International University of Monaco leads the way in sustainability studies with innovative Master of Science programme

With the recent introduction of a Master of Science in Sustainability and Innovation Management, the International University of Monaco has positioned itself at the forefront of sustainability education. The cutting-edge programme, led by Dr. Elena Tavella, is now shaping future leaders equipped to tackle the world’s pressing sustainability challenges.

The International University of Monaco (IUM) launched its Master of Science (MSc) in Sustainability and Innovation Management in September 2023, and the course aims to develop future leaders capable of addressing sustainability challenges.

Through a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experiences, students not only grasp the complexities of sustainability but also contribute directly to real-world solutions.

See more: From classroom to boardroom: the impact of Monaco’s MBA programme

Sustainability is vital in addressing the environmental cost of economic growth and the need to support a growing global population, which is projected to surpass 10 billion by 2060. Recognising the increasing focus on environmental preservation and upcoming climate disclosure standards, the programme underscores the role of innovation, impactful actions and accountability in adapting economies sustainably.

“Drive transformation”

Eight students are currently enrolled on the course, which is being spearheaded by Dr. Elena Tavella, who has an extensive academic background in agricultural and management sciences.

“My vision is for our graduates to introduce fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to sustainability management within companies,” Dr. Tavella tells Monaco Life. “I aspire for them to drive transformation, whether by leading established firms toward sustainability or by founding their own sustainable startups.”

It is a sentiment that is backed-up by her students, like Alain de Ruiter, who says, “Sustainability is an inevitable part of today’s world. Pursuing this Master of Science enables us to acquire new skills and knowledge to tackle tomorrow’s challenges today.”

A hands-on approach

While the curriculum is designed to cover key aspects of sustainability and innovation, including environmental, social and economic sectors, it also focuses on practical learning experiences. Experiential learning is integrated into the programme through various initiatives such as guest speaker sessions, industry partnerships and hands-on projects.

“We won a hackathon at MonacoTech, addressing real-world sustainability challenges, where we devised sustainable solutions for a luxury cruise company,” explains de Ruiter.

Adding to the programme’s experiential learning opportunities, Dr. Tavella has introduced the Applied Business Project, where students, guided by sustainability professionals, tackle case studies or company-specific challenges and devise action plans that will efficiently address sustainability issues. Additionally, the programme includes a Business Simulation Week, where students collaborate with MBA peers to simulate business operations, applying their knowledge in a dynamic environment.

Dr. Elena Tavella, the head of the Sustainability and Innovation Management MSc at the International University of Monaco. Photo credit: Olivier Remualdo

Monaco’s unique setting

What sets the IUM programme apart from other sustainability courses is not just its emphasis on practical learning, but also its location in Monaco. Known for its dedication to sustainability, a cause particularly close to the heart of Head of State and Sovereign Prince Albert II, as well as the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (FPA2) that he founded in 2006, Monaco hosts numerous significant sustainability and conservation events throughout the year, such as Monaco Ocean Week and Ever Monaco, allowing students to gain experience and benefit from exposure to discussions and strategies at the highest level.

Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge: fostering innovation for ocean preservation

The Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge, created by the IUM along with the FPA2, the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco and Monaco Impact, demonstrates a commitment to raising awareness and creating practical solutions for ocean conservation. This challenge is a key part of the experiential learning component of the sustainability programme, and the IUM experience, with many students from different programmes participating to apply their knowledge in real-world contexts.

Held annually since its inception in 2018, the challenge began as an internal competition at the IUM. Over the years, it significantly broadened its horizons to become an international event by 2020, inviting participation from a diverse range of schools. In this year’s challenge, the commitment from the IUM remains strong, with five groups from the university set to participate, showcasing the institution’s ongoing dedication to fostering innovative solutions for ocean preservation.

According to Sophie de Lorenzo, the IUM’s Director of Corporate Relations, “The aim is to see an increasing number of schools join the challenge annually, presenting fresh ideas.”

Participants at the 2023 Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge. Photo credit:

Shaping a sustainable future

As the programme progresses, the IUM aims to stay ahead of the curve by continuously updating its curriculum and teaching methods to reflect the latest developments in sustainability and innovation.

“In collaboration with our students, we’re actively gathering insights on how to evolve our programme for future advancements,” says Dr. Tavella. “We frequently host guest speakers who provide updates on the latest developments in their respective fields, enriching our curriculum with the newest information.”

According to Dr. Tavella, sustainability encompasses not only environmental concerns but also social and economic aspects.

“A significant challenge lies in the social aspects of sustainability due to the immense pressures, fears, anxieties and stresses we face today,” she says. “While environmental issues are critical, we cannot overlook social issues, which delve deep into the psychology of the human mind.”

In a country as environmentally focused as Monaco, the Master of Science in Sustainability and Innovation Management being offered at the IUM is a natural addition. The aim, says Dr. Tavella, is for the IUM to play a crucial role in shaping the eco-conscious leaders of tomorrow.

“My ambition with this programme is to create the best possible conditions to ensure students’ learning and career development. If they leave here feeling that they’ve gained knowledge and a network, I’m satisfied,” says Dr. Tavella.

For further information on the course, contact the IUM at:


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Main photo by Monaco Life