Maja Van Der Velden

Professor - Digitalisation
Image of Maja Van Der Velden
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22852816
Room 7163
Visiting address Gaustadalléen 23B 0373 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1080 0316 Oslo

Short bio

I am the leader of the Sustainability & Design research group and academic lead of the associated Sustainability & Design Lab. My research is focused on the design of emerging digital technologies and the practices they help shape. Informed by Critical Theory of Technology, Feminist technoscience, and Systems Thinking, I pursue research topics such as sustainable AI, repair and recycling, circular energy, and regulation through design. Democratic participation, intersectionality, diversity, and cognitive justice guide my research approach.

These theoretical and methodological approaches are also reflected in my teaching, in which I work with a critical constructivist learning methodology, actively involving students in exploring the social and ethical effects of technology design and use. Prior to joining the University of Oslo, I worked for a number of years advising civil society organisations on the adaptation of information and communications technology, in particular in contexts of economic development and social change.


I have implemented fieldwork in Canada (teenage patients and privacy), Ghana (repair and recycling), India (digitalisation of local health knowledge of traditional healers), Kenya (global knowledge sharing in a Masai community), Netherlands (repair), Norway (teenage patients, sustainable business models), and the Middle East (gender, human rights). In terms of research leadership at the University of Oslo, I am at the moment active as:

  • Deputy leader of Futuring Nordics, a UiO:Nordic-financed project, focusing on the transition towards sustainable business models of Nordic companies (2019-2022). My research focus is repair and sustainable business models.
  • Leader of Circular Energy, a UiO:Energy-financed project, focusing on the role of product design, maintenance, and repair in energy conservation (2021-2023)

Past projects

  • Work package leader in Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART), an Horizon2020-financed project, in which we investigated the social and environmental sustainability in the lifecycle of mobile phones and other electronics, looked at the resistance to regulation in the global value chains of electronics, and proposed policy reform proposals for products. I implemented research in Norway, Ghana, and the Netherlands..
  • Project leader of  Cool Technology for Young People with Longterm Health Challenges (KULU) (article), a Participatiory Design project in which we explored new methods and design with and for young people with health challenges.
  • Work package leader Autonomy and Automation in an Information Society for All (final report to funder). The project had two main objectives: 1) to contribute to new understandings of how digital automation processes in the public sector interact with the autonomy needs of the users of these services and the effects of these interactions on the inclusive information society; and 2) to develop new designs for public sector services that support flexible configurations of digital automation and human autonomy.


I teach IN5010/IN9010 Design, Technology & Society, a master/PhD course in which we look at different theoretical perspectives on the relations between design, technology, and society. We explore these relations 'hands-on' in discussions, design and deconstruction workshops, visualisations, and written work. Some of the topics we explore are sustainability, autonomous systems, privacy/surveillance, gender, and repair. It is a five-week intensive course (90 contact hours). In addition, I give several guest lectures in other IFI courses, focusing on social and ethical aspects of informatics.


I am supervising PhD candidates and master students on a variety of topics:

PhD candidates (main supervisor):

PhD candidates (co-supervisor):

Master students:

Twenty-seven of my master students have successfully finished their master exam. I am currently the supervisor of the following master students (2019-2021), who are all working in sustainability and design related topics:

  • Cathrine Bui (AI and gender)
  • Maren Søby Fosser (seamless design)
  • Anne Sofie Gjøby
  • Jakob Kongsrud
  • Suresh Sapkota (repair)
  • Siv Årsand

Other positions (past en present)

Tags: circular economy, critical data science, critical theory of technology, design justice, ethics and information technology, gender, sustainable digitalisation, systems thinking


