Development and Rural Innovation (MDR) / MSc

Profile

Innovations in the field of agriculture, food and natural resource management have a dual nature: they consist of new technological practices as well as new socio-organisational arrangements involving a variety of societal actors. As a result, society needs skilled professionals who are able to link human and technological dimensions of innovation and understand the role of knowledge in societal change processes in dynamic contexts across the globe. The MSc programme Development and Rural Innovation is tailored for students with a BSc degree in technical sciences, life sciences or relevant management studies with an interest in global development problems and social dimensions of technical change. The challenge for students in this programme is to combine their previously acquired competences with new academic competences in the field of social sciences in order to make innovations work. The programme consists of a combination of disciplinary and problem-oriented courses, administered in an interactive style where peer learning plays an important role. The programme is thesis-oriented with an individual research project as its core. Students can choose between four thesis tracks: Communication and Innovation Studies, Rural Sociology, Sociology of Development and Change, or Technology and Development Studies. Graduates are well equipped to continue academic training (PhD) or to start - or continue - in a variety of career opportunities oriented towards societal problem solving and innovation, such as applied research, knowledge brokering, policy-making, consultancy and process facilitation.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- explain ideas, concepts and theories of development sociology, communication & innovation studies, and technology studies in relation to current issues, problems and challenges in the domain of development and rural innovation;
- assess and apply theoretical and methodological perspectives from a) development sociology, b) rural sociology, c) communication & innovation studies, or d) technology studies to analyse current issues, problems and challenges in the domain of development and rural innovation;
- design and assess research in the domain of development and rural innovation, including formulating a problem statement and operationalising objectives and research questions within an adequate research plan;
- select and apply appropriate research methods and techniques to collect and analyse data from literature and empirical research in the domain of development and rural innovation;
- critically reflect upon the design, implementation, facilitation and evaluation of interventions and programmes in the domain of development and rural innovation;
- interpret debates around social and natural science interdisciplinarity and communicate with diverse scientific audiences about different perspectives on problems and challenges in the domain of development and rural innovation;
- facilitate communication and decision-making in networks of actors with different knowledges and cultural backgrounds with the aim of enhancing development and rural innovation;
- translate research results into recommendations for intervention and policy in the domain of development and rural innovation;
- critically reflect upon the different roles of the specialist in development and rural innovation, including the ethical and value-driven aspects, in diverse international working environments;
- communicate convincingly (verbally and in writing) about (own) research findings and project results and their underpinning rationale;
- design and plan own learning processes based on continuous reflection (both individually and in discussion with others) upon personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and functioning.

Programme Director

Ir. M. van Maanen-Nooij
Phone.: 0317- (4)82772 
Email: marleen.vanmaanen-nooij@wur.nl

Study Adviser(s)

- Ir M. van Maanen-Nooij
Phone: 0317-(4)82772
Email: marleen.vanmaanen-nooij@wur.nl

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr. ir. C.J.M. Almekinders
Secretary: Ir. M. van Maanen-Nooij

Internet

www.wur.eu/mdr

Study Association

Ipso Facto
De Leeuwenborch, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen
Email: bestuur.ipso-facto@wur.nl