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Research Group for Industrial Ecology & Systems Sustainability

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About Us!

 
The rate of Climate Change ,which has repercussions for human and natural system well-being , is one of our major global challenges. The increasing trend of global temperature over the centuries, as reported in various research studies, show that human activities (i.e. industries, land use changes) absolutely affect the ecosystem equilibrium. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly carbon dioxide and methane, which are emitted directly and indirectly from human activities are contributing to global climate change. Thus, it is important to understand the coupling of human and natural systems to mitigate the effects of climate change, which is a complex system.
 
According to various climate change studies, the sinks of GHGs are atmospheric, terrestrial and water systems while the sources of GHGs are human-engineered systems and activities (i.e. industrial production, land use changes). To really address our global environmental problems, we have to implement environmental improvements in all anthropogenic activities. One approach to assess the status of our environmental sustainability is by conducting a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which accounts the emissions from cradle to the grave or cradle. This covers critically inventorying and analyzing the emissions from extraction of primary resources (cradle) to disposal of wastes and residuals (grave) and even back to cradle. If we know which stage of the supply chain or which materials or substances contribute to major environmental emissions, we can improve our products or processes or replace toxic raw materials to  promote sustainable production and consumption.
 
Though we are now exploring the use of biofuels, wind, solar & geothermal energy, and other renewable sources for our human consumption, these technological policies are just ways to adapt to global climate change, which is in fact  "business-as-usual" strategies. These do not in a way address the main source of our environmental problem, which in fact, we, humans. Unless we change our thinking and consumption patterns, human-environmental problems will continue to persist. We need to build human-engineered complex systems that are aligned with the natural ecological carrying capacity (which is the main argument of Industrial Ecology discipline) such as the pursuit of low carbon, resilient systems and economies.
 
The Research Group for Industrial Ecology and Systems Sustainability (IESS) at the University of Queensland undertakes transdisciplinary, integrative, innovative research to develop practical tools for measuring and improving the sustainability and resilience of products and processess which maximize resource and energy efficiency and minimize ecological life cycle impacts. We focus on understanding the dynamic interactions fundamentally and holistically, drawing on elements of systems analysis & engineering, industrial ecology, ecological engineering, process simulation and optimization, network and complexity science and methods.

Please refer to our research pages for more information. We are interested to work with industries too.

Our Partners

We are working with various partners nationally and internationally. Here is a selection of our research partners.

Working Group for Cleaner Production, University of Queensland, Australia

Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative (FBRI), University of Maine, USA

Environmental Sustainability Analysis Group, National Research Council, Canada

Research Network for Business Sustainability, Canada

Institute for Industrial Production, University of Karlsruhe, Germany

FONA (Research for Sustainability), Germany

Research Center for Life Cycle Assessment, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan

Environment and Sustainable Development Program, United Nations University, Japan