  • van der Velden, Maja (2021). ‘I felt a new connection between my fingers and brain’: a thematic analysis of student reflections on the use of pen and paper during lectures. Teaching in Higher Education.  ISSN 1356-2517. . doi: Show summary
  • Oteng-Ababio, Martin & van der Velden, Maja (2020). Connectivity in Chaotic Urban Spaces: Mapping Informal Mobile Phone Market Clusters in Accra, Ghana. Journal of Asian and African Studies.  ISSN 0021-9096. . doi: 10.1177/0021909620960147 Show summary
  • Oteng-Ababio, Martin; van der Velden, Maja & Taylor, Mark Beaumont (2020). Building Policy Coherence for Sound Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Management in a Developing Country. The Journal of environment & development.  ISSN 1070-4965.  29 . doi: 10.1177/1070496519898218 Show summary
  • Taylor, Mark Beaumont & Van Der Velden, Maja (2019). Resistance to Regulation: Failing Sustainability in Product Lifecycles. Sustainability.  ISSN 2071-1050.  11(22) . doi: 10.3390/su11226526 Full text in Research Archive. Show summary
  • Junge, Ines & van der Velden, Maja (2018). Obsolescence in Information and Communication Technology: A Critical Discourse Analysis, In David G. Kreps; Charles Melvin Ess; Louise Leenen & Kai K. Kimppa (ed.),  This Changes Everything - ICT and Climate Change: What Can We Do?.  springer.  ISBN 978-3-319-99605-9.  14.  s 188 - 201 Show summary
  • van der Velden, Maja (2018). Digitalisation and the UN Sustainable Development Goals: What role for design. ID&A Interaction design & architecture(s).  ISSN 1826-9745.  (37), s 160- 174 Full text in Research Archive. Show summary
  • van der Velden, Maja (2018). ICT and Sustainability: Looking Beyond the Anthropocene, In David G. Kreps; Charles Melvin Ess; Louise Leenen & Kai K. Kimppa (ed.),  This Changes Everything - ICT and Climate Change: What Can We Do?.  springer.  ISBN 978-3-319-99605-9.  12.  s 166 - 180 Show summary
  • van der Velden, Maja; Joshi, Suhas Govind & Culén, Alma Leora (2018). Designed for Learning: Experiences with the intensive course format in informatics. NOKOBIT - Norsk konferanse for organisasjoners bruk av informasjonsteknologi.  ISSN 1892-0748.  26(1) Show summary
  • Sommervold, Margaret Machniak & van der Velden, Maja (2017). Visions of Illness, Disease, and Sickness in Mobile Health Applications. Societies.  ISSN 2075-4698.  7(4) . doi: 10.3390/soc7040028 Full text in Research Archive.

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  • Maitre-Ekern, Eléonore; Taylor, Mark Beaumont & van der Velden, Maja (2020). Towards a Sustainable Circular Economy: SMART Reform Proposals. Show summary
  • van der Velden, Maja (2020). Apple uses trademark law to strengthen its monopoly on repair. . doi:
  • Oteng-Ababio, Martin & van der Velden, Maja (2019). “Welcome to Sodom” – Six myths about electronic waste in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. Standplaats Wereld.
  • Oteng-Ababio, Martin & van der Velden, Maja (2019). 'Welcome to Sodom' - Six myths about electronic waste in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. Blogging for Sustainability.
  • Taylor, Mark Beaumont & van der Velden, Maja (2019). Resisting Regulation: Failing sustainability in product lifecycles.
  • van der Velden, Maja (2019). Fixing the World One Thing at the Time: Community Repair and the Circular Economy.
  • van der Velden, Maja (2019). March 8 – Women’s Health, Decent Work and the Electronics Industry. Blogging for Sustainability.
  • van der Velden, Maja (2019). Vi er alle tapere i saken Apple vant. Dagens næringsliv.  ISSN 0803-9372.
  • van der Velden, Maja (2017). Design for living in the doughnut: The case of the mobile phone.
  • van der Velden, Maja (2017). Thinking with Care: Exploring interdisciplinarity in a global research project.
  • van der Velden, Maja (2017). Why the most sustainable mobile is the one you own. KLIMA - Et magasin om klimaforskning fra CICERO.

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Published Oct. 25, 2011 11:03 PM - Last modified Jan. 17, 2021 2:13 PM