737014 Research seminar: Sustainable use of natural resources – materials, energy and land (in Eng.)

Vortragende/r (Mitwirkende/r)
Haberl, Helmut
Angeboten im Semester
Sommersemester 2020
Unterrichts-/ Lehrsprachen


Societies’ use of natural resources such as materials, energy and land is a key determinant of (un)sustainability. Reducing resource use is a key component of policies aiming at a transition towards a low-carbon society in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement or at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Whether such reductions are compatible with a continuation of GDP growth (“absolute decoupling”, “green growth”) or not (“degrowth” or “a-growth”) is a question gaining prominence in current scientific and policy debates.

Whatever position one adopts in this debate, a fundamental restructuring of the “stock-flow-service” nexus, i.e. the relations between society’s material stocks (buildings, infrastructure, machinery, etc.), the material and energy flows associated with the use of these stocks during production and consumption, and the services delivered from material stocks and flows will play a key role. These issues are researched in a broad range of interdisciplinary fields such as Social Ecology, Industrial Ecology, Ecological Economics, Political Ecology or Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER).

This research seminar is targeted at reading, analyzing, and discussing current cutting-edge research papers from these fields. The goal is to allow advanced students (ideally students currently working on their Masters or Doctoral theses) to identify research papers they want to discuss, e.g. because they need them to forge their methods, or because their emerging results relate to these papers, or because they need to understand them at great depth to be able to write their theses.

Inhaltliche Voraussetzungen (erwartete Kenntnisse)

Experienced Masters students and doctoral students may participate. A Bachelor's degree is required for admission.


Students have critically read and analyzed scientific literature and thereby improved their ability to identify critical steps in arguments and methods as well as key data uncertainties that may affect results and their interpretation. They have presented current research articles and thereby improved their presentation skills as well as their ability to articulate themselves in an academic discussion. Moreover, they have analyzed and discussed current cutting-edge research articles related to the sustainable use of biophysical resources and have hence acquired key knowledge and understanding of this research area.
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