Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Initiative

Programme Objectives

The SDG Initiative allows students to think of an SDG challenge of their choice and to propose an innovative policy solution to resolve it. As part of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, having specialized knowledge and hands-on experience on how to meet the SDGs is in high demand from government agencies, international organizations, private companies and local associations.

Students benefit from the experience of building and implementing their own interdisciplinary SDG projects while collaborating with multiple actors at different levels of society. Using design thinking methodology, students develop entrepreneurial skills and gain team building experience as part of this program by learning how to develop their own sustainable development initiative. In doing so, they take part in identifying clear project goals and objectives, conducting research, building partnerships and evaluating impact.  By working in groups on concrete projects rooted in their local environments, students gain concrete project management experience, in addition to a broad knowledge of the challenges and opportunities related to the SDGs to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda. These skills gained from completion of the certificate serve as a valuable asset for students’ future careers across multiple sectors.

Programme Curriculum

The SDG Initiative includes:

  • An intensive seminar with expert speakers and external organisations to be held during the week before the start of the spring semester. The seminar provides the introduction to various aspects of the SDGs, ranging from the role of international organisations to local initiatives to sustainable finance and the private sector to help students gain insights and ideas for the upcoming projects.
  • A dedicated weekly SDG Project Workshop course during the spring semester, providing the tools and methodology to build a sustainable development project, and weekly feedback on the project progression. This course is  worth 4 credits and replaces an elective course. 
  • A final report and presentation and Q&A in front of an external jury.


This agenda is subject to modification.

  • October 19 2022: Application deadline
  • November 2022: Announcement of the teams selected
  • January 16-20, 2023: SDG Intensive Seminar, exact dates for the week to be confirmed
  • January - May 2023: SDG Project Workshop course
  • May 2023: Final presentations and final projects due   

HOW to apply

Applications are open to first year Master’s students from the School of Public Affairs. 

Your applications should include the following elements: 

  • 3-4 pages proposal identifying the topic that your team would like to focus on; it should include a brief background section on the subject, a clear understanding of the problem you have selected, a short benchmark of similar projects that have been tried in the past, and your initial ideas for your proposed solution.
  • A CV or bio from each of the team members is also required.

Applications must include teams of 5 members. Teams must be comprised of first year Master’s students and must be committed to continue working together to develop their projects throughout the spring semester: Teams are required to attend all elements of the SDG Initiative. Teams may be contacted in October for a final selection interview.

Deadline to apply: October 19th. Complete this Google form to apply (including project proposals and CVs or bios to be attached in a single document; in addition to the 3-4 page proposal). Groups should complete one application per team.

Please note that students may apply to only one Policy Lab activity. Students applying to the SDG Initiative may not apply to the Public Policy Incubator or Gender Equality and Public Policy Certificate.

To see examples of SDG projects from previous years:

contact us

For questions related to the SDG Initiative and GPPN, please contact Emelyne Grellety.

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