Ideas all around at brainstorm new Convergence master Sustainable Health

What is the graduation profile of an ideal Sustainable Health master’s candidate, and where is the overlap with current educational offerings? During the brainstorming about the new transdisciplinary research master Sustainable Health, this was hotly debated. ‘The ideal master candidate is a five-legged sheep.’

The first brainstorm on the new master’s in Sustainable Health was well attended. Among the thirty present were healthcare providers, teachers, students and various social partners from Rotterdam and Delft.

With this brainstorm, the master’s development team wanted to gather what was on the minds of their peers. Prodean Maarten Frens, who came up with the idea for the master’s, said: ‘There has been far too little change to the initial idea. We hope to change that today.’ Want to stay informed about the plans? Then subscribe to the email list.

There has been far too little change to the initial idea. We hope to change that today.

Prof.dr. M.A. (Maarten) Frens

Erasmus MC

Vice-dean of Education Erasmus MC


From there, participants got down to business. First, they discussed the current education landscape and where gaps or overlaps exist on the Sustainable Health theme. Then, they got to work on redesigning a figure to express the master’s content.

For instance, one table pragmatically set to work designing a globe, and another discussed a variant of the double diamond model. This model starts with the idea that students first exchange their knowledge with each other and then acquire new transdisciplinary research skills from a common starting point.



The final topic was the ideal master candidate. ‘Poor student’, the participants said, because the ideal candidate is a ‘five-legged sheep’ [red: Dutch saying for someone who can do it all]. The future professional is expected to shape transitions in the healthcare sector. While some felt that the student should therefore be able to connect theory and practice and be action- and strategy-oriented, others felt that skills such as humility and being able to “be” with the not-knowing and thus learning to work within the big global sustainability issues were important.

It was also mentioned that students could become “bridge builders” and “zoomers”: able to understand the language of different STEM and gamma disciplines and have the ability to move from the individual to the global level and back again. That’s quite a lot in two years.

Up to date

Now, it is up to the team responsible for the Sustainable Health master to further materialise the ideas raised. Wilma Oosthoek of the development team: ‘We live in a time full of linguistic confusion. It is up to us now to create a common language between different disciplines and between the university and society.’

The next steps will involve a follow-up brainstorming session and meetings with students and community partners. Would you like to stay informed about this? Then, sign up for our email list to stay up to date.