In iCSL you devote your master project to defining and addressing societal issues. You don’t do this by yourself: you’re part of an multidisciplinary student team, but also collaborate closely with companies, organizations, and governments.
The iCSL module consists of two courses. The first course (iCSL1) focuses on the definition of societal challenges together with community members and partners. In the second course (iCSL2) you address those challenges through a collaborative research project. Both courses can be followed as an elective (if the structure and exam committee of your own program allow for that) or as an extracurricular activity besides the mandatory components of your program. In both cases, credits are awarded upon completion of the courses. You can enroll in both courses, or in either one of the two.
The iCSL1 Course (AM_1254)
The iCSL1 course centers around the definition of challenges that are current in society and would benefit from scientific research. To do so, you engage in dialogue with the residents of the city. The event at which this dialogue takes place, is the climax of the course. The six weeks leading up to the event are used to prepare for this moment. You learn – among others - about inter- and transdisciplinarity, complex systems and persistent problems, and participatory approaches. More practically, you interview actors to gauge their opinions on the topics, and prepare the event.
The course runs in period 2 of the academic year (Novermber-December) and is 3 ECTS. Weekly face-to-face meetings are scheduled in the evening hours to prevent interference with other courses. The remaining study time will be spent online.
The iCSL2 Course (AM_1253)
The iCSL2 course is about addressing large societal challenges. As an interdisciplinary team, you research one of the challenges defined in the iCSL1 course. Each team member devotes their own thesis, research project or internship to a discipline-specific subquestion of this challenge. In parallel to your thesis, you follow the iCSL2 course, in which you integrate the insights from the different individual disciplinary projects. In interactive workshops you exchange knowledge, integrate the insights from the different projects to synthesize a systematic view of the topic, and discuss the implications of those findings. The course ends in a large meeting (somewhat like a conference) at which you present your findings back to a scientific as well as societal audience. One of the key questions during this event is: what’s next? What follow-up is necessary to ensure real uptake of the results? Because we don’t want yet another thesis to end up on a shelf never to be looked at again.
The iCSL2 course runs the entire second semester (period 4-6, February-June), and completion will award 6 ECTS. This means a low-intensity, long-term commitment.