Societal entrepreneurship in health and life sciences

Dit vak wordt in het Engels aangeboden. Omschrijvingen kunnen daardoor mogelijk alleen in het Engels worden weergegeven.

Doel vak

This course consists of both a theoretical and a practical component.
Both components run simultaneously so that the theoretical knowledge can
be applied to the practical component. In the theoretical component you
learn about societal entrepreneurship. We address questions such as:
What is entrepreneurship? What are societal entrepreneurs? What is the
role of innovation in entrepreneurship? What is corporate social
responsibility (CSR)? How can we judge the feasibility of
entrepreneurial ambitions?

The practical component focuses on creating a business plan for either
starting up a societally relevant enterprise, or for making a transition
towards a more socially responsible organization, based on a real-life
business case. Based on the Business Model Canvas (Osterwalder &
Pigneur, 2010) you will develop a business plan covering aspects such as
value propositions, key activities, key partners, customer segments,
cost structure, and revenue streams. In setting up this business plan,
commercial, organisational and societal aspects of entrepreneurship
should play a key role. A jury of financers judges the business plans on
creativity and feasibility.

Learning objectives
- Understand the relevance of entrepreneurship and innovation for
science disciplines.
- Explain the importance of valorisation of findings from the health and
life sciences and business ideas for a knowledge-based economy.
- Explain and distinguish the aims and internal and external drivers of
- Outline the financial, social and ecological aspects (sustainable
entrepreneurship) of value-adding opportunities.
- Recognize and design opportunities that create economic and social
- Recognize and understand different entrepreneurial processes and
- Examine ways to manage Triple P bottom line strategies for sustainable
entrepreneurship (especially from the health and life sciences)
- Construct a business plan for a socially responsible,
innovation-driven enterprise

Inhoud vak

This course focuses on societal aspects of entrepreneurship. Although
the shape and form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has changed
over the years, it is broadly accepted that corporations need to act
socially responsible. In the health and life sciences, Access to
Medicine, sustainable innovation and precautionary principles are
important concepts when it comes to CSR.
During the course you will study the meaning of societal and responsible
entrepreneurship in the context of health and life sciences.
In the course theoretical insights are combined with practical
experiences. Both types of knowledge will culminate in the development
of a thorough and competitive business plan, for either a start-up
enterprise or for a transition of an existing enterprise to become more
socially responsibly, and that conveys an understanding of societally
relevant, financially viable and commercially interesting aspects.

Lecturers from Athena and experts from the field discuss various
relevant topics, such as: in-depth insight into the elements of a
business plan, different business model configurations, the role of
societal impact, and elements of CSR. The course is relevant for a wide
range of business cases in the health and life sciences, ranging from
NGO-like organizations to strong business-drive life sciences
enterprises. You will develop insight in institutional challenges of
sustainable innovations by assessing questions such as: ‘What is the
corporate drive of working sustainably? What impediments arise when we
try to incorporate social responsibility in an enterprise? How can
innovations be sustainably embedded in organizations?'

You will work in small teams, each team working on their own case. You
will be in charge of this assignment; showing leadership and taking
responsibility for the academic quality of your final product.

Real-life business cases from the life sciences will be made available
for students to work on. In addition, students that have truly
considered becoming entrepreneurs themselves are encouraged to formulate
a health and life sciences related business case (as a group of 3
students) before registering for this course.


Lectures and workshops are key elements of this course. Each week
several lectures are given. These lectures provide key knowledge for
both the exam and the assignment. Additionally, each week students have
workshops in which specific parts of the assignment are further
developed. Attending the workshops is compulsory.

Schedule and study time
The total study time is 160 hours. The following hours are contact
- Lectures: 42 hours
- Workshops: 14 hours
- Exam: 3 hours
- Practical assignment: 70 hours
- Self-study for remaining hours


Both the exam and the business plan determine 50% of the grade each. The
exam and business plan must be of sufficient quality to pass the course.

Vereiste voorkennis

Proven knowledge of business aspects in the Health and Life Sciences is
required (e.g. by having passed the Business Management course).


Business Model Generation (Osteralder & Pigneur, 2010)
Additional literature will consist of management articles, scientific
management literature and management tools.


Optional course for Master students Management, Policy Analysis and
Entrepreneurship in Health and Life sciences (MPA), M-differentiation of
the Health, Life & Natural Sciences, Biology, Biomedical Sciences.

Overige informatie

Active participation of individuals in work group meetings and group
assignments is considered a prerequisite to pass the course.

Afwijkende intekenprocedure

VU-net registration will close 4 weeks before the start of the course. Groups for the assignment will be made via Canvas. Students are strongly encouraged to formulate their own health & life sciences related business case to work on. In addition, we will arrange for a limited number of real-life business cases to work on.

Algemene informatie

Vakcode AM_470575
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P1
Vakniveau 500
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit Faculteit der Bètawetenschappen
Vakcoördinator dr. L.H.M. van de Burgwal
Examinator prof. dr. H.J.H.M. Claassen
Docenten prof. dr. H.J.H.M. Claassen
dr. L.H.M. van de Burgwal

Praktische informatie

Voor dit vak moet je zelf intekenen.

Voor dit vak kun je last-minute intekenen.

Werkvormen Hoorcollege, Werkgroep

Dit vak is ook toegankelijk als: