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Description of Master's specialisation Science, Management and Innovation

Preparing for a professional future to address complex societal challenges

The world faces many societal challenges, which are summarised by the United Nations in the Sustainable Development Goals. Problems range from climate change and the need for energy transition to novel disease outbreaks and declining biodiversity. Addressing these challenges requires in-depth knowledge of the natural and computing sciences, but cannot do without knowledge of other disciplines such as public policy, management and innovation. For example, the energy transition relies on human behaviour and policy intervention, and improving global healthcare relates to innovation and change management. Developing and implementing innovative and realistic solutions to such challenges requires academics with an in-depth understanding of societal aspects and social science approaches as well as the analytical skills that are central to the Master’s programmes at the Faculty of Science.

The Science, Management and Innovation Master’s specialisation allows you to apply your science background to a societal theme and enables you to make a difference in your future field of work. You graduate in your original Master’s discipline but are also taught how innovation is managed in companies, how policy is made in government, and discuss several approaches to today’s societal challenges. You will improve your ability to cooperate with actors from other disciplines. This combination of science, policy and business, and the capability to work in multi-disciplinary teams is in high demand, not only in companies but also in non-profit organisations and the public sector.

The Master’s programme consists of two parts, each with a duration of one year. In the first year you will deepen your knowledge of your discipline by following the courses in your Science programme. In the second year you will start with the generic part of the Science, Management and Innovation specialisation. In the final half of the second year you will do a research project addressing a real-life problem, usually carried out in a host organization.


When you start with the Master's Specialisation, you will first select your specialisation theme. We offer four themes that are available to all students in this specialisation: Climate and Energy, Health, Green Industries & IT, and Biodiversity.

Climate and Energy

Human interference with the climate system is deeply intertwined with our energy system. In this theme you will learn about climate science and the various causes and effects of climate change. You will gain experience in analysing and modelling the energy system, and you will learn how to investigate options to mitigate climate change, whether via the transition to a more sustainable energy system or via the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in other sectors.


To reach good health and wellbeing, many challenges need to be faced by healthcare systems. In many parts of the world, health has been improving but new diseases threaten progress. Moreover, new forms of organisation and modern IT developments are changing the face of the health sector. In this theme you will learn how to address various aspects of innovations, upcoming diseases, new pharmaceuticals, AI applications and personalized care.

Green Industries & IT

Industries generate a lot of physico-chemical data that contain the potential to make processes more economically viable and more sustainable. Digital prediction models (Industry4.0) are essential to control the process for such gains in efficiency. Valuable industrial prediction models require understanding of the origin of the measurements, of the structure of the processes and of the ways in which new predictions may provide economic and environmental value. This SMI track provides the insight in these three aspects.


Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide. Reversing this decline is key in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as biodiversity is at the heart of human well-being and life in water and life on land. Therefore, biodiversity is (increasingly becoming) a point of focus for governments, organizations and companies. In this theme you will learn about biodiversity conservation and the various causes and effects of biodiversity change.

For information please contact: SMIcoordinator@fnwi.ru.nl