The world economy is still hampered by the legacy of the financial crisis and the ensuing slow growth of developed economies. Notwithstanding some recent improvements among many advanced capitalist economies, persistent financial fragilities combine with growing income and wealth inequalities put Western societies under heavy political pressure. In the meantime, the catching-up processes initiated by a number of major southern countries have been hampered while the attractiveness of the Chinese model of state-directed capitalism is gaining traction among southern elites. Not incidentally, it is this post-crisis context of uneven recovery which has slowed down trade and international investment, suggesting that the spectacular internationalization of the last decades has possibly peaked.
These challenges were the core issues that the EPOG Erasmus Mundus joint master degree (2012-17) aimed to address while providing competencies in macroeconomics, innovation and economic development. These priorities of EPOG 1.0 are still relevant in the new version of the program, the EPOG 2.0 revision. However, our objective with EPOG 2.0 is to rethink targeted competencies in macroeconomics, innovation and economic development through the lens of the imperative ecological transition to a low-carbon economy. Ecological degradations, resource depletion and climatic disorders represent already an immediate threat for a huge part of the world population, with more trouble ahead if our generation is not able to engage to limit and reverse these entropic processes. In order to move in this direction as quickly as possible and to favour the emergence of adequate policies, we need a new sort of intellectual engagement which consistently integrates ecological considerations and hence sustainability with economic expertise. This is the purpose of EPOG 2.0, an innovative master program that articulates systematically how sustainability issues penetrate macroeconomic policy-making, innovation trends, corporate responsibility and development activity.
The core design of the EPOG 2.0 Master’s relies on the development of an expertise in a specific field and a general understanding of interdependencies among economic policies with a precise, consistent and continuous course progression: semester 1 and 2 for the basics of the specialization, semester 3 for advanced courses and for providing a common culture to all the students, semester 4 for enhancing and applying learning outcomes in the context of a research lab or of a “professional environment”. In order to provide students with knowledge and skills in specific fields of expertise, students will have to choose one of two options and then opt for a major within either. Mobility derives from this dual choice.