SUSTAIN: Strengthening higher education in Urban Sustainability and Transitions

About two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities in the next 50 years. This rapid urbanization creates many challenges for the future generations to come. Higher education has a significant role to play by educating and training the future urban managers and planners. With this in mind, the SUSTAIN project was established. 


Education needs to cope with the current and foreseen pace of change and to provide knowledge and skills to young professionals, to deal with challenges that lie ahead. The SUSTAIN (Strengthening higher education in Urban Sustainability and Transitions towards internationalization of Academic Institutions and Networks) project aspires to strengthen urban sustainability and transition management programs in higher education. European and Asian students benefit from high quality international and multidisciplinary educational programs with practical orientation that showcases how theory can be applied in practice.

The aim of the project includes improving the quality of Tertiary Education in Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) in Europe and partner Universities in Asia, developing standardized educational modules related to SUD, and enriching these modules with international perspectives, academic and vocational skills and competencies. As such, the project it bridges higher education and the practice of SUD.

The project is also geared at promoting international collaboration between European and Asian Higher Education Institutions in SUD, as well as collaboration and sharing between Erasmus Mundus programs. Local city associations will be involved in the project in order to bring best practises and integrate labour market perspectives. SUSTAIN contributes to the visibility of and access to European Higher Education (EHE) in Asia in the field of SUD in order to attract prospective Asian and international students.

Role of DRIFT

The main goal of DRIFT is to integrate scientific expertise on Urban Transition Management in the different elements of the project. This includes undertaking knowledge (Curriculum development, e-course), information (Development of an e-platform) and communication related activities (Organization of promotion events and workshops, e-platform). DRIFT develops a module of Urban Transition management and course material which integrates policy tools and participatory methods. DRIFT also organizes an interactive e-learning course around Urban Transitions and Transition Management for both practitioners and students across the globe.
Erasmus Mundus Action 3 project 

The SUSTAIN Project has been included in a selection of recent Erasmus Mundus Action 3 projects with a good level of sustainability and high importance to activities under Erasmus+. Erasmus+ is the European Union programme which supports projects, partnerships, events and mobility in the areas of education, training, youth and sport. Read the report with testimonials of Erasmus Mundus Promotion Projects here.

Duration of the project

The SUSTAIN project ran from 2014 to 2016.


The SUSTAIN project is funded by the European Commission and co-financed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).


Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Netherlands (coordinator); The Dutch Research Institute For Transitions, Netherlands; Rotterdam School of Management, Netherlands; Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany; National Technical University of Athens, Greece; European Academy of Bolzano, Italy; Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy; Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia; Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, India; Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, China; International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, Germany.

Read more
Read more about the project, activities and results on the SUSTAIN website.