Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Professional Certificate

What is the SDG Professional Certificate?

The Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) is proud to organise the SDG Professional Certificate, a unique 6-months programme providing innovative training and international collaboration on how to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For the third iteration of this programme, five GPPN member schools (Columbia SIPA*, Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, Hertie School, Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo and LKY School of Public Policy National University of Singapore) will be sending a selected group of students.

As part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, having specialised knowledge and hands-on experience on how to meet the SDGs is in high demand from government agencies, international organisations and private companies. The UN 2030 Agenda and SDG partnerships truly represent a global effort from the public and private sectors, at the international and local level, to respond to the most challenging questions of our time.

The SDG Professional Certificate will allow you to develop entrepreneurial skills, work with public policy students from our GPPN partner universities, and showcase your projects to an international audience of academics, practitioners and policymakers.

*Columbia SIPA participates as the GPPN SDG Fellows programme

What does participation in the SDG Professional Certificate programme include?

As a global joint programme, the SDG Certificate includes (i) SDG-focused elective course at home institutions, (ii) an opening seminar hosted by the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, (iii) a monthly joint seminar with all participating GPPN schools and students and (iv) final online presentation.

Application deadline: 23 November 2020

More detailed information can be found in the call for applications


What is the GPPN?

More information about the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) can be found here.


Who can apply?

All 1st year MPP students, and all 2nd year MPP and MIA students with full-time student status in the academic year 2020/2021 can apply. Students may apply in teams of 4-5 students. 


How to apply?

This year’s theme for the SDG Certificate will focus on projects that address the issues arising from the global COVID-19 pandemic. Successful applications will tie in the role of the SDGs in developing a project that responds to one of the diverse challenges brought to light by this international crisis. As we have witnessed, the pandemic has not only revealed the difficulties facing our health and political systems, but it has also accentuated the many existing inequalities in our societies. These inequalities can be seen across a range of fields, including access to resources, basic rights, food security, housing, healthcare, technology, education and personal safety, among others.

In this context, the GPPN invites students to identify an important policy challenge in a field related to the SDGs and the global health crisis caused by COVID-19. Proposals can incorporate public, private or hybrid approaches as appropriate. For example, student may analyse the public and private sector preparedness for a COVID-19 type pandemic before its inception, and how to prepare better for similar low probability-high impact risks in the future.

Your applications should include the following elements:

  • 3-4 page proposal identifying the topic that your team would like to focus on; it should include a brief background section on the subject, an initial understanding of the problem you have selected, a short assessment of similar projects that have been tried in the past, and initial ideas for your proposed solution.

  • A CV from each team member

Applications must include teams of 4-5 members. Teams must be committed to continue working together to develop their projects throughout the spring semester and are required to attend all elements of the SDG Certificate (Paris online seminar, SDG spring elective course, online joint sessions, final presentation and Q&A). 

Please collect all documents and send them in one application email by team to Juliane McCarty ( by Monday, 23 November 2020, 23:59 CEST.

Pre-selected teams will be invited for an interview with Prof. Dr. Christian Flachsland and Juliane McCarty. Interviews will take place 2 December 2020. We will notify pre-selected teams by Monday, 30 November 2020.

The Hertie School will select up to 10 students in two teams.


What does it cost?

There is no fee for participating in the SDG Professional Certificate Programme. 



Don’t hesitate to contact Juliane McCarty if you have any questions about the SDG Professional Certificate, the GPPN or how to apply!

More information about the SDG Professional Certificate can also be found on the GPPN website.



This project is supported by Stiftung Mercator, GPPN and the Hertie School.