Amsterdam, Netherlands

Software and Sustainability: Towards an Ethical Digital Society

online course
when 10 January 2022 - 14 January 2022
language English
duration 1 week
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 800

This course views sustainability as an integral part of software and aims to define a method that helps inform sustainability-driven design decisions.

The future is digital, and this is reflected in society as a whole. At the same time, the future appears to be inclusive and should bring about a greater quality of life as we adapt to different contexts. As a civilization, we are also trying to decrease our overall environmental footprint as we learn how to best integrate, apply, and prioritize sustainability.
Despite the growing concern with sustainability around the world, we currently lack the instruments to design digital solutions, particularly sustainable software solutions.

The method relies on ‘decision maps,’ which can frame the architectural design concerns surrounding four types of sustainability - technical, economic, social, and environmental.

The course will teach students how to identify sustainability-related concerns in interdisciplinary projects, model them in ‘decision maps’ and reflect on the sustainability impact of decisions made during such projects concerning the various types of sustainability.

Students will get the most out of this course if they can bring their own project. If this isn’t possible, we will provide a project to allow students to explore and develop their own personal sustainability framework.

Course leader

Prof. Dr. Patricia Lago

Target group

Open to Master’s students, PhD candidates, and professionals from all disciplines.
This course will benefit Master’s and PhD students in Computer Science and related disciplines or in fields where digitalization plays a significant role.

Students who are interested in how software and digitalisation impact sustainability and energy transition will excel in this course. If you have any doubts about your eligibility for the course, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at:

If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please contact us:

Course aim

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• Understand the notion of sustainability and its impact over time
• Apply sustainability analysis to a concrete project and develop critical thinking skills
• Quantify and qualify sustainability impacts and the role of design decisions in an interdisciplinary context

Credits info

3 EC
Contact hours: 30

Fee info

EUR 800: Fees:
- Students and PhD Students: €600
- Professionals: €800
- Students, PhD students and employees at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC: €500
Applications received before the 1st of October (Early Bird Discount) receive €50 discount!

The tuition fee includes:
- Application and registration
- Exclusive course content for a limited number of students
- Individual/group guidance from course organiser
- Access to all online VU facilities such as the library and online learning environments
- A certificate of attendance after completing the course
- A transcript of records mentioning the grade and the obtained ECTS
- Full support of the winter school team
- Optional online social activity


VU Graduate Winter School offers several scholarships. More information can be found on the website.