Management students and engineering students have been challenged to come up with solutions to sustainability challenges in the first interdisciplinary elective at Master level  at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) in co-operation with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). In the Sustainable Business Game, which launches this month, students from RSM’s MSc Global Business and Sustainability, and MSc Management of Innovation work with students from TU Delft.

The module has already been running for eight years at TUDelft, and is now incorporated into two of RSM’s master programmes. The Sustainable Business Game is linked to the Clean Tech Challenge, a business competition which has national finals, a boot camp, and a global final in London.

“Several of our MSc Global Business and Sustainability electives are already inter-disciplinary, covering supply chains, entrepreneurship and innovation, so this was a next step,” said RSM assistant professor Steve Kennedy. “For students, the experience of working together and cross-pollinating knowledge from different domains is vital to addressing sustainability challenges and being able to break out of silos of thinking that stifle innovation.”

The students are asked for business ideas using clean technologies – a process, product or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through improving energy efficiency amongst other ideas. They seek a tangible outcome such as a new product, process or business model, complete with a business plan, for their new enterprise.

Esther Blom of the Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship at Delft University of Technology said: “We have run this course for more than eight years already, but this is the first time that 30 students from Rotterdam will participate. I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes of the multidisciplinary teams we are forming this year.”

First, students must propose their idea, then test its feasibility in workshops; along the way all the students attend lectures and refine their ideas as they acquire new knowledge. Entrepreneurs and academics help mentor the teams on the course. Past competitions have generated ideas ranging from renewable energy technologies and waste solutions to social challenges. It is hoped that RSM and TU Delft students will progress to the Dutch national semi-finals and finals of the Clean Tech Challenge by the time they completed the elective’s sessions. The national winners then head for an international competition in London where the top prize is the opportunity to put their idea into action and £10,000.

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Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

TU Delft’s mission is to make a significant contribution towards a sustainable society for the 21st century by conducting ground-breaking scientific and technological research which is acknowledged as world class, by training scientists and engineers with a genuine commitment to society and by helping to translate knowledge into technological innovations and activity with both economic and social value.

The course is offered by DCE; the Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship; Faculty of Technology Policy and Management, TU Delft.

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