Master's programme in Science, Business and Innovation

Understanding innovation in life and energy sciences

Think big. Turn scientific inventions into succesful products.

Successfully introducing scientific knowledge and inventions into the market is a complex process in which science and business cooperate to the fullest extent at each stage of development. Are you curious about how to integrate both the scientific and the business side of innovations? Do you want to play a crucial part in determining the economic success of innovations? Then the Science, Business & Innovation (SBI) Master at VU Amsterdam is the programme for you.

Understanding Innovation in Life and Energy Sciences 

The Master SBI is unique in the Netherlands and is a close collaboration between the Faculty of Sciences, the School of Business and Economics, and the Faculty of Social Sciences. Science, Business and Innovation is a Master's Programme, offered by VU Amsterdam only. All up-to-date information for this programme is therefore available on this website.

Your profile

The Master SBI is a challenging programme for students who already have a solid background in the natural sciences, technology studies and science based innovation studies. Students with a Bachelor’s degree in SBI from VU Amsterdam have unconditional admission. Applicants with other Bachelor degrees will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Examination Board. In those cases the Board will decide whether there are deficiencies that have to be compensated for before or during the programme.

Kickstart your professional career with the Master SBI

As an SBI graduate you are trained to integrate scientific aspects in a business and innovation context while taking organizational, social and cultural variables into account. Professionals who are able to bridge the gap between laboratory, work floor and boardroom are rare and highly sought after. Practice and theory go hand in hand in your Master SBI. The SBI courses feature real world business cases and the things you learn in the classroom are directly applicable in your future career.

SBI has an extensive network within the industry. The Master’s programme is concluded with a six month internship at a company or research institute. The internship constitutes an important part of the Master’s programme and is an excellent preparation for a career in either the energy & sustainability or life & health sciences sector. SBI Master students are currently doing their research internships at companies like Shell and Accenture in countries all over the globe, including the Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

Further information

The Master SBI is a two years programme (120 EC) and is taught in English. All SBI Master students will take general courses in the business aspects of and science behind scientific innovations. Alongside these mandatory courses, students will take specific courses depending on the specialization they choose.

Specializations from the SBI Master

The SBI Master programme offers two thematic specializations: Energy & Sustainability and Life & Health. The energy science specialization focuses on the development and implementation of sustainable solutions, the life science specialization emphasizes on drug development, molecular diagnostics and innovative medical instrumentation.

Course descriptions Science, Business & Innovation

In general, about the program: students in each specialization partially follow the same courses (Business & Innovation courses, 24EC), follow a specific program for all students in each specialization (specialization-related science courses 12EC, specialization-related integration course 6 EC), and follow a student-specific, specialization-based tailored program (Science project (alternative 1 or 2) 24 EC, Master project 36 EC, and Electives 18 EC).

Through this approach, students develop into business oriented and management driven innovation professionals in their specialization, with sufficient knowledge of and insight in the natural sciences as well as the business and social science of this specialization. During the two years of study the 24EC of joint business & innovation courses stimulate cohesion and cooperation between students of the same cohort. To further stimulate cohesion and cooperation between students of the two specializations, the master project (36EC) has several plenary sessions in which students exchange results, experience, insights and knowledge. Additionally, Master Group Meetings are organized to stimulate contact among students of  the cohorts.

Structure of the program

The curriculum comprises the following:

- Compulsory business and innovation courses (18 EC)
- Specialisation-related science elective courses (12 EC)
- One specialisation-related compulsory integration course (6 EC)
- One of the two variants of the science project (24 EC)
- Research project (36 EC) 
- Compulsory Research Methodology course (6 EC)
- Electives (18 EC)

The Master program SBI at VU Amsterdam is concluded with an internship and a Master’s Thesis. A four month science project, where you will perform your own natural science research is also part of the curriculum. The internship forms an important component of the Master’s phase and will prepare students for a career in either the energy & sustainability or life & health sector. Most students decide to do their internship at private companies. VU Amsterdam is located conveniently on the Zuidas, the financial and economic heart of the Netherlands and is well connected to the rest of the country. Students can also opt to do their internship abroad. SBI employs an internship coordinator who maintains close ties with various innovative companies and will actively support you in finding a suitable and exciting environment to do your internship.

Further information about all the courses of the programme Science, Business and Innovation, can be found in our study guide. For an overview of the programme, see the year schedule.

The Master programme Science, Business and Innovation at VU Amsterdam offers two different specializations: Energy & Sustainability and Life & Health. Students can choose one of these or decide to combine the two specializations.

Energy & Sustainability Specialization
The energy science specialization focuses on the development and implementation of sustainable solutions.

The energy problem is one of the biggest challenges the world has to face in the 21st century. Climate change, rapidly rising oil prices and political instability in oil rich regions means we have to switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy.  The Energy Science track focuses on innovations in the rapidly changing energy & sustainability sector and educates students in both the scientific aspects of renewable energy and the business side of implementing innovations in the energy & sustainability sector.

Life & Health Specialization
The life science specialization emphasizes on drug development, molecular diagnostics and innovative medical instrumentation.

Even though huge steps have been made in medicine in the last 100 years, over 60% of all diseases known to man still can’t be cured. Innovations in healthcare are thus highly necessary and the Master’s Track in Life & Health of SBI emphasizes on innovations in this highly innovative sector. Master alumni of the Life & Health track are trained to guide a medicine from the laboratory to the pharmacy or focus on the application of new medical technology in hospitals worldwide. 

Further information about all the courses of the programme Science, Business and Innovation can be found in the study guide. See our year schedule for an overview of the total programme. Furthermore, in the Teaching and Examination Regulations (page numbers 6 & 7), you will find a schedule of all the offered courses.

The Master programme SBI at VU Amsterdam is concluded with an internship and a Master’s Thesis. A four month science project, where you will perform your own natural science research is also part of the curriculum. The internship forms an important component of the Master’s phase and will prepare students for a career in either the energy & sustainability or life & health sector.

Widen your perspective with the SBI internship
Most students decide to do their internship at private companies. VU Amsterdam is located conveniently on the Zuidas, the financial and economic heart of the Netherlands and is well connected to the rest of the country. Students can also opt to do their internship abroad.

Finding an internship
SBI employs an internship coordinator who maintains close ties with various innovative companies and will actively support you in finding a suitable and exciting environment to do your internship.

What our internship supervisors have to say about SBI students
"Working with a student from the SBI programme was extremely enlightening, as these students are trained to have a good perception on the interplay between science and Business worlds for different sectors. I worked with Rens Spierings from the first batch of SBI students, on a difficult topic where the interplay is difficult, risky and not common, in Neglected Tropical diseases, and the analysis performed and conclusions drawn were accurate, concise and thoughtful for both me, Rens and the readers at the highest level of decision makers in this area. The SBI program, if it can foster such analytical thinking, will be a great asset to have in many fields in the Netherlands and beyond." – Jay Iyer, TI Pharma

"The SBI Student who did his internship with us at Wageningen UR Plant and Applied Plant Research, helped us a lot with our project in Energy Storage. The enery producing farmers, cooperating in the Energy Guild, grealy benefited from the Student's creative and thorough work and made important steps in improving energy storage techniques. We hope to cooperate with more SBI students in the future, for example in algae research or other sustainable energy sources." - Andrea Terbijhe, Wageningen UR

Kickstart your professional career with the Master SBI
As an SBI graduate you are trained to integrate scientific aspects in a business and innovation context while taking organizational, social and cultural variables into account. Professionals who are able to bridge the gap between laboratory, work floor and boardroom are rare and highly sought after. Practice and theory go hand in hand in your Master SBI. The SBI courses feature real world business cases and the things you learn in the classroom are directly applicable in your future career.

Working in the industry
SBI has an extensive network within the industry. The Master’s program is concluded with a six month internship at a company or research institute. The internship constitutes an important part of the Master’s program and is an excellent preparation for a career in either the energy & sustainability or life & health sciences sector. SBI Master students are currently doing their research internships at companies like Shell and Accenture in countries all over the globe, including the Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

Possible starting positions include assistant R&D project manager, assistant business analyst, high-tech marketing trainee, or strategy consultant in the public or private sector. Companies that are attractive for SBI graduates include venture capital companies investing in innovative new concepts, consultancy companies for both governments and businesses and the energy and pharmaceutical sector, where research and development are of crucial importance.

Starting your own company
The Master’s programme SBI is also an excellent starting point for starting your own business. The Bachelor’s programme has received a special distinction for Entrepreneurship from the Dutch accreditation authorities. Our innovation projects, which form a crucial part of the Bachelor’s programme, received a Best practice from the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs for Entrepreneurial Education. There are over 15 active entrepreneurs in the current student population SBI.

SBI Students are broad allrounders who can work in a lot of different environments. Because of their broad set of skills and knowledge SBI Students are of great benefit to innovative startup companies like The New Motion.” – Wouter de Ridder, The New Motion

Continuing your studies of Scientific Careers
You can also decide to continue expanding your knowledge and apply for a PhD position.

 

Practical applicability
The programme is characterized by a strong focus on the application of acquired scientific knowledge into practice through cases and research. Multiple courses feature case studies and scientific subjects are chosen such that the knowledge gained in business and innovation processes can be applied to real world situations.

International setting
The city of Amsterdam is a very welcoming environment for international students and staff. Our Science, Business & Innovation department is also very internationally–oriented. Our academic staff has extensive international experience and our students come from many different countries. 

Small scale programme
The Master SBI at VU Amsterdam has all the advantages of a small scale programme. Lectures and projects are carried out in small groups, in close cooperation with professors. Students and professors know each other personally, leading to a relaxed and productive atmosphere in which every student will feel at home quickly.

Broad focus
Because courses from the business and the sciences are combined, the SBI student is trained to become a broadly interested and trained professional who can build bridges between research and market. An SBI master alumnus has sufficient natural science knowledge to communicate with R&D departments and to operate on a managerial level thanks to a broad base in both natural and business sciences.

Cooperation with industry
The SBI staff has an extensive network within  academia and industry. VU Amsterdam is located conveniently on the Zuidas, the Central Business District of Amsterdam, the economic and financial heart of the Netherlands. The Amsterdam World Trade Center and several multinationals, such as ING, ABN AMRO, Akzo Nobel and Philips are headquartered within a few minutes of the VU campus. Amsterdam also hosts numerous smaller innovative companies and startups.

An excellent preparation for a career in business
The SBI Master programme is concluded with an internship with a company or institute. The internship forms a crucial part of your Master and is designed to kick start your professional career. The SBI Master's staff includes an internship coordinator who will actively support you in finding a suitable and stimulating internship.

Cooperation with the University of Amsterdam
The city of Amsterdam hosts two world class universities. VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam collaborate closely in natural sciences and both are ranked in the top 150 universities of the world, according to the 2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Students can enjoy the expertise of two universities and benefit from their existing networks and collaborative projects.

World Class Research Institutes
The city of Amsterdam hosts numerous world class research institutes such as the VU Laserlab and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter institute AMOLF. Amsterdam also hosts two university hospitals: the VUMC and AMC medical centers. In May 2013 VU Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter announced that a new world class Research Institute for Nanolithography will be established in Amsterdam, in close cooperation with ASML, the world’s largest producer of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry.

Study in the city of Innovation
Amsterdam is the bustling capital of the Netherlands, a country deeply rooted in entrepreneurship and innovation. The Netherlands consistently ranks amongst the top nations in the world for innovation, and was named the 6th most innovative country in the world by the 2012 Global Innovation Index.

Enjoy the Amsterdam student life
The city of Amsterdam is one of Europes most beautiful historic cities and its gorgeous 17th century canal ring is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amsterdam also boasts a cultural life unrivalled in Northern Europe, with world class museums and concert venues.

Overview Science, Business & Innovation

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

2 years

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 June for Dutch students. 1 April for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students. EU/EEA students with an international degree, who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam University Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

 

Admission Requirements

 

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law
Computer Science, Mathematics and Business
Natural Sciences

Some experiences of current Master’s students SBI can be found below. If you want more information about student experiences, please contact the Master’s coordinator. He will gladly introduce you to a current Master’s student who can answer all your questions about the Master and the bustling Amsterdam student life.

 

Rens

"As a student in the SBI master program I am encouraged to solve problems by tackling them by a multidisciplinary approach. The program's science courses enable me to specialize in my field of interest. This can be complemented by choosing optional courses and a science project at a research group within the same field, allowing for further specialization. The program's business and social science courses provide a thorough understanding of organizational structures and processes related to (scientific) innovation. In addition, several integrative SBI courses and monthly discussion sessions train me to use both disciplines in a co-operative manner.  I firmly believe the master in SBI provides me with all the skills and training I will need to achieve my long-term career goals." 

 

Marissa

"SBI students have the opportunity to specialize in one of the two different tracks, the energy and the chemistry track. You will have obligatory Science, Business and Innovation courses, just like the Bachelor SBI, but you will also have a great amount of time for scientific research and your own optional subjects. This will enable you to specialize further in your own field of interest among your track. For example, I have chosen to follow my optional subjects on the faculty of architecture in Delft, since I am very interested in sustainable buildings and urbanism. For my master thesis I am an intern at a sustainable oriented architectural firm to investigate the possibility to create opportunities in times of the recent crisis. Consequently, I have created my own specialization path within the energy track."

"My bachelor Medical Natural Sciences was a research bachelor which mainly focused on activities in the laboratory. Although I am very interested in the results from laboratory research, I did not have the passion to perform laboratory research myself. Science, Business & Innovation gives me the opportunity to combine the lab research field with a more social environment. You can make sure that interesting laboratory discoveries do not stop with a publication in a journal, but are used to create an innovative product from which society can profit. The merger of knowledge from the business field together with the natural science research field makes you a widely employable professional in which many companies are interested. My career prospects are not entirely clear but my internship at Philips Lighting and my future internship at the Dutch consulate in San Francisco strengthens my feeling that SBI students are widely employable which is of great value for big companies."

Dutch students

Check all general information on admission and application to Master's programmes here.

Admission
Students who have completed the Bachelor program Science, Business & Innovation (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) or Natuurwetenschap en Innovatiemanagement (Universiteit Utrecht) are direct admissible to the Master's programme SBI. 

Students with Bachelor degrees from other Dutch University's, must apply via Studielink and contact the master coordinator. The master coordinator will decide if you fulfill the admission criteria. The requirements to be admissible for the SBI master programme are formulated in terms of knowledge, acquired skills and academic level. In general, the main criteria are: 

- Basic knowledge on bachelor level of mathematics (at least 9 EC)
- Statistics (at least 6 EC)
- Computer skills (at least 6 EC) and/or
- Business/innovation/social sciences of at least 24 EC.

In addition to these requirements, students entering the E&S variant need to have at least 45 EC obtained during their bachelor on chemistry and/or physics courses (including thermodynamics). Students entering the L&H variant need at least 45 EC obtained during their bachelor on chemistry and/or physics courses (including molecular and pharmaceutical sciences). 

If you wish to apply for the Master's programme SBI, please follow the application procedure for Dutch University Degree Holders. Please note that students with a HBO degree, must take an English Language Test.

Students from science-based university Bachelor programs can enroll for the master SBI, after completing a pre-master program (30 EC). A pre-master program is also conditional for students with a (professional) Bachelor’s degree in Physics or Chemistry. Students from these bachelor programs are advised to enroll for the Minor Science, Business & Innovation at VU Amsterdam (30 EC; Social dynamics of Technology 6EC; Technology and Innovation 6EC; Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Ondernemen en Duurzaamheid 6EC; Open Innovation in Science 6EC; Innovatieproject Diagnostiek en Gezondheid 6EC).
In case a tailor made program needs to be made, for example for Dutch science bachelors who have a deficiency that is less than 30EC, this is coordinated by the SBI programme coordinator, in close cooperation with the program director of SBI and specialists from the section SBI.

All Dutch students, who are interested in the pre-master programme, need to contact the master coordinator. Dutch students can directly contact the SBI master coordinator, when they want to start the admission procedure for the master program SBI.

Information about the programme

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the programme coordinator:

VU Amsterdam
Faculty of Sciences
Marije de Roos
De Boelelaan 1083a, room O-128
1081 HV Amsterdam 
T +31 (0)20 59 89242
E m.r.de.roos@vu.nl

General information about VU Amsterdam
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Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.

International students

Check all general information on admission and application to Master's programmes here.

Admission
The requirements to enter the SBI master programme are formulated in terms of knowledge, acquired skills and academic level. The main criteria are: basic knowledge on bachelor level of mathematics (at least 9 EC), statistics (at least 6 EC), computer skills (at least 6 EC) and of business/innovation/social sciences of at least 24 EC.
In addition to these requirements, students entering the E&S variant need to have at least 45 EC obtained during their bachelor on chemistry and/or physics courses (including thermodynamics). Students entering the L&H variant need at least 45 EC obtained during their bachelor on chemistry and/or physics courses (including molecular and pharmaceutical sciences).

International students have to register at the Internationalization Office (IO) of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The International Office coordinates the admissions of international students, in close cooperation with the SBI program coordinator, SBI program director, and the specialists in the section SBI. Further information about the application procedure can be found here, under the header 'International Degree Holders.'

General language proficiency requirements
VU Amsterdam requires international applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.

Students from science-based university bachelor programs can enroll for the master SBI, after completing a pre-master program (30 EC). A pre-master program is also conditional for students with a (professional) bachelor’s degree in Physics or Chemistry. Students from these bachelor programs are advised to enroll for the Minor Science, Business & Innovation at VU Amsterdam (30 EC; Social dynamics of Technology 6EC; Technology and Innovation 6EC; Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Ondernemen en Duurzaamheid 6EC; Open Innovation in Science 6EC; Innovatieproject Diagnostiek en Gezondheid 6EC).

In case a tailor made program needs to be made, for example for international students who have a deficiency that is less than 30EC, this is coordinated by the SBI programme coordinator, in close cooperation with the program director of SBI and specialists from the section SBI. 

The International Office coordinates the admissions of international students in close cooperation with the SBI program coordinator, SBI program director, and the specialists in the section SBI. If you are interested in the pre-master programme, please follow the application procedure for International Degree holders. 

There are several possibilities for obtaining funding. Among them are:

  • VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP)
  • Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP)
  • Orange Tulip Scholarship (OTS)
  • Fulbright scholarship
  • STUNED Scholarship Programme
  • Indonesia Endowment Fund of Education (LPDP)
  • Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP)
  • Direct Loan Programme 

Information about scholarships, fellowships and grants

Practical information for international students

Would you like to know more about our courses, scholarships and application & registration procedure? Please contact our International Office:

Email: admissionsfs@vu.nl

General information about VU Amsterdam
empty

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at study@vu.nl.

Would you like to read the key points of the Master's programme? Order the brochure. Or find out more about the Master's programmes and visit our information days.

Contact our student ambassadors

If you are wondering what it is like to live and study in Amsterdam from a current student perspective, do not hesitate to contact our student ambassadors; they would love to share their experiences with you!


Information about the programme

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the programme coordinator: m.r.de.roos@vu.nl

Master’s day: 4th of November 2017 and 10th of March 2018