Syllabus for Implementation Science and Sustainable Development I

Implementeringsvetenskap och hållbar utveckling I


  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 3BO007
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Learning for Sustainable Development and Global Health A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2020-08-24
  • Established by: The Educational Board of Medicine
  • Applies from: week 27, 2021
  • Entry requirements: A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.
  • Responsible department: Department of Women's and Children's Health

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students are expected to be able to:

  • Explain what implementation science and research is.
  • Describe the concept of evidence-based practices.
  • Distinguish between the different "target levels" of implementation science theories, models and frameworks, i.e. from micro to macro level.
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of applying certain theories, models and frameworks on different dilemmas.
  • Identify, discuss and assess the pros and cons of different implementation strategies.
  • Undertake supportive peer-supervision and develop skills in providing constructive feedback.
  • Propose, construct and defend an implementation science project within global health including theoretical background, implementation strategy and evaluation method.
  • Describe, in writing and speech, how Sustainable Development dilemmas emerge in situations that are inherently uncertain and controversial and inequitable and motivate how inter-subjective, systemic and intersectional approaches can transform these situations.
  • Explain, in writing and speech, problems associated with implementation of Sustainable Development actions; situations characterised by conflicts of interest and or controversy.
  • Evaluate and critically discuss, using course literature, causes for success and failure of the implementation Sustainable Development actions at different scales.
  • Describe, evaluate and critically discuss, the theory of knowledge underpinning instrumental and collaborative approaches that enable the implementation of Sustainable Development actions.
  • Describe the concept of equity in health, its history and theoretical underpinnings as well as its practical consequences for wellbeing and health and its place in the international discourse on sustainability.
  • Describe, in written and oral form, how an individual's or group's stake and position can be formed and how it overlaps with that of other individuals or groups, and how this affects health outcomes on an individual and societal level.
  • Explain, in writing and speech, the problems and conflicts associated with diverging stakes and positions.
  • Describe, implement and critically reflect on the application of multi-stakeholder analysis processes.
  • Describe, evaluate and critically discuss, how individuals and groups actively construct and promote their own stake and position.
  • Describe, in writing and speech, how implementation dilemmas based in power structures can be addressed and resolved by employing social learning and other forms of learning processes
  • Describe, evaluate and critically discuss the development and application of soft systems methodologies in contested and uncertain situations.
  • Describe and critically evaluate, in writing and speech, institutions as 1) entitlement and rights, 2) instruments of dis-/incentives; and 3) learned and negotiated outcomes of stakeholders.
  • Explain significance of power differentials and positions in processes of stake-holding.
  • Apply theories and concepts can be used to perform rigorous theoretical and empirical studies of sustainability dilemmas in the context of global health.


The course consists of three modules: Introduction to Implementation Science, 7,5 cr; Introduction to Sustainable Development, 7,5 cr; and Power, Equity and Transformation, 15 cr.

Introduction to Implementation Science, 7,5 cr
This course module takes a holistic approach to implementation science with a particular focus on global health challenges in low- and middle-income countries. Students will become familiar with concepts and methods within the area of implementation science and develop skills in applying theories, models and frameworks in order to individually develop and defend an implementation science project focusing on challenges of Sustainable Development and Global Health, and supervise peers in reaching the same objective. Examples will be drawn from ongoing research at the department and from up-to-date scientific literature.

Introduction to Sustainable Development, 7,5 cr
By drawing on real case material the course will increase understanding of the nature of the contexts in which the implementation of sustainable development occurs and to critically reflect on these cases using theory. The course will enable understanding of differences between ethical, philosophical and political theories, concepts and essential questions as these are situated in sustainable development. Illustrative cases from Sweden, Australia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia will introduce the operational context in order to examine a number of contemporary Sustainable Development dilemmas such as the uncertainties associated with projected climate change, and reconciling of stakes associated with a changing disease panorama, the provision of renewable energy, and water and food security, and the increased societal inequities that can be attributed to mass migration. All these dilemmas will be situated within diverging social, political and intersectional contexts, which are highly variable on account of on-going changes within the biophysical, institutional and ethico-political realms.

Power, Equity and Transformation, 15 cr
This course module will focus on the role of social justice and equity for the sustainable development agenda. It will examine the relevance of the concepts of 'interest' (bio-physical and material stakes) and 'position-holding' (space for human agency) when implementing sustainability actions, departing from theories on how societal structures are created and maintained. Health equity will be used as case topic, and by applying a rights-based approach to health sustainability students will engage with theories and practices of power and structural violence.
The course module will provide a practical understanding of how scientific and local knowledge, deployed in concert with facilitated learning process design, can enable stakeholders/parties can address inequity in health by developing a platform where 1) dialogue and co-learning is possible while being grounded in practice or action, and 2) different interests can contest, deconstruct, and reconstruct new common visions and plans to the implementation of sustainability actions and health for all.


The course consists of a series of lectures, literature studies, seminars and group and individual assignments and presentations. Sessions are interactive and students are encouraged to draw on their own experiences from the fields presented. Language of instruction is English.


Assessment is based on written examinations, participation in mandatory seminars and group exercises, approved written assignments. If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.
All examinations are in English.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 27, 2021

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Introduction to Implementation Science, 7.5 credits

The course literature is based on reports from international organizations and papers from scientific journals.

Introduction to Sustainable Development, 7.5 credits

Core readings