MSc in Sustainable Business: Leadership, Innovation and Management

Posted on 17 December 2020

Join our exciting MSc in Sustainable Business: Leadership, Innovation and Management delivered by the University of York and Maastricht University

Three students walking past the Environment Building at the University of York, with the living wall in the background.

York and Maastricht Universities are excited to announce that applications are open for their first education programme, an MSc in Sustainable Business: Leadership, Innovation and Management (SUBLIM)

Building on the existing Partnership between the Universities of York and Maastricht, this programme will prepare students’ to drive change in response to the unprecedented social, economic and environmental challenges our planet is facing.  Staff from both institutions will develop students as innovators who can build a more sustainable and resilient future.  They will be able to transform the role of business from being one of the causes of the sustainability crisis to the initiator and leader of sustainability innovations and solutions.

Maastricht University’s President Professor Dr. Martin Paul said: “This innovative course in Sustainable Business shows what is possible when complementary academic expertise comes together. The SUBLIM programme has been developed within a genuine grass-roots partnership, and will equip students with strong employability skills, not only through collaborative and problem-based learning, but also through our close business links, with a strong emphasis on change management.  I am delighted that one of the first results of the collaboration between York and Maastricht is in the field of sustainability.  It underlines how important it is for us as universities to contribute to solving relevant societal issues.”  

The University of York’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery said: “This programme has our university principles at its core; to collaborate for public good and respond to one of society’s biggest challenges, environmental sustainability.  This programme is an exemplar for how European partnerships can and will continue despite the many challenges arising from the pandemic and Brexit.  It is an outstanding example of collaboration between our universities during a time of much uncertainty and change to the way we work.”

Two students sitting in a booth style study space at Maastricht University.

The MSc in Sustainable Business: Leadership, Innovation and Management is a collaboration between the Maastricht Sustainability Institute (part of the Triple Crown accredited School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University) and the Department of Environment and Geography, the University of York's world leading centre for teaching and research on sustainable solutions to the world's environmental issues. The programme incorporates teaching from both universities to develop students’ competencies in sustainable development, business innovation, international collaboration, stakeholder participation and communication.  Students will be provided with the insights and tools to drive sustainability initiatives within companies and other organisations. 

The programme uses a mixture of problem-based learning (PBL) and research-led approaches to teaching to develop students' expertise in independent and critical thinking to enable them to tackle real-world sustainability problems.  Graduates of the programme will be able to make informed decisions regarding sustainability priorities and solutions, and will be equipped to take on roles in companies, public institutions or non-governmental organisations that are committed to international agreements and strive for sustainability. 

Dr Nancy Bocken, Professor in Sustainable Business at Maastricht University said: “The SUBLIM program is a fantastic and much-needed Master’s program to help develop the future leaders needed in business and society in order to address the world’s most pressing sustainability needs such as climate change, widespread biodiversity loss and inequalities.  The programme has a unique focus on the potential role of business and entrepreneurs as levers for change in sustainability transitions and brings together interdisciplinary knowledge from fields such as sustainability, environmental and social sciences, entrepreneurship, leadership, change management, and innovation.  We warmly welcome students from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines to the SUBLIM programme!”  

This was echoed by Dr Claire Hughes, Director of Learning and Teaching, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, who said: “Students studying on the MSc in Sustainable Business: Innovation, Leadership and Management (SUBLIM) will experience an exciting combination of problem-based and research-led teaching from the Universities of York and Maastricht. These approaches will ensure that graduates from the programme are equipped to tackle the sort of complex sustainability problems that arise in a business setting as well as design evidence-based solutions and collaborate in an international setting. The strong focus on project work and engagement with external organisations gives students the opportunity to apply the skills gained through the programme to real-world problems. We are excited to be working with students and future leaders in sustainable business'.

Maastricht’s Dean of the School of Business and Economics and Chair of the Danish Council on Climate Change, Professor Dr. Peter Møllgaard, stated: “The Paris Agreement is the global framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure a green transition. In response to this call for action, the York-Maastricht MSc in Sustainable Business delivers leaders and team players that can provide innovative solutions to the grand challenges of our time. Co-creation of these solutions requires the integrative thinking that are the hallmark of the new education that will be based on problem-based learning.” The partnership already offers student and staff exchanges through the Erasmus+ scheme and has supported a number of research projects. It is hoped that this is the first of many shared education programmes and we are looking into other areas and initiatives for collaborative learning between both universities.


This course leads to a University of York degree, not to a Maastricht University degree. Students registered on this course are formally registered at the University of York.

Further information

To find out more about the course or to apply, please visit MSc in Sustainable Business: Leadership, Innovation and Management.

  • The York-Maastricht Partnership was founded in December 2018 to establish joint research projects, teaching collaborations, knowledge exchange, student exchanges and the sharing of best practice among staff.
  • The School of Business and Economics (SBE), Maastricht University is one of only 1 per cent of business schools worldwide to be Triple Crown Accredited (EQUIS, AACSB and AAMBA). They provide high-quality education to students and conduct excellent research, offering an international perspective in the fields of economics and international business administration.  Its seven research themes focus on interdisciplinary solutions to today’s global challenges.
  • The Maastricht Sustainability Institute (formerly known as ICIS), was integrated into the School of Business and Economics (SBE), not only giving it a new name but also an active contribution to SBE’s 'Vision 2025' is foreseen in which Sustainable Development, Digitisation, and Globalisation are focal areas.
  • The University of York’s Department of Environment and Geography is a leading centre for teaching and research on sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental issues.