Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab: Sustainable Hospitals by Medical Delta

Are you a master student looking for a thesis topic? Join LDE Centre for Sustainability and Medical Delta in their mission to make healthcare more sustainable. From February - July 2022, we will run the first Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab on Sustainable Hospitals. The findings will be made available in practical solutions for healthcare providers, scientists, doctors, patients, governments, companies, and citizens.

We are looking for 6-9 enthusiastic LDE master students with a background in Technical Medicine, Industrial Design Engineering, BioMedical Engineering, Industrial Ecology, Governance of Sustainability, Supply Chain Management, Law, Health Sciences, Global Business & Sustainability and/or Innovation Management. Students with other academic backgrounds are also welcome to apply. 

What we offer 

The lab consists of 12 two-weekly meetings between February and July 2022 during which we will discuss and help the progress of each student’s master thesis process. The meetings will be organized altering in Rotterdam, Delft and Leiden. We organize lectures and meetings with relevant stakeholders, excursions, and a pressure cooker. Check out the lab program and application procedure here.

Challenge: Towards an environmentally sustainable hospital  

The effects of climate change will have a negative impact on the future of health. Healthcare carries an important responsibility in maintaining the health of people as well as the environment. Seven percent of the total carbon footprint of the Netherlands is related to the healthcare sector. The operating room alone is responsible for approximately 20-30% of the hospital waste and pollution is increasing with the development of new technologies and materials.

How can we move towards an environmentally sustainable hospital? This requires a complex transition. Within a hospital there are multiple departments, with different tasks, visions and needs. Furthermore, patient safety is key. Stakeholders outside the hospital, such as the manufacturing industry, are responsible for equipment, medicines and devices that are then used within the hospital: such as in the surgery room, the pharmacy and the nursing departments. The priority is to provide a high quality of healthcare, and choices cannot be made that subtract from the well-being of patients and staff.

We collected challenges that departments from the hospital and the medical technology industry are facing when it comes to improvement regarding environmental sustainability. This lab gives you the opportunity to explore these challenges with the guidance of experts in the field. The aim is to recommend solutions for these stakeholders, contributing directly to a more sustainable hospital.

Subtopics for master theses 

The lab is structured around a main question: How can we move towards an environmentally sustainable hospital? The following sub questions form the basis for individual thesis research projects. Each assignment has its own case holder, one of the hospital departments, such as: Pharmacy Department, Medical Microbiology, Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, Gyneacology Department, Central Sterile Services Department. 

  1. Single-use versus multi-use surgical instruments: what is the environmental impact? 
  2. This assignment is not available anymore.
  3. Transforming hospital waste to new medical equipment: how can injection moulding be safely utilised?
  4. The environmental footprint of Interventional Radiology: Towards a sustainable Interventional Radiology department.
  5. In-house developed tests versus commercial tests: what are the implications of medical device regulation (MDR) for sustainability?
  6. The environmental, social and economic implications of blood-sampling at home.
  7. Towards sustainability in the clinical microbiology laboratory.
  8. Centralization of hospital data: what are the opportunities for sustainable patient care?
  9. Future perspectives for sustainability in the Central Sterile Services Department.
  10. Reusing components of disposable equipment: what are the design, regulatory and supply chain implications?
  11. The Green Baby Project: Development of a Sustainability Model to Assess the Environmental Footprint of Medical Care and Technology for Child Birth and Early Human Life

12. Open assignment: share your thesis idea with us 

NB: You can find a PDF with an elaborated description of each of the assignments at the bottom of this webpage.  


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About Medical Delta 

The average life expectancy in Europe continues to rise, and also faster. Due to aging and other factors, the demand for care will increase in the coming years, as will the care costs. At the same time, we want to live longer in good health. But there are fewer and fewer people who can provide care. All this requires a transition of healthcare. Technological innovation plays a crucial role in this, whereas it is of great importance that the technology fits in with healthcare practice. This is only possible if scientists from different disciplines work together - with each other and with end users.

Medical Delta brings together three renowned universities, two university medical centers, four universities of applied sciences, governments, companies, healthcare institutions and other parties in the province of Zuid-Holland. Together they work on 15 research programs and 10 Living Labs.

To create a more sustainable healthcare without having to compromise on patient safety and quality of care, it is important that different disciplines work closely together. It is therefore that Medical Delta wants to take a leading part in the development of greener care.


It not only takes an enormous amount of energy to keep an operating room running - let alone an entire hospital - a single operation also creates a lot of waste. Want to get an idea of the current waste of one surgery? Check out this video (in Dutch):