Skip to main content

Engineering-Business: The Co-production of Institutions, Skills and Engineering Challenges

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Engineering-Business Nexus

Part of the book series: Philosophy of Engineering and Technology ((POET,volume 32))


The long-lived and widely held political imagination surrounding innovation is that of a process by which new developments in science and technology are transformed into new business applications. As a result higher education and professions are eager to impose their expertises onto, and claim authority within, the domain of innovation. In recent decades, universities and other engineering institutions that are typically associated with technology development, or ‘technology push’, have expanded their research and teaching activities toward the business end of innovation – also known as the ‘demand’ or ‘pull’ side. The chapter investigates the new emergent trend in academic institution building where business or demand-oriented competencies are incorporated to engineering curricula. Drawing on the theoretical frameworks of co-production and sociotechnical imaginaries developed by Sheila Jasanoff and others, we analyze how social scientists at the Technical University of Denmark, in response to new demands for autonomous economy within Danish universities, invented the ‘Design and Innovation’ engineering program. Despite its controversial curricular composition, Design and Innovation entailed a revised status for engineering that brought together: creativity; social awareness; and product innovation. The successful implementation of Design & Innovation can be seen as a result of its unique capacity to bring together emphasis on application with new ‘holistic’ visions for higher education. The chapter contributes to contemporary discussions of transformations within the university system and implies that we should look more closely at the interplay between engineering, business and the surrounding society, and how engineering and business are valued, in order to understand the meaning of the engineering-business nexus.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. 1.

    Det teknisk-videnskabelige forskningsråd. Source:

  2. 2.

    “Uddannelses Støtte” translates into “Educational Support”.

  3. 3.


  4. 4.

    The Lisbon Strategy 2000–2001 An analysis and evaluation of the methods used and results achieved. Ref:

  5. 5.

    Bengt-Åke Lundvall and Richard Nelson were among the main authors of the Lisbon Strategy.

  6. 6.

    Danmarks nationale reformprogram, Første fremskridtsrapport, Regeringen 2006.

  7. 7.

    Jasanoff, “Designs on Nature,” (2011).

  8. 8.

  9. 9.


  • Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso (1983).

    Google Scholar 

  • Bijker, W. E., Hughes, T. P., & Pinch, T. J. (Eds.). (1987). The social construction of technological systems: New directions in the sociology and history of technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bruun Jensen, C. (2011). Making lists, enlisting scientists: The bibliometric indicator, uncertainty and emergent agency. Science Studies, 24(2), 64–84.

    Google Scholar 

  • Buch, A. (2012). Governing engineering. In S. H. Christensen, C. Mitcham, B. Li, & Y. An (Eds.), Engineering, development and philosophy: American, Chinese, and European perspectives (pp. 169–182). Dordrecht: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Buch, A. (2016). Ideas of holistic engineering meet engineering work practices. Engineering Studies, 8(2), 140–161.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bush, V. (1945). Science, the endless frontier: A report to the President. US Govt. print. off.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carney, S. (2006). University governance in Denmark: From democracy to accountability? European Educational Research Journal, 5(3–4), 221–233.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davis, M. (1998). Thinking like an engineer: Studies in the ethics of a profession. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Etzkowitz, H., & Leydesdorff, L. (2000). The dynamics of innovation: From national systems and “Mode 2” to a Triple Helix of university–industry–government relations. Research Policy, 29(2), 109–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gaardmand, A. (1993). Dansk byplanlaegning 1938–1992. Copenhagen: Arkitektens forlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibbons, M., et al. (1994). The new production of knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gieryn, T. F. (1983). Boundary-work and the demarcation of science from non-science: Strains and interests in professional ideologies of scientists. American Sociological Review, 48(6), 781–795.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jamison, A., Christensen, S. H., & Botin, L. (2011). The hybrid imagination. Science and technology in cultural perspective. San Francisco: Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Jasanoff, S. (2004). States of knowledge. The co-production of science and social order. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jasanoff, S., & Kim, S. H. (2009). Containing the atom: Sociotechnical imaginaries and nuclear power in the United States and South Korea. Minerva, 47(2), 119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jasanoff, S. (2011). Designs on nature: Science and democracy in Europe and the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jasanoff, S. (2015). Future imperfect: Science, technology, and the imaginations of modernity. In S. Jasanoff & S.-H. Kim (Eds.), Dreamscapes of modernity. Sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of power. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Jorgensen, U., et al. (2011). Foundations for a new type of design-engineers. DS 68-8: In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 8: Design Education, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15–19 Aug 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  • Juhl, J. (2016). Innovation science: Between models and machines. Engineering Studies, 8(2), 116–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Juhl, J., & Lindegaard, H. (2013). Representations and visual synthesis in engineering design. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(1), 20–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lundvall, B.-Å. (1988). Innovation as an interactive process: From user-producer interaction to the national system of innovation. In G. Dosi, C. Freeman, R. Nelson, G. Silverberg, & L. Soete (Eds.), Technical change and economic theory (pp. 349–369). London: Pinter.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lundvall, B.-A. (1992). National systems of innovation: Towards a theory of innovation and interactive learning (pp. 45–67). London: Pinter.

    Google Scholar 

  • MacKenzie, D., & Wajcman, J. (Eds.). (1999). The social shaping of technology. Birkshire: Open University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nelson, R. R. (Ed.). (1993). National innovation systems: A comparative study. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nowotny, H., Scott, P., & Gibbons, M. (2001). Rethinking science: Knowledge and the public in an age of uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Petersen, R. P., & Buch, A. (2016). Making room in engineering design practices. Engineering Studies, 8(2), 93–115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sábato, J., & Mackenzi, M. (1982). La producción de technología. Autónoma o transnacional. Mexico: Nueva Imagen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Strathern, M. (2000). The tyranny of transparency. British Educational Research Journal, 26(3), 309–321. [Wiley, BERA].

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joakim Juhl .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Juhl, J., Buch, A. (2019). Engineering-Business: The Co-production of Institutions, Skills and Engineering Challenges. In: Christensen, S.H., Delahousse, B., Didier, C., Meganck, M., Murphy, M. (eds) The Engineering-Business Nexus. Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, vol 32. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-99635-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-99636-3

  • eBook Packages: EducationEducation (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics