About this minor
By using an interactive and active learning format, the students will understand how to make our ecological footprint more sustainable.
This Minor is designed to provide the students with information and analytic skills that are necessary to understand the complex issues that challenge our ability to develop sustainable systems now and in the future, as we are living in an era of unprecedented human impact over nature and resources, where the technological revolution brought us to a point where it may seem that our daily lives are not directly connected to natural laws.
The students will acquire knowledge to understand, prevent, mitigate and remediate environmental problems and to create sustainable (and remunerative) solutions with the aim to reduce our impact/ecological footprint on Earth. With this new understanding or eco-literacy the students will be able to think critically and take up environmental sustainable decisions, which may include transforming environmental problems into business solutions. In order to reach these goals, three modules of 5 EC each on Environmental Sciences, The Economics of Sustainability, and Bio-based Economy (as a sustainable solution to merge environmental sustainability and business) will be implemented in a holistic and integrated manner. The modules are designed in an interactive and active learning format (problem-based learning) and have a strong “hands-on” approach, with links to real case-studies in Rotterdam and in the Netherlands.
The Minor is open to 3rd year students, preferably with a background in life sciences, economy or social sciences.
The content is of special relevance to future green business managers, environmental economists, environmental scientists, social scientists, ecologists, designers, planners and entrepreneurs that will work for the transition from a fossil-based to a circular economy.
Bio-based Economy involves three distinct elements: biotechnological knowledge, renewable biomass, and the integration across applications. In order to achieve these goals, bio-based economy follows holistic approaches in order to consider ecological, economic, and social concerns and integrate them for the purpose of sustainable solutions. This module will therefore examine the entire value chain of bio-based products: from raw materials and biotechnological/industrial processes used to convert these resources into (new) biobased products, to the marketing and consumption of such products. The students will also deal with the environmental, social and economic dimensions of the bio-based economy from a micro- and a macro-level perspective, taking innovation, institutions and policies into account.
Ecosystems provide us with natural resources as well as with several services, such as air and water purification, nutrient cycling, climate regulation, plant pollination and waste recycling. The future of the coming generations depends on our ability to understand the environmental impacts of our actions and to generate effective solutions that can prevent, mitigate and remediate our ecological footprint. In this module, students will learn to diagnose the severity of a variety of environmental problems and to generate plans to mitigate environmental problems.
Among the outcomes, students will be able to identify and apply the main ecological principles of sustainability, identify ecosystem services, and develop an appreciation of urban ecology through direct experience with local ecosystems.
The Economics of sustainability module will cover the following aspects and topics:
- The theoretical conceptualisation and operationalisation of sustainability in Economics;
- Circular economic structures and sustainable business models;
- Systems thinking for sustainability;
- Economic growth vs. sustainable development;
- Transition to sustainable cities;
- Green energy and climate change;
- Demographic dynamics, income inequality and sustainability.
understand the principles of ecosystem organization and functioning, environmental sustainability and resilience;
analyse and estimate the impact of environmental problems on natural ecosystems;
identify approaches to mitigate and reduce environmental issues;
have a clear picture of the concepts of green growth and resource dependencies/reutilization, including the recycling and cascading of biomass;
be familiar with the theoretical conceptualisation and operationalisation of sustainability in Economics;
understand how circular economic structures can be created;
be acquainted with institutions, policies, governance and regulations for a sustainable economy;
have a proper knowledge of the recent technological developments in the service of sustainability in the fields of energy (including biofuels), materials (including bioplastics), biotechnology, waste processing and agriculture;
start thinking in systems by acquiring the basic principles of industrial ecology and regenerative cities.
Good to know
- Open to max 40 students;
- The Minor requires a full-time dedication : we discourage the students to enrol supplementary courses running in the same period;
- The Minor will be entirely conducted in English language;
- The Minor will take place in the Erasmus University College building (Nieuwemarkt 1A, Rotterdam)
- The attendance to lectures, PBL sessions and workshops is strictly mandatory ;
- A considerable amount of self-study during each week is needed (30 hours on average);
- The Minor will follow the EUR calendar. It will start on 2 September 2024 with a mandatory session on PBL educational system.
Teaching method and examination
- Biobased Economy
- Environmental Sciences
- The Economics of Sustainability
The teaching method includes problem-based learning (PBL) sessions, lectures and workshops. The PBL sessions are organised in small working groups (around 10-15 students per class). Lectures are given by both EUC academic staff and external guest experts in the field. A workshop will be organised at BlueCity Rotterdam, where hands-on activities are planned. These activities will help the students in understanding the opportunities as well as the bottlenecks when translating theory into practice.
Teaching materials include scientific articles, reports, book chapters, and videos.
Method of eximination:
The method of examination will include three components:
A final presentation, covering the content of the three modules in a holistic manner.
Final assignments, one per module.
Professional conduct. In order to maintain the professional conduct unaffected, a student can skip one mandatory session per module only.
Composition of final grade:
The composition of the final grade will include the combination of these individual components:
- An individual final presentation: 30%. The individual final presentation will cover the content of the three modules in a holistic manner.
- Final assignments: 60% in total. Each single module has a final group assignment. The final assignment grade will merge the grades of each single assignment (20% each).
- Professional conduct: 10%. In order to maintain the professional conduct unaffected, a student can skip one mandatory session per module only.