, institutional players, and entrepreneurs; student-led sessions including workshop facilitations by students; and field trips to exemplary initiatives in the Gothenburg region. This all aimed to familiarize the technical students with four main aspects relevant to sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation: systemic, value creation, collaboration/teamwork, and funding", says course leader, Yashar Mansoori, a post-doc working with ENHANCE at Chalmers.
One of the students was Arpita Chari, PhD Student at the Department of Industrial and Materials Science at Chalmers:
"I applied to the course because I was interested in innovation and entrepreneurship when it comes to business strategies with respect to sustainability, especially the aftereffects of the covid pandemic. I also wanted to apply the skills garnered from the summer school to industrial level issues after I graduate from my PhD program."
"Considering that this was the first time the course is being run, I think it was very well designed and structured. The themes were relevant, and all the lectures and workshops were thoughtfully connected to the themes. I liked that there was one main academic lecture, one policy/legal lecture, one talk by a sustainability entrepreneur and then the student-led workshops each day. This mix of content enabled a rich learning experience", says Arpita Chari.
Professor Mats Lundqvist, Chalmers’ Vice President of Utilisation, is pleased that the university can offer this course, and adds:
"Student from all over Europe express interest into how we at Chalmers and in Sweden take on sustainability challenges. The Northvolt and Volvo initiative around battery innovation, where Chalmers is highly engaged, is an inspiration for European leadership in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation", he says.