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Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology


The minor Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology aims to make students aware of the major sustainability issues that must be addressed in the next generation. The activity of human beings is draining natural resources because of the non-circular way of living. Energy use and production of food and other products lead to loss of biodiversity, climate change and pollution of land, oceans and atmosphere. In solving these issues, nature can be a great source of inspiration, because most natural processes are circular. Many of the underlying questions that need to be addressed are in the realms of chemistry, biology, chemical engineering and biotechnology. Thus, this minor introduces students to the concepts of sustainability from a (bio)chemical point of view.

This LDE minor is a joint effort of the departments Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering at TU Delft and the Institute of Chemistry at Leiden University, and includes guest lectures from specialists in the field.

The minor consists of three courses in each period, and a group project running the whole semester. The first period starts off with the three-week course Anthropocene: The Planet of Man, which serves as an introduction into the subject as well as for building a community of students. This course is followed by two theoretical courses and the start of the group project. The second period offers again two theoretical courses, a series of guest lectures, and the larger part of the group project.

Educational forms comprise a mix of lectures, seminars, guest lectures, and group work, and will take place at both universities.

Learning Objectives

The minor program is intended for students from different backgrounds to extend the horizon of their knowledge around the major challenges in sustainable chemistry and biotechnology.
After completing the program, students:
1. can explain the general concept of sustainability and evaluate a potential sustainable solution to a chemistry problem;
2. can describe natural element cycles and critically reflect on the impact of human activity on these cycles;
3. can critically reflect on sustainability of chemical processes and products;
4. can describe the fundamental chemical problems in energy conversion and critically reflect on sustainable energy production;
5. can demonstrate a capacity to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams and contribute to a shared goal.


Given the chemical nature of the topics, without a good basic knowledge of chemistry of the students, the required level cannot be reached. Entrance levels have been formulated:

  • Academic bachelor’s students in the natural sciences that teach chemistry at least as supporting subject can enter the minor.

  • HBO bachelor’s students in Chemistry who have completed all courses of the first three years can participate.
    The admission committee will decide on admission in other cases on an individual basis.
    A maximum of 60 students can be admitted. If there are fewer than 15 students, the minor will be cancelled.

Selection criteria:

  • LDE students who are eligible for automatic admission are admitted in the order of registration;

  • LDE students have preference over students from other universities;

  • Academic students have preferences over HBO students;

  • Students that are not automatically eligible can be admitted by the admission committee only after May 31.
    LDE = Leiden/Delft/Erasmus Universities


The minor Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology is a selection minor with an early registration deadline. Registration is open from April 1st, 2021 until April 15th, 2021.

  • LST students register via Osiris (TU Delft).

  • MST students register via uSis (Leiden University).

  • Students from Leiden University register via uSis.

  • Students from TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam apply via their home institution.

  • Students from other universities can apply with a registration form.
    uSis Prospectus number: 4000MSCHBN
    uSis Class number: 1078
    All students will be informed by the education coordinator of the minor about placement before the middle of May.

Information and Contact

More information can be found on the minor website.
Timetables will be published on MyTimeTable in June 2021. Please note that this is a full-time minor running the whole first semester.
If you have any questions, please contact the education coordinator of the minor ir. A.A. Witkam
PLEASE NOTE: On March 31, 16:30-17:00 and 17:00-17:30, we’ll have two online information sessions during the TU Delft Minor Event. You can ask all your questions there!