Grand Challenges
Leadership - Responsibility - Sustainability

Grand Challenges

Grand challenges – it is more than evident that the next generation, YOUR generation, will be faced with unprecedented challenges. How to feed 9 billion people in 2050, on a planet that is heavily pressured by climate change, lack of natural resources, acidified oceans, and shortage of food and fresh water (to name a few). And it is also evident that the current system, with its focus on growth no matter what, has caused a number of these problems. It’s time for a systems change.

EUR traditionally is THE University for Future Leaders in business and (public & private) management.  Those leaders need, in this era, to be trained in a systemic and holistic way and to be fully aware of the challenges facing us and capable of handling them.

Future CEO's

"EUR delivers the CEOs of the future. This means that sustainability and social responsibility have to be in their DNA."

Pauline van der Meer-Mohr, former President of Erasmus University Rotterdam

These challenges can only be faced, solved or at least dealt with, by creative and holistic thinking. This requires individuals with courage, optimism and a strong belief in a better future. Will you be such an individual?

Students who are admitted to this track will embark on a fascinating and exploratory journey, with some of the world’s frontrunners   in sustainable thinking (all of them happen to work at Erasmus University). Take a look at the units we’ve prepared for you.

Circular versus linear systems

Did you ever go into a heavy rainstorm, then tried to keep yourself dry with an umbrella, and lose it because you hadn’t taken the blowing wind into account? This is the difference in linear vs holistic thinking. You can look at a problem isolated, or take the circumstances into account. The latter is way more complicated, time intensive, potentially not efficient, but most probably way more effective.

Grass roots and participation

Grass roots & participation: how to stimulate people to take back control of their life, their neighborhood, their education and their future?  In block 2, two front runners in the Netherlands will show you examples of transition initiatives and movements and trigger you to get involved. In this block you will also learn to analyse our changing society from a transition perspective, and develop a critical stance towards the concept of sustainability in order to reinstall its integral impact.

Tipping points & planetary boundaries

You will be provided with different views on tipping points: what are tipping points (philosophy and earth system science), how can you spot them (sense making; business administration) what can you do to prevent them (law & economics)

Multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary. Why?

We need good governance, to protect us against acid seas, degraded soils, and pollution. Will Law save the world? (Read: ‘Revolution Justified’ by Roger Cox)

We need integrated reporting: companies need to report on the natural resources they take out of the earth, currently without paying for them. So will accountants save the world? 
Accountants will save the world, by Peter Bakker) 

We, individual human beings, need to make a mind shift – why is it acceptable to buy (or sell) junk food, or buy cheap clothes which are, we know, produced by poor people in miserable circumstances. Will Psychologists save the world? 
(Read: Psychology for a better world. Or watch this video.) 

And perhaps we can use some moral guidance, some shining of light in this complex world. Will philosophers save the world? 
(Dutch only: 
listen to the impressive speech of Wubbo Ockels)

Students Grand Challenges