Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa SPS5047

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course analyses the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the modern and contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It considers topics such as concepts and theories of innovation and entrepreneurship in the MENA context, technology transfer and the workings of local knowledge production, women in STEM, and recent developments in fields such as ICT and climate change adaptation in terms of the economic, social, and political issues they raise.


This course may not run every year. Teaching comprises 10 classes comprising a mixture of lectures, small-group work, and class discussion.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to MSc programmes: An Upper Second-class degree or equivalent.

Excluded Courses





■ 2500-word essay (60%)

■ 1500-word course diary (40%)

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to drivers, motivations, and obstacles to innovation and entrepreneurship in the modern and contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We will critically engage broader concepts and theories of innovation, innovation 'ecosystems', and entrepreneurship, and consider their application to concrete case studies from North Africa, the Levant, and the Gulf States. The course will critically evaluate claims of MENA exceptionalism in the literature, encouraging students to consider the impacts of local, regional, and global factors on developments in innovation, and to pay attention to the ways that social characteristics including class, gender, nationality, and sector structure individuals' participation in entrepreneurship.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to understand and critically assess 

■ Concepts and theories of innovation, innovation 'ecosystems,' and entrepreneurship

■ Key historical stages and themes in the evolution of science, technology, and innovation in the MENA

■ The role of culture, demography, geography, the environment, factor endowments, institutions, policies, and international factors in shaping innovation and entrepreneurship in the MENA, through consideration of specific case studies

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.