The programme

Meeting the growing demand for energy, clean water and sufficient food without depleting natural resources and while maintaining the earth’s biodiversity - these are some of the most complex global challenges that we are facing today.

In order to ensure our future on earth, we need to deal with these challenges proactively and find innovative and sustainable solutions. In searching for these solutions, various kinds of knowledge need to be brought together:

  • knowledge from the domain of the natural sciences about energetic and ecological systems and cycles;
  • interdisciplinary knowledge, i.e. in which scientific knowledge is combined and integrated with knowledge about and economics;
  • knowledge from the domain of the social sciences to provide insight into how we can improve the current situation and realise long-term social change.

Core programme (18 EC)
The minor has three core courses:

  • Current Sustainable Energy Technologies
  • Energy & Climate Change; Science, Policy & Economics
  • System Innovation & Transition Management

Elective(6 EC)
Besides this core programme, you can choose an elective from various courses on energy, climate change, environment, water and food issues. This elective can either have a pure scientific focus or a more interdisciplinary or socially oriented focus.

Project (6 EC)
In the final project, a comprehensive approach is adopted in order to clearly identify the problems and develop promising scenarios for the future. You will work with other students on a case study in which you bring all your knowledge and expertise together, integrating the available knowledge from both the natural and the social sciences to come up with a viable solution for that particular issue.

An example of a case is an imaginary project in which the Dutch government has hired you - a consultant in an advisory agency specialised in sustainability issues - to develop a strategy to cope with future phosphorus scarcity issues. You must develop your recommendations based on your knowledge of the science and technology of phosphorus and on quantitative considerations of sustainability. But you should also take into account uncertainties and risks related to the different technologies and strategies and how these weigh in the decision process of policymakers.

Published by  GSS

3 September 2014