SDS The Sustainable Design School

mission statement

The mission of the Sustainable Design School is to allow the encounter of a new generation of creative, curious students who are concerned about our planet, with enterprises and industries that are looking for new talents in design and sustainable innovation.                

A strong and common conviction has guided our work in founding the Sustainable Design School: the profound changes occurring on the world today require us to approach innovation in an entirely different, radical way. By sharing our reciprocal pedagogic and professional experiences, we are convicted that: design, as a means of thinking, plays an essential role in new, sustainable innovation for all. This way of “design thinking” puts the person at the centre of the design, with a global and creative approach dedicated to design scenarios. They allow us to rethink and discover new uses, to imagine original services, to create products and relevant business models in the current context of green growth. This methodology is broadened and enriched by overlapping with other fields of innovation: social sciences, engineering, architecture, marketing, management…and on an international level, due to human and cultural diversity worldwide.

international role

The Sustainable Design School is an international school with the idea of a broader design approach thanks to the fertility of a diversified ground of growth. In order to bring this idea out of the status of a concept, The SDS is applied to give proper and concrete means to the implementation of being an international school. Beyond the practical organisation of being international, The SDS by its firm involvement in Sustainable Development states to be focused on issues which concern all nations.

By the following means the international vision is implemented at The SDS:

-          Progressively we are developing a network of academic partner institutions. The SDS has signed so far MOU’s and Simple Exchange agreements with four partner Universities: Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology (India), Ringling College of Art and Design (USA), Özyegin University Faculty of Architecture and Design (Turkey), and Jiangnan University School of Design (China).

-          There is on-going student and faculty exchange.

-          The teaching staff, coming from different and complementary fields, is international.

-          The teaching is partly in English and will be 100% in English starting in September 2016. Our goal is to be flexible in terms of languages, in order to attract students from a large variety of nations. Project work, theses and deliverables are in English or English and French. We invest a lot of common sense and energy into making not-French speakers feel comfortable and to stimulate our French students and faculty to speak English or other foreign languages. Faculty of French origin is trained to become proficient in English.

-          The SDS is in process of developing other partner Universities, with the intention of finding partners in mind who share the same values. Sustainability is taught throughout the world with different methods and in various fields. The SDS wishes to contribute with its vision and expertise but also to get constantly inspired by the visions of its partners.

-          Many of our corporate partners are international companies, such as Hermès, BMW, Toyota, Renault and Amadeus.

-          Therefore, the project work of our students is often oriented towards areas out of France. Example: Bangladesh, Germany, India, Japan.

-          The economic environment at Nice is very attractive for international academic partners. The nearby Technology park of Sophia Antipolis is a worldwide landmark of science, invention, innovation and research with focus on the human being. It’s a meeting point of people from all kinds of horizon, who will generate innovation thanks to a highly diversified environment. The SDS is working with companies placed at Sophia Antipolis, such as Amadeus, Toyota, Schneider Electric or Visteon.

-          The SDS is partner with the European Innovation Academy held at Nice every year. During the event groups of students from international universities and with different study backgrounds (such as engineering, management, design) gather and work on innovative projects. .

Our challenge is to be international and to confirm at the same time our French origin. We recognize that any nationality has its specific interpretations and point of views and “touch”, which are anchored in culture and education. Introducing English language into our daily school life doesn’t mean to wave our French heritage. The teaching at The SDS is nourished by both aspects.

national role

The SDS is a founder member of the UCA (University of Côte d’Azur). The UCA is a community of 13 Universities and Institutions which have either scientific, cultural and/or artistic character.

For three years in a row The SDS is an organising member of the TEDxCannes event, which takes usually place in spring. Beyond the fact that The SDS is having an active role in choosing and proposing speakers, our students are in charge of welcoming the audience (650 people, expecting 800 to the next event). Other contributions: the students design the stage, UCA is a sponsor of this event. All our students participate and assist at the event.

Other institutional partners:

Metropole Nice Côte d’Azur

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Nice

APCI – Agency for the Promotion of Industrial Creation

Eco-Design Observatory

AFD – French Association of Designers

IDDRI – Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations

National academic partners:

EDHEC Business School

SKEMA Business School

FDE – France Design Education (ex Cumulus France)

Ecolab Côte d’Azur, Openlab

Cumulus Association – associate member

Industrial partners:

Renault, Toyota, Visteon, Suez Environnement, Ernest Turc, Schneider Electric, Hermès, Air Liquide, BMW, Amadeus, Kairos, Nicolas Laisné & Associés, GrDF, Crédit Agricole-Santé….


main focus

Design Innovation for Human Solutions applied to products, services, systems, business models and any other process.

faculties and departments

The Sustainable Design School

bachelor level programs

No diploma on Bachelor level. Students are awarded 180 ECTS after successfull completion of the first study cycle of three years.

master level programs

Master diploma: “Designer in Sustainable Innovation”, 5 years.

research activity and main areas

Research subject examples: From the design of “having” to the design of “being”: In our current world we’re witnessing the transformations from a life centred on possessions to a life oriented on services with the focus on the human being.

We also develop research on new methodologies, as “Design des Connaissances” (Knowledge Design): How to co-design complexity.


doctorate level programs

PhD in Design, 3 years.

subject areas for exchange students

Incoming exchange students are welcome to enrol for one or two consecutive semesters. Beyond courses in History and Design Culture, Communication, Materials and Implementation, Sketch and Rough, 3D modelling, Anatomy and living model, 3D Rhino, Script and story board, Suite Adobe, etc., each exchange student will be part of a group of students working on a corporate project lasting one semester. Every corporate project is centred on Sustainable innovation.

In order to receive incoming students we have a buddy system at The SDS under the umbrella of a student association called “welc’home”. International students with the project of coming to Nice are in contact with our students far ahead of their study period, with the objective to give most relevant and practical information. We also publish a study guide for incoming students, available online:

application deadlines

May 30th for the following fall semester and November 30th for the following spring semester

teaching languages

French and English

semester dates

Fall semester: End of September to mid-February

Spring semester: mid-February to mid-June

cost of living per month (studying and living)

Living cost per month approximately 700 €, depending on accommodation which is the biggest part of the budget. Incoming students have access to governmental student housing. First prices are 240€ per month for a room with private bathroom.

Studying at The SDS: no tuition fee for exchange students.

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