sustainable chemistry biotechnology
Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology
a Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minor

If mankind wants to survive into the 22nd century, we will need to change the way we live drastically. The human impact on our planet is everywhere, we are changing the atmosphere, the oceans and the land, leading to global warming, climate change, loss of biodiversity and pervasive pollution. The transition towards a  circular economy is the biggest future challenge for humanity. 

The joint Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minors are multidisciplinary and open to all students of Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

chemistry biology

The aim of the minor Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology  is to give students a good view of where the big questions and problems regarding sustainability lie and how they can approach these problems, regardless of whether they will work in academia, industry or politics. 

This minor is the result of long-standing cooperation between the Leiden Institute of Chemistry and the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology departments of the faculty of Applied Science at the TU Delft. These departments collaborate by providing the joint degree bachelors Molecular Science and Technology and Life Science and Technology and now join forces in organizing the minor and providing the teachers.

Whereas Leiden has a clear focus on fundamental chemistry, the emphasis in Delft is on biotechnology and chemical engineering aspects. Students from the Erasmus University Rotterdam are welcome to apply (as are any other students), provided they can demonstrate sufficient skills in chemistry.

One of the main parts of the course is a group project that runs over the full length of the minor. Students choose their own topics and in mixed groups set out to find a solution. 


Reasons to choose a Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minor:

1. Joint education by three top-class universities.LDE
2. Important societal challenges and new solutions.
3. Educators and students from different academic fields.
4. Cases by companies, governments and NGOs.
5. Expand your network in Leiden, Den Haag, Delft and Rotterdam.

More Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minors

What are the key features of the multidisciplinary Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minors?

  • Admission requirements: Most Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minors are open to all students of Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam. A small number also require prior knowledge or involve a selection process.
  • Number of places: Although it varies according to the minor, between 40 and 90 students can participate (see the link below for numbers for each minor). A number of places are reserved for each university in order to ensure a balanced distribution from the different programmes.
  • Language: All Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minors are taught in English.
  • Credits: All minors have a coherent program of 30 EC. It is possible to only follow the first block of 15 EC.
  • Location: The lectures and seminars are held in one or more of the following cities: Leiden, Delft, The Hague, Rotterdam. 
  • Applications: You apply for a Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minor via eduXchange.
  • Selection: This is a selection minor. Make sure you check the application date.


Lecturers about this minor:

‘A minor that focuses on sustainability from a chemistry and biotechnology point of view is unique,’ says Marcellus Ubbink, program director of the bachelor Life Science and Technology at Leiden University. ‘I felt we needed a modern minor that appeals to students, who are concerned with sustainability issues.’

 ‘Especially solving this kind of sustainability problems is always multidirectional in teams with different backgrounds. People from the industry ask us to train students to work in multidisciplinary groups because that is what they do. We also have guest speakers from the industry to learn from their approach and to hear about new issues. You can have beautiful theories on how to go circular, but in the end, you need customers, it needs to be cheap, implementable and large scale.’

Content coordinator from Leiden University is Dennis Hetterscheid, an associate professor in Leiden in the area of energy and sustainability. He stresses the importance to train new students in the field of sustainability: ‘The transition to a circular system is the biggest challenge of mankind in the coming years. Chemistry and biotechnology are a huge part of that. It's important that we make students aware of this and train them.’

Read